Scratching your head wondering why your Pinterest impressions are going down?
Pinterest is a strange beast in my experience.
I was seduced a long time ago by all those bloggers claiming to drive massive traffic from Pinterest. They made it sound easy and suggested that the same magic that happened for them could happen to everyone else too.
I bought some eBooks, hooked into their strategies and jumped right in!
The basic formula seemed to be…
- Create a personal Pinterest account
- Convert it to a business account
- Enable Rich Pins
- Add the Pin It button to your blog
- Start scheduling Pins to a certain frequency and maintain it in perpetuity.
Once you’d put this all in place, with consistent high-quality pinning over many months, you ought to see your Pinterest traffic grow.
This has not been my experience at all… and I’m someone who has devoted a huge amount of time to growing my account.
I’ve had a lot of issues with Pinterest, as I’ll touch upon below. But this post is primarily for anyone asking themselves… why are my Pinterest impressions going down?
There is a particular issue I’m trying to deal with presently and I know I’m not alone. It relates to a new type of penalty that Pinterest seems to have rolled out… which I’ll come onto.
My Pinterest Challenges To Date
If you’ve visited SideGains before, you might be aware that my Pinterest account was suspended for spam in January 2020. Apparently this happens to a lot of people who fall foul of an overzealous spam filter… and it commonly suspends legitimate accounts with vigor!
You can read about my experience of Pinterest suspension and what to do about it here.
I got over my account suspension and had my account reinstated very quickly by raising a support ticket with Pinterest’s Business Account Support team.
So that was that… I thought.
In June 2020, I noticed my Pinterest impressions gradually decreasing at a concerning rate over the course of a few days. Once again I managed to resolve this quickly by raising a support ticket.
This time my failing impressions were apparently caused by a “bug”, the details of which never got… even though I asked really, really nicely for them.
Problems like this are not the only things that have floored me. I’ve generally struggled to understand the apparent performance differences between Pinterest accounts in my niche that seem to grow quickly and my own account.
Then again… we all struggle with that!
I’ve seen accounts running the same Pinning frequency as mine (or lower), with fewer followers than me that all claim to be driving massive traffic.
It has seemed to me at points that they’re either being economical with the truth, have a secret they’re not sharing or are just simply lucky!
So Why Are My Pinterest Impressions Going Down Now?
My latest irritation is seeing a more sudden drop in impressions than I had experienced in June 2020… almost down to nothing, but not quite. At this point, it’s still not resolved after nearly two weeks.
So in this post I’m going to document this particular instance of decreasing Pinterest impressions, explain the symptoms and let you know what I’ve done to date to try to understand and resolve it.
I also want to share my experience since I know I am not alone… and not just in terms of this particular problem I’m facing.
Pinterest often seems like it’s working for everyone else apart from you. As is typical for many online platforms, everyone else seems to be:
- Growing faster
- Making more money
- More popular
- Generally having a better life…
… than you are.
Like a phoney Instagram lifestyle bot account, this isn’t reality!
A Little More Background on My Pinterest Impressions
Since my experience with the “bug” on my account in June, I’ve been much more careful with my Pinterest activity in terms of pinning frequency and the quality of pins I repin. Additionally, I’ve revamped my Pin designs using Canva, at no small time cost to me.
I’ve also been pinning many more fresh Pins than I ever have (up to 10 new Pins each day). Apparently Pinterest rewards new content above all else due to an algorithm update in June 2020.
Anyone who creates Pins will understand how long it takes. Add that on top of actually scheduling Pins and you’re looking at up to 1.5 hours per day… at least that’s what I’ve been investing 7 days a week since mid-June.
At first this seemed to pay dividends so I was happy as I began seeing encouraging signs of growth across all my stats.
Looking at my Pinterest Analytics in July 2020 through to August, I could see impressions and clicks steadily heading upwards and I got to a point where I was up to around 36k monthly viewers.
Then on 15th August, impressions for Pins I published that linked to my domain slumped overnight from around +1k down to between 20 – 40 a day.
Clearly something had happened.
Another Pinterest Penalty?
Initially I believed Pinterest had flagged my account as spam again, so I raised a ticket with the Business Support team. The response (below) told me I had not received a suspension and that I should focus on publishing fresh Pins, in line with Pinterest’s recommendations following the June algo update.
Okay… so that’s what I did. I stopped repinning and saving others Pins and only published my own new Pins.
A few days later, impressions were still down for my new Pins, so clearly something else was happening. I sent another mail to Pinterest support and asked if someone would look at my account in detail, since I believed it was definitely operating under some sort of penalty.
I received this reply:
You can see the mail states there was no penalty on my account. Indeed I could still log in to Pinterest and publish Pins, so it seemed a unlikely I had a suspension.
And yet… something was obviously going on since my Pinterest impressions were still running at an all-time low.
I decided I had to provide detailed analysis supporting my view that my account was hamstrung by something the support team hadn’t been able to see… or hadn’t been looking for.
I’ll give you the same analysis here. If you’re wondering why your Pinterest impressions are going down, you can check your Pinterest Analytics (assuming you have a business account) and look for a similar trend.
Here’s how to identify if you have a similar problem with your Pinterest impressions as I do.
Identifying If Your Pinterest Impressions Are Decreasing Abnormally
Assuming you have a Pinterest Business Account (you don’t have access to Pinterest Analytics without one), click on Analytics in your main menu:
This will take you to the main Pinterest Analytics view. Make sure you select the date range covering the period where you’ve seen your Pinterest impressions going down and then select the following options in the left hand “Filters” menu:
We only want to look at organic pins from your claimed domain (exclude any paid promotion if you’ve done any), and just the ones you’ve published (excluding your Pins that others have saved or repinned). So only select the 3 filters shown in the image above.
If you have the same problem I have, you’ll see something like this in the chart in Analytics:
This report for August 2020, shows organic activity for pins linking to my claimed domain looking at just the pins I have published.
You’ll notice a sharp decline begins around 15th August. I think you’ll agree that something is definitely not right.
In this post by Anastasia Blogger, she talks about the June 2020 Pinterest updates and identifies a new type of penalty: deindexed pins on Pinterest accounts. She explains the symptoms of this penalty as a:
sudden drop in impressions on Pinterest, drop of traffic and […] all their pins were gone from Pinterest search results (de-indexed).Source: Anastasia Blogger
Anastasia goes on to say that, impressions don’t go down to 0, as with a blocked domain. Instead they simply dwindle at very low levels because it appears only existing followers can presently see your Pins.
Checking to See if Your Pins Are De-Indexed
I tested this theory myself by looking for my Pins using the “Your Pins” option in the Pinterest search bar. I used search terms I knew I’d used in my headlines and descriptions for older Pins of mine and none of them showed in my results.
This looks very much to me like they’d been de-indexed in the way Anastasia describes.
So… I submitted another ticket to Pinterest on 26th August highlighting what I believed to be happening. I attached the screenshots I’ve presented in this post, along with the results of several searches using “Your Pins” that clearly showing a bunch of missing Pins.
My ticket was acknowledged and it’s being investigated, as I understand it, but as of 1st September I’ve heard nothing else.
A Waiting Game
The sub-heading shows where I’m at right now… waiting.
In terms of my current pinning activity, I’m publishing a couple of Pins a day until I know what’s happening with my account, and hopefully it’s fixed.
It seems a waste to continue publishing at the rate I had been as my Pins are likely only being shown to my followers and not to the world at large.
The moral of the story is:
- Get yourself a Pinterest Business Account if you don’t have one.
- When you have a Business Account, check your Pinterest Analytics regularly and carry out the search using the filters I mentioned above to keep an eye on your Pins.
- Don’t just accept what Pinterest support says if your gut tells you there’s problem.
I’ll leave this post here for now and return to it to add updates if and when this issue is fixed.
That’s it for now.
Update – 3rd December 2020
I’ve raised I don’t know how many tickets with Pinterest since I published this post. The majority of the responses I’ve had to them have been the stock reply that almost all people with this issue are seeing:
- Your account is not influenced artificially in any negative way. (i.e. no spam or domain penalty).
- Pinterest is an organic platform and people’s interests can vary.
- Pinterest sees natural ebbs and flows with content distribution, which results in variations in impression volume and viewership.
- Fluctuations can result from changes in seasonality.
- We expect the distribution of content to see natural ups and downs as well.
- Recent changes may be due to updates we are making to prioritize new Pins over already-Pinned content.
- Yada… yada… yada…
I’ve received almost exactly the same response probably 6 or 7 times… it’s clearly a templated response, which is why I’m not confident that my support tickets have been looked at in any detail by someone technical.
These mails feel like standard 1st line support to filter out less critical problems and prevent them passing up the support line.
But it’s critical to me!
Yesterday I received a slightly different reply from the cookie-cutter responses I’ve been getting. There was no movement on the view that there is no penalty on my account. However, the reply also included this advice:
- Don’t use hashtags.
- Use more than 200 words in your description.
- Don’t use emojis.
- Use unique images, titles and descriptions and use a variety of URLs with different destinations.
- Make descriptions relevant to the image.
- Use different Pin types (carousel, story pin, video, etc.)
- Don’t share the same pins over and over.
I have already been doing all of these for some time, many months in fact, so I’m not sure it’s going to make any difference in my case. But perhaps they’ll make a difference to you if you don’t presently adhere to them?
Try them out and let me know how they work for you.
As for me, I’ll keep pinning to see whether I can somehow get out of the impressions flatline… and of course I’ll keep raising tickets!
Have you experienced your pinterest Pins decreasing in the way I’ve outlined here? I’d love to hear about what your experience has been and if / how you resolved it… so please leave a comment below.