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.
Thanks for putting this together Paul. I’ve experienced exactly the same issues since early August, and had the same cookie-cutter responses to multiple Pinterest tickets since then. My account still hasn’t recovered and I’m at a loss of what to do now. I had already been following the best practices suggested for months, and found it a bit insulting that they just kept repeating the same mantra (fresh pins, video pins, don’t pin other’s content) at me continually, when I had already been doing that.
I tried creating a new pinterest account and only pinning my own stuff to that, but obviously I need to build up a following from scratch. It feels like I’m treading water, spending a lot of time creating new pins (now with the new 1000×1500 size as well) for no pay off.
My account had been growing smoothly up until July, and it seems like a lot of commenters are having the same issues, so there has to be something up at Pinterest.
Hi Katherine… it’s devastating, and I’m sorry you’re going through this too.
My feeling is something’s up with certain accounts and they possibly don’t know why. In terms of how to forge ahead, I’ve decided to reduce my efforts in Pinterest for a while. I invest between 1.5 to 2 hours a day and for the results I’m currently enjoying, it makes no business sense to just keep plodding along.
I’m not giving up on my account… I just need to redistribute my time to something that drives better results right now.
Please keep me updated about your progress though if you hear anything or manage to see a shift in the performance of your account.
Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m experiencing the same things as you and have received the exact same canned answers from Pinterest.
They say I’m not flagged for spam, but something is definitely not right! After October 29th my blog traffic from Pinterest dropped from 50 or more visits a day to 0-2. My impressions on new pins are 10-20. It’s crazy. I have followed all of their best practices so I know I’m doing all of the right things.
I’m going to continue contacting them and ask about de-indexing as well. Thanks for that info.
Hi Katy… and I’m sorry your experiencing the same issues as many of us.
Let us all know how you get on and whether or not you figure out a fix. I’ll be updating this post myself as soon as I have anything else to report.
Sarah Howe says
Thanks for this article. I have had the same issue since October. My traffic has dropped but not as significantly as others, as re-pins from others seems to get traffic! However, new stuff less than 20-50 impressions, as I’m guessing barely anyone seeing!!
I can’t find any of my most popular pins if I search under “my pins”. I just don’t get it!
I did notice if I used a thread (which is frowned upon) impressions went up, as I’m guessing more exposure from repins from more people!
I’ve raised a ticket now, after reading this and will see what happens. I’ve been told I;’m not spam but something isn’t right!
Hope you get sorted out!!
Thanks for adding to this discussion. You are seeing precisely the same symptoms as I am. Repins get way more impressions than my original Pin and I’m nowhere when searching only within my own Pins for those optimized for the searches I’m making!
I raised another ticket myself and asked for it to be submitted to a technical team.
Good luck in your endeavors too… let us know how you get on.
Thanks so much for this Paul.
I couldn’t understand why my impressions were just going down, down, down and then my new pins were getting nowhere near the usual.
After reading your blog post and Anastasia’s I was able to contact Pinterest and ask directly about the de-indexing. Otherwise, it’s just a whole load of them telling you how to Pin ‘well’.
My reply from them so far acknowledged there is “a bug in our spam blocker that was mistakenly flagging safe content”. They are currently working to rectify the issue on my account. However, there needs to be some sort of open acknowledgment that legitimate Pinterest account holders are being unfairly penalised.
I’m so glad my post has helped you and it’s great Pinterest has acknowledged your account has been flagged for spam by mistake.
I’ve just done another round of submitting tickets since I’m still having issues myself. My feeling with Pinterest is that you have to keep pushing and raising tickets until one of them lands on someone who understands the problem and how to fix it.
Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate your feedback… and it’s very nice to be mentioned in the same breath as Anastasia!
Just read your Dec 3 update. So don’t use hashtags and make longer descriptions now? Sigh.
My situation hasn’t improved yet. I’ve been ‘unflagged’ but currently battling it out with the stock copy and paste guideline responses. I have yet to receive a response that actually answers my direct question about de-indexing and the my ‘missing’ pins from when I search.
That’s great you’ve been unflagged Kim: one thing off the list!
There has to be some underlying issue though regarding de-indexing and missing pins from search. Lots of people having this issue and it’s still unresolved for me too.
I’ve been experiencing the exact same thing since July and it’s happening to three of my accounts so far.
The Pinterest replies were the same, of course.
From everything I’ve read, i haven’t found anyone who’s had the issue fixed and some have had this issue since April.
The lack of explanation is atrocious and disrespectful, considering its ruining my businesses.
I’m starting to think they actually meant to do this, how else can we explain something that’s been going on for so long?
How can we explain this complete silence by everyone other than the users who are experiencing it? Not Pinterest, its business community or any of their associates like tailwind are talking about it, why is that?
I’m sorry to say that by now I believe we will never get our accounts back to the way they were and Pinterest wants it to be so…
It’s very frustrating to work so hard, identify a problem and be unable to get any sort of help. Given it seems there are so many people experiencing this, I’m surprised like you that we’re not hearing more from the various communities you mention. This is NOT a scenario where creating fresh Pins will fix things I feel.
We’re all feeling your pain!
I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m experiencing the same thing too. I just started managing an account for a client. We came out of the gates running, over 1K impressions per post for a couple of weeks. Then about a week ago they plummeted, I’m lucky if I hit 20.
I do not believe the pins have been de-indexed as they do appear when I do a search.
I haven’t changed my strategy at all. I did miss a few days because we had a huge ice storm that knocked the power out for several days. But, they were on the decline before then.
I do hope you hear something soon. I know how frustrating this is.
I haven’t heard anything as yet. I have reduced my pinning schedule and have reworked my pin designs (also updated around 80% of all images on my blog to fit the new look). So far my pins are showing a handful of impressions and after a few days they start to increase… but not into the hundreds as most used to. I’m also running some scheduled paid ads to see how this impacts specific pins and whether or not it lifts them organically when the ads stop running.
Like most things, testing takes time… I think Pinterest support is not forthcoming, so we’re left with trial and error and sharing results with our communities.
Thanks Paul! Yep, it’s definitely time to start playing around to see what works. I’ll definitely come back and let you know if I’ve found the “secret”. 😆
I’m sure lots of people would appreciate any insights that any of us can provide on this matter… I for one would be delighted to hear about your progress and the “secrets” you uncover!
Experiencing this exact same thing and in addition to it our pins scheduled through Tailwind are performing worse than pins scheduled through Pinterest. We have even notified Tailwind of this and they said that we aren’t the first to complain about it and that they are engaging with Pinterest on the issue. I literally had to ask someone at Pinterest to stop giving me template reply, stop telling an experienced person how the platform works and called them out on their “mansplaining” ways to get anywhere close to an answer. Basically we found out that a few of our pins were stolen and uploaded with spam links – this directly negatively impacted our account. We have now seized all activity for 2 weeks and unclaimed our website in a hope to “reset” our account. Will let you know how this fairs in about a weeks time!
Thanks for your sharing your experience.
It’s a real challenge. I know something’s wrong with my account but either Pinterest support don’t have the manpower or first line support just knocks back all issues like this with templated responses. Proper technical support is required to fix I think.
Further to this, I also lost access to my business account two weeks ago without explanation (recovered after 12 days) but impressions remain in the same place as they were prior. I have unclaimed and reclaimed my account and am now pinning at a far reduced rate. I’m documenting everything to add to this post but I’d love to hear how you get on too.
Thank you for this article. This sounds like exactly what is happening to me. Please keep us updated on your situation. What reason do you pick for your ticket? None of them seem to match the issue.
Hi Tanya. I agree it’s always difficult to find the most appropriate reason to assign to the ticket. Pinterest’s ticketing system doesn’t always seem to have an appropriate reason to assign. I just look for the closest reason I can find!
Krasen Jelyazkov says
Hi Martin, I suspect that I have the same problem with my Pinterest account- de-indexed pins, but I am not sure. I tried what you did as follows: used “Your pins” option in the search bar, and input some of my old pins. The result says: “0 results found for xxxxx, try adding some now.”, then below: “You haven’t saved any Pins about xxxxx. Check out these ideas instead…”. But I can see my pins that I search in “More ideas for you” below.
Is that the same with you?
This is one of the problems I was seeing too Krasen.
Thanks for this article.
I am experiencing a significant drop since one week ago, especially on my video pins. Check this: https://www.screencast.com/t/kDaNkiXtAsvb
I tried searching my top performing pins and they still appear.
Any thoughts? I think I will submit a ticket to see what they say.
It’s horrendous and very difficult to get acknowledgement from Pinterest support that there’s any problem. But when something smells fishy, it’s usually a fish!
I think a ticket is a great way to start. But you have to dig your heels in when they say there’s no problem. I’m still trying to get this resolved but in the meantime I’m working much more diligently with my approach to pinning to see if this moves the needle in the righ direction for me.
I’d really like to hear how you get on so please do update me here. I’ll update this post too shortly with additional information about my plight and what I’m doing to resolve it.
Best of luck!
Thank you for sharing this honest feedback. I have a really small account on Pinterest and it looks like I am on the same boat as you.
Hi Suchi… sorry to hear we share the same pain.
I still haven’t been able to get any movement on this issue… in fact things have worsened. I’m in the process of updating this post with the details!
Alan Picton says
This is now happening to me.I create original humorous content and normally get anywhere between 2k and 4k average impressions per image. The last 6-8 images I’ve posted have received just 1 each! I had an image removed by Pinterest just before this started as they said it breached their ‘sexual content ‘ rules-it DIDN’T so I left a sarcastic remark on their Twitter page.Wonder if this has something to do with it?
I feel your pain Alan.
I’m in the process of trying a new tack to try to overcome this downturn in Pinterest impressions. I’ll update this post with more detail when I can see whether or not it’s made a difference.
Same thing is happening to me right now. That’s how I found your blog! Pinterest impressions dropped by 80% this past Sunday!
I guess I’ll start filing support tickets tomorrow.
MY current hypothesis is this:
Some really old pins were gaining in popularity in the last 2 weeks. 1 of those pins points back to my site (just my home page) even though it’s for a recipe that is not mine and exists on another website that is branded on the pin photo(maybe the recipe author did a guest post back in the day before I owned the business but if they had, that post no longer exists in my database).
The other 2 pins do link back to articles on my site but they are old roundup posts that don’t actually have the recipes in them. This means it’s weak content.
I’m deleting these pins and doing a full audit of whatever is out there pin-wise from the last few years to ensure they go back to solid links on my blog. I hope that’s the right thing to do, in addition to reaching out to Pinterest support.
Wow Jenny… 80%!
Are you seeing this on just your own Pins or is it repins too?