How I Failed BADLY On Pinterest – Top 3 Mistakes Newbies Make

In this article I want to introduce you to Pinterest and share top 3 mistakes that cost me time, energy and money. At the end I even had to ditch my account and start all over again.

Hopefully you will learn from my mistakes.

Pinterest is, in my opinion, THE MOST UNDERESTIMATED traffic source currently available.

It is a query based search engine, just like Google and YouTube.

Basically, you type a keyword and it shows the most relevant search results in form of pins.

We all know that query based searches are the most valuable. Take a look at this chart.

The reason is because people who directly express what they are searching for are much more qualified compared to people who have been interrupted with an ad.

Classic examples of interruption based channels are FaceBook ads, display ads, pop-ups, TV and radio commercials, YouTube in stream ads etc.

Google SEO is getting more competitive every day because of its frequent algorithm changes. Creating YouTube videos is VERY time consuming. While other search engines like DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo have such low search volumes they are not worth your effort.

Think of Pinterest as stupid Google.

How would you feel if you could travel 10 years back in time and apply your current SEO knowledge to optimize websites on Google???

You would probably dominate every single keyword term that you want.

That is exactly what you can do with Pinterest these days!

All these crazy Google algorithm updates made it very hard for newbies to compete for highly commercial intent keywords. Search engine optimization can no longer be treated as a side hustle. Rankings that produce big profits require a lot of time, testing and knowledge.

Pinterest is a very young website, especially compared to Google which has been around since 1998.

Pinterest was founded in March 2010.

However, it’s not suitable for every niche! 

  • 81% of Pinterest users are females
  • Men account for only 7% of total pins – which means that 93% of pinning is done by females
  • Median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however majority of active pinners are below 40 years old
  • 30% of all US social media users are Pinterest users
  • 60% of Pinterest users are from US

Right of the bat you can see that blog about football probably won’t benefit a lot from this traffic source. However, Food & Drink & Technology are the most popular categories for men.

Interestingly enough, millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram!

These are some of the most popular niches that are doing really well on Pinterest (in terms of driving traffic to their own websites)

  • Health and fitness
  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • Decoration
  • Recipes and food: There are more than 1.7 billion recipe Pins
  • Survival
  • Travel
  • Animals
  • Tattoos
  • Do it yourself (DIY)
  • Photography
  • Design
  • Home and kitchen
  • Kids and baby
  • Saving money
  • Making money
  • Blogging

If your website falls under one of these niches or your target audience is the same like Pinterest demographic then DON’T IGNORE THIS TRAFFIC SOURCE.

If like most people you feel intimidated when thinking about Pinterest as a traffic source, I don’t blame you.

This is because most people have no idea how Pinterest actually works, so they give up.

So How Does Pinterest work?

Pinterest is a social media network where search plays an important role. Compared to FaceBook and Instagram, search function is more frequently used on Pinterest.

Pin represents a post, which can either be a link to a simple image or to a website off of Pinterest.

Just like on any other social network, you can follow other accounts, and anyone can follow you.

The more followers you have the higher reach your pins will have.

Boards represent categories to which pins are posted. Pinterest users can decide whether to follow your entire account (including every board that you have) or just several boards that they might find interesting. Usually people follow entire accounts.

Each pin can be repined. Basically this means that any pin can be shared by any Pinterest user. This function is similar to share button on FaceBook.

If your pin gets repined then it’s going to have higher reach and be shown to people who follow person who has repined your pin.

The more followers and repins you have the better results you’ll get.

Off course there is much more to this, but these are some basics on how Pinterest works.

You see, it’s like any other social network.

Then why do so many marketers ignore this amazing social network?

Whats the big fuss?!?

If you’ve been trying to figure out this whole online business thing, you have probably noticed that traffic solves (almost) everything.

No traffic, no sales.

You can have the best looking, highly optimized website, but if no one sees it you won’t make any sales.

So always begin with an end in mind. Start with mastering a traffic source then move to optimizing a website for more conversions.

Pinterest can give you loads of traffic in relatively short period.

Here are some website stats that generate considerable amounts of traffic from Pinterest.

That is about 240.000 monthly visitors coming from Pinterest! 

Install SimilarWeb Chrome addon to analyze traffic of websites that are active on Pinterest.

How I screwed everything up

When I started exploring Pinterest I didn’t know how the whole system works. I listened to several “experts” in the field but the content was either outdated or strategies simply didn’t work.

While trying and testing different Pinterest tactics these are the most crucial mistakes I made:

1 – Don’t be part of LOW QUALITY group boards

Group boards are VERY important part of Pinterest, especially if you are just starting out.

Group board simply means that you have access to a board where you can pin. This gives you access to followers of a group board.

Posting on group boards is a GREAT strategy for increasing number of followers.  

This is an example of a group board

There are QUALITY and AWFUL group boards out there.

This is an example of a bad spammy group board, and this is an example of a high quality group board.

At first I didn’t know the difference between these two. Since it’s MUCH MUCH easier to get into a spammy group board, you guessed it, I joined over 50 of them.

Although the cumulative number of followers was over 500.000, there were too many spammers, too many participants, low quality content, fake accounts, bad images etc.

Not to mention the performance of the boards was awful, which ultimately decreased the reach of pins.

Low quality content performs bad, which pulls down board performance, which ultimately decreases reach of your whole account.

In order to succeed on Pinterest you MUST be a member of HIGH QUALITY group boards. Period.

2 – Don’t post low quality content

This goes for any social network, not just Pinterest.

Nobody wants low quality content. It gets less repins, which pulls down performance of whole account.

Focus on quality, not quantity.

Once you have quality content then work on distributing your pins. The beauty of Pinterest is that you can repin same content multiple times to different boards.

Content on Pinterest has much longer lifespan compared to ANY other social network.

With my first account I made a newbie mistake and thought that lifespan of an average pin is much shorter, so I focused on producing as much content as possible. At one point I was producing up to 10 articles per day. Off course every article was piece of garbage.

Not to mention that low quality content won’t help with capturing email addresses. Which is CRUCIAL for long term success!

3 – Don’t spam

Pinterest HATES spam!

I mean who doesn’t?!?

Except spammers themselves 🙂

To understand why spammers LOVE Pinterest and how Pinterest engineering team is fighting against them, I recommend to read this article. As a matter of fact, regularly follow updates from Pinterest engineering team.


To sum it up…

After I realized how huge the mistakes were, I had to start all over again.

Now you might be wondering why?

Well, Pinterest is very aggressive when it comes to spam. It’s always much safer to start all over again with a new domain then to try and pull account from a losing battle.

In the meantime I stumbled upon a true Pinterest expert who is killing it right now!

Currently I am on the right track of making Pinterest my very stable source of income. All this while building highly valuable email list along the way.

At first I didn’t take Pinterest seriously enough and thought that most people were successful by accident.

Now I realize that there is no overnight success on Pinterest. If you want serious results, you need to put in serious work!

Like with everything online, IT TAKE TIME!

Fun Facts About Pinterest

At the end here are some interesting Pinterest statistics that will hopefully make you explore this amazing social network even more:

  • There are over 75 billion ideas on Pinterest
  • 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest
  • 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline
  • 67% of Pinners are under 40-years-old
  • Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest
  • 80% of Pinterest user access it through a mobile device
  • 93% of active pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases
  • 2/3 pins represent brands and products
  • Every day nearly 2.000.000 people pin product rich pins
  • More than 14 million articles are pinned each day
  • Average time spent on Pinterest per visit is 14.2 minutes


Have you experimented with Pinterest already? What are your results?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

- Damir

Damir Šerbečić

Damir is the Founder & CEO of WinWinAcademy - an online teaching and coaching platform for digital marketers. He has built and consulted multi-million dollar eCommerce businesses since 2007.
You can request to join his exclusive VIP email list here to learn behind the scenes eCommerce tactics that are never going to be shared publicly.

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