“Forget double-digit growth in traffic — we want triple-digit growth.”
We love the idea that content lives on Pinterest forever.
Tracy Baeckler, eBay's Senior Manager of Paid Social Media, says her social team started with goals from corporate to increase site traffic from Pinterest by double digits. But, as she explains in her presentation at SocialMedia.org's Brands-Only Summit, her team wanted to do something bigger. So they spent time setting “stretch goals,” like earning engagement on every single pin they've posted and increasing traffic from Pinterest by over 100 percent.
They started with a primary metric: Traffic. “For our goals, you have to give users a reason to want to leave Pinterest.”
“Pinterest is its own beast,” says Tracy.
“You're not going to Pinterest to see photos of your niece or to learn about news. You're going to the platform to search for things you're inspired by, to make plans for things you want to do in the future. That's very different from every other channel.”
She explained that Pinterest has three main flows:
- Home: Here, Pinterest shows you what your friends are interested in and things you're looking for, in the moment. If you're pinning outdoor kitchen ideas, you'll see outdoor kitchen ideas — it's all highly curated.
- Search: More than any other social channel, people use Pinterest to look something up. “Nobody uses Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram to search for items,” Tracy says. “But on Pinterest, SEO is such an important factor.”
- Browse: Pinterest serves up suggestions for categories to browse including pins that are popular right now, or just “Everything” — which is exactly that.
“We love the idea that content lives on Pinterest forever,” Tracy says. Unlike other platforms where content might survive for 12 hours before it's buried, like on Facebook, or 30 minutes for Twitter, she says eBay still gets traffic from pins they've shared years ago.
“eBay has tons of content from our millions of listings. Unfortunately, none of it really works on Pinterest.”
Pinterest has told us again and again that you've got to find what's useful and give it to your customers.
After all, eBay's listings range from professionals with beautifully photographed products to moms taking photos on the kitchen floor. Tracy knew she could create pins from that content and probably meet their double-digit growth goal for Pinterest. But her team's stretch goals made them think differently about the solution.
And while eBay has in-house writers and designers, they simply couldn't meet the scale her team needed. And that's where influencer content came in.
“We wanted someone who knows the topic, is an expert, and is already talking to the people we want to reach.”
Their influencers range from bloggers with huge fields of knowledge to niche experts. “It doesn't matter who they are,” she explains, “We just care about the great content.” eBay's influencer program helped take their content from product-focused listings to helpful guides that look great on Pinterest, like 10 Gifts Your Bridesmaids Won't Hate!, for example.
“Pinterest has told us again and again that you've got to find what's useful and give it to your customers. That's how you're going to get traffic,” she says.
The final step: Iterate and test for results.
Tracy says they've tested things like different keywords, text overlay, changing the pin's category, and stitching images together to find what works. She suggests starting with these bigger picture content variants, then optimizing what works with targeting and bidding strategies.
She says that as the influencer content began to pick up more traffic in 2014, they optimized further in 2015, testing and iterating new ideas, and tracking visits internally through custom URLs. “Then, once it started to do really well we started putting money behind it to see if we could push it,” she says. “That's the big hockey stick you see in 2015, when we rolled out with CPC bidding through Promoted Pins.”
In the end, they met their stretch goals with a 154-percent increase of average daily visits from Pinterest to their site. Even better, the influencer program at eBay has exploded and is benefiting many other teams far beyond Pinterest.