I’m a very methodical person, always have been. It’s just in my nature to test and tweak and test until I get something just right.
Whatever I’m doing, be it improving my physical fitness, learning to build canvases for my wife to paint on or figuring out how to generate traffic and revenue for my web sites, I study and learn and test until I’m satisfied with the results.
Even when I’m happy with the outcome, I never quit trying to improve. It’s how I’ve achieved my success.
So when I started tinkering with Pinterest last year and saw it’s incredible traffic and revenue generation potential, I started testing and searching for ways to take better and better advantage of it.
I’ve learned three things through this process:
- Pinterest delivers traffic in a big way.
- Pinterest traffic is high quality.
- Pinterest traffic is easier to get than any other organic (unpaid) source I’ve used.
I know you’re eager to see what I’ve accomplished, and I’m going to show you. But first let me tell you a little bit about Pinterest. Afterward I’ll show you my results and outline the methods I am using to generate traffic and revenue from it.
How Pinterest Works
While having more than 100 million active users, Pinterest is not nearly as popular as Facebook or Twitter in terms of active user counts. A big part of that is because the great majority of Pinterest users are based in the United States. It hasn’t caught on in other countries like those other social networks have.
My traffic shows that 83% of traffic generated from Pinterest is from the USA, 4% from Canada, 2% from the United Kingdom and the final 11% is from a variety of other countries (with each additional country providing less than 1% of the total traffic).
I am optimistic that Pinterest will gain traction in other countries as well. It’s comparatively young – only about five years old. Compare that to Facebook (12 years old) and Twitter (10 years old), and it’s easy to see Pinterest becoming far more global in the next five years.
The beauty of Pinterest is its simplicity. You simply “pin” (post) images that you like, along with descriptions of the image, to “boards” (collections of typically related images). If you like what a Pinterest user is pinning, you follow either the user or just the specific board. You can also invite other users to add pins to your boards. Traffic is generated when people click-through from the pinned image to the web page (URL) attached to the image.
New users can create a Pinterest account in seconds. The interface is lovely, clean and intuitive, making it easy for users to get started creating boards, pinning images and following other users.
Ok, enough about how Pinterest works. Let’s get into what I’ve been able to achieve with it.
1. The Earnings
click the image to enlarge
I have used Pinterest traffic to generate $10,301.04
in earnings from July through September
As you can clearly see from the chart above, Pinterest traffic generates serious revenue. The reason for this is simple: Pinterest users are active buyers. In fact, a study done by Shopify shows that 87% of Pinterest users use the social media tool when making buying decisions. That’s the kind of traffic you want: people who are actively looking to buy.
Here are the month to month earnings, totaling $10,301.04:
- July – $1,376.69
- August – $3,991.03
- September – $4,933.32
I included June in the chart so you can see the dramatic growth rate over the last few months (it’s not included in the total earnings number). The October value is a forecast for next month. I expect October to do far better than September based on short-term growth rates.
I am monetizing the traffic with three different sources:
- Google AdSense
- ClickBank affiliate sales
- Amazon affiliate sales
ClickBank and AdSense account for the lion’s share of the revenue. I’ve just started ramping up traffic to Amazon for one particular web property. The results are promising, so I expect its revenue share to grow considerably in the coming months.
click the image to enlarge
The above chart is my projection of the earnings I expect from Pinterest traffic through the end of the year. It’s based on current short-term growth rates of only the current web properties I am monetizing with Pinterest.
The truth is, though, that I’ll be adding more web properties to my network before then, which means that the numbers shown in this chart are really just a conservative estimate.
2. The Traffic
click the image to enlarge
I have used Pinterest to generate 1,013,501
site visitors from July through September
Pinterest may not have as many active users as Facebook or Twitter, but my experience and testing shows that it delivers far more organic (unpaid) traffic per pin (post) than both Facebook and Twitter combined.
The reason is longevity. The images you post to your account can be “repinned” onto other user’s boards. When another user puts your pin on their board, it appears in the timeline of everyone that follows that user. The following users can also repin the image, etc., resulting in a continuous stream of viral traffic over time if the pin gets popular.
While other social media sites also notify an account holder’s friends or followers when you like or share something, because Pinterest is so visual and its users so actively engaged in shopping (which means more click-throughs to your site), the results from Pinterest are far superior in my experience.
Here are the month to month traffic numbers, totaling 1,013,501 visitors:
- July – 184,592 visitors
- August – 364,940 visitors
- September – 467,589 visitors
As with the earnings, I included June in the chart for comparison purposes only – it’s not included in the 1+ million total. October is my forecast based on short-term growth rates.
3. The Email Subscribers
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I have used Pinterest traffic to add 7,475
email subscribers from July through September
“The money is in the list.” Marketers say it all the time, and it’s true. It’s much easier to sell to somebody who has volunteered to receive marketing information from you than to make a sale from a first time visitor. That’s true whether you’re engaging in direct mail marketing, marketing through television, video or radio commercials or sending traffic to your website.
Once a person has volunteered to get onto your email list (opted-in), you can start to build trust with them by sending them valuable information on the subject they’re interested in. Once you have their trust they are much more likely to buy based on your recommendation.
Don’t get me wrong – I make a lot of money from direct site visitors as well, both in advertising and affiliate referrals. But I would be missing out on a big chunk of weekly income if I didn’t also email my subscribers. Even if you’re just referring your subscriber to your latest blog post, it still earns you more money when they click the ads or click-through and buy your affiliate offer.
Here are the month to month subscriber numbers, totaling 7,475 email opt-ins:
- July – 1,380
- August – 2,690
- September – 3,405
As with earnings and traffic, opt-ins are growing dramatically month over month. I expect that trend to continue, which will further boost earnings as I market to the subscribers.
I’ve shown you a lot of big, impressive numbers generated over a very short period of time in this case study. I know that can be hard to believe. That’s why I’m also providing you this list of screenshots that prove the numbers. The numbers may be slightly different than the totals shown here, since I didn’t take the screenshots at the same time that I added up the figures, but where they are different it’s only by very small amounts.
I’ve blacked out parts of the screenshots that would violate my own privacy, customer privacy or the terms of service for each revenue provider. Otherwise the images have not been altered.
The Methods I Am Using
Like I said in the beginning, I am very methodical. I test and tweak and improve as the results come in. That means that what I am posting now might change somewhat going forward as I continue to improve the way I use Pinterest for traffic and revenue generation. However, it’s clear that what I’m doing is successful, and I suggest you use it as a starting point for your own testing.
I Use Multiple Pinterest Accounts
As you may have already guessed, I am not getting these results from just one Pinterest account. I run a number of websites, and have accounts dedicated to the promotion of each site. Pinterest lets you create Business accounts for promotional purposes. As of the time of my writing this, you are not limited to just creating one account. That only makes sense. Many people run multiple businesses, and Pinterest naturally wants them all on board (no pun intended).
I Pin A Lot
I pin to each of my accounts typically a few hundred times a day. Those pins are linked to specific pages of my websites. People click-through the pins to my sites, generating traffic and revenue. It’s really a numbers game. The more you pin and the more eye-catching the images you pin, the more traffic you’ll generate.
I Follow Users With Clear Interest
As with all social media sites, a certain percentage of people that you follow will follow you back. I use this reciprocal following to grow the popularity of my Pinterest accounts.
In order to get followers who are clearly interested in my market, I search for boards related to my market and follow the users that are following those boards. Anywhere from 10% – 25% of those users follow me back, growing the account popularity. When I pin, the pins appear in those users’ timelines, resulting in traffic to my sites.
It’s my experience that the more followers you have that are clearly interested in your market, the more likely your pins are to show up in the Pinterest search results as well. So having a popular account generates traffic not only from your followers but also from the Pinterest search function.
I Use Software Automation
Obviously I can’t pin hundreds of times a day to multiple accounts (or follow that many people every day) without automation being involved. I’ve developed an in-house software tool that assists me in doing this, making it easy to grow popular accounts in my target markets that generate traffic to my sites and revenue from that traffic.
“What Software Is That?”
While I have no plans to release the in-house software tool I’m using to the public (it’s not designed for multi-user personal use), I am working on a desktop tool that duplicates the functionality that is most important to my in-house tool’s success. The new tool runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s being designed from the ground-up to use everything I’ve learned about Pinterest in the last year to help you maximize the value that Pinterest can bring to your own website(s).
As with any software automation, you will need to use this tool in a way that does not violate Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy. Failure to do so may result in your Pinterest account (or accounts) being suspended so that you are no longer able to use them. Get familiar with what they allow, because if you do things right the results are clearly spectacular.
I anticipate the desktop tool being available toward the end of October. If you’re on my email list I’ll notify you when it’s available. If you’re not on my email list, click here and enter your details in the opt-in box.
I hope this case study has gotten you as excited about Pinterest as I am. I’m sure you have questions, so feel free to post them in a comment below, along with any other thoughts you have. I’ll do my best to respond to everyone that requires a response.