Posted on
13/3/2023

The Pinterest Algorithm Explained

Pinterest is no longer just a source of inspiration, but also an e-commerce platform whose potential marketers should recognize. In Germany, the network now counts more than 15 million users per month who are increasingly using the platform for product searches and ultimately also consolidating their purchasing decisions there. Accordingly, it is of great importance for marketers to understand how the Pinterest algorithm works in order to succeed with their next influencer marketing campaign.

computer screen with Pinterest page open
computer screen with Pinterest page open

Key Takeaways

  • Pinterest is more of a visual search engine than a social network: an account is required, but commenting and liking has little meaning on Pinterest.
  • The algorithm on Pinterest is based on various factors such as quality relevance, timeliness and engagement of users with a pin.
  • Influencer marketing on Pinterest is particularly suitable when brands want to focus on products and services instead of personalities.

Pinterest is a social network where visual content, especially images and videos, can be discovered, saved and shared. The platform is used by a wide range of users, from individuals looking for inspiration for their personal hobbies and interests to companies and brands looking to promote their products and services. The network is based on the concept of “pins” and offers a variety of features and tools that can be used for marketing, such as Promoted Pins and Buyable Pins, which allow users to shop directly on the platform. In short, users save any pins in their own collections or “boards” and thus curate the content according to topics and interests.

Read more about the latest updates to social commerce on YouTube here.

Pinterest’s big selling point is that it acts as a visual search engine, allowing users to search for content by keyword, much like a Google search. Some experts even go so far as to question whether Pinterest is a social network or a search engine. The reason for this doubt is that Pinterest hardly fulfills the functions of a social network, but rather one of a visual search engine. Thus, Pinterest focuses on searching for images and videos, yet, unlike Google, registration and a username are essential for using Pinterest. At the same time, commenting and following other users is possible but hardly used.

In order to personalize the search results for users, the Pinterest algorithm takes into account factors such as quality and relevance and offsets this with the search history of the user’s engagement.

How does the algorithm work on Pinterest?

The Pinterest algorithm uses various factors to determine what content is displayed to users on the platform. These factors include:

Relevance: The algorithm considers how relevant a pin is to the search query or interests. Accordingly, the AI filters by the titles, descriptions, and keywords. The pins that match the search query are more likely to be displayed.

Quality: In addition, the algorithm on Pinterest values the overall quality of a pin, including image quality, overall engagement metrics (e.g., saves, clicks, and comments), and the quality of the website to which the pin links. The latter, in particular, is a knockout criterion for ranking highly in content searches on Pinterest. Consequently, the pins must not only be of high quality, but they also must match thematically  to the linked website. Only if Pinterest thinks that your site is reputable, will you be verified.

Recency: the algorithm values new content and may therefore favor pins that have been recently posted or interacted with.

Engagement: Another important factor for the algorithm on Pinterest is how users engage with content on the platform. Pins that have high levels of engagement, such as saves, clicks, and comments, are more likely to be recommended to other users. Also read these five tips for increasing engagement rates on Pinterest

Influencer marketing on Pinterest: how to master the algorithm

Influencer marketing on Pinterest can take various forms, such as sponsored content, affiliate marketing or product reviews. It’s worth noting that compared to other social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok, influencer marketing on Pinterest focuses less on personalities and more on products and services. This can be an advantage for businesses looking to showcase their offerings in a more product-focused way, rather than relying solely on influencers’ personal brand. Also, read more about the new shopping features on Pinterest.

Another aspect of influencer marketing on Pinterest is the platform’s emphasis on long-term content. Pins have a longer lifespan than other social media posts, which means that content from an influencer marketing campaign will be seen and paid attention to over a longer period of time.

Kolsquare tip: To use the full potential of Pinterest (in the long run), it is a good idea to launch different influencer marketing campaigns and include different channels in them. As you know, Instagram is the opposite of long-term and content quickly disappears in the vastness of the app and endless scrolling. Consequently, it’s best to combine the ephemerality of Instagram with the longevity of Pinterest.

In Instagram campaigns, influencers spread a (brand) message and thus influence the awareness and attitude of followers towards a brand. The followers trust the KOLs and often even consider them friends, which means that targeted messages and recommendations can be communicated.

In contrast, Pinterest focuses on content, not on influencers as people. Pinners use the platform to get inspired and discover new products, which leads to a high purchase intention. Overall, Instagram and Pinterest complement each other not only in terms of time, but also in terms of purpose. Instagram can raise awareness of the brand and its product, while on Pinterest the product is presented to a ready-to-buy target group and ultimately sold.

Ultimately, Pinterest’s unique selling point is that influencer marketing campaigns can drive traffic to business websites and increase sales.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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