Why Did My Pinterest Impressions Drop Drastically?
Pinterest is touted as a powerful tool for bloggers, but it’s been a massive headache in 2020. Many bloggers have experienced unexplained drops in traffic throughout the year—including me.
In this post, I’m going to share everything I know about the different glitches, how they’ve impacted my account, and potential steps going forward.
Pinterest Issues: Spam Filters, Deindexing, Oh My
There appear to be 3 different issues, as of December 2020. These are likely because the Pinterest team is working remotely until August 2021 (at least), and things are just not functioning as smoothly as before.
Spam Filter Problem
Beginning in March 2020, my pins started seeing a drastic drop in initial impressions. I used to get at least 1k impressions per fresh pin (an image/graphic never posted to Pinterest before). I’d sometimes even get 10k+ initial impressions!
All of a sudden, I was getting less than 10 impressions. But while my fresh pins weren’t getting seen, my older ones were still doing fine, and my link clicks and monthly audience weren’t really impacted.
I didn’t do anything about it for a month, and eventually contacted Pinterest for another issue. In passing, I mentioned this issue. They didn’t say anything about it, but my impressions recovered shortly after. I eventually grew my account to 500k+ monthly viewers and 7.5k+ monthly link clicks.
This issue seemed to come in waves, and many bloggers got hit in the summer and fall. If you’re caught by the filter, contacting support is usually the best option. They generally admit there’s a problem and try to fix it for you (unlike some of the other issues). Some accounts recover shortly after, but others continue to have low impressions.
Key indicators that you’ve been caught in the spam filter are:
- Low fresh pin impressions
- Older pins tend to perform just fine
This problem usually comes in combination with another glitch. If your traffic has totally tanked, this situation probably applies to you.
Check some pins that you know were ranking, and see if you still show up in results. If you don’t, your old pins were likely de-indexed. In this case, reach out to support and see if they can help you out.
Fall 2020 Issue (Spam Filter Lookalike)
The impressions my pins are getting now (above) vs. the impressions before (below)
But wait, there’s more! Beginning in October 2020, there was a new wave of low impressions. U.S. accounts were hit earlier in the month, and European accounts were impacted later on (I have a French account, and my impressions dropped around October 21st).
This new glitch seemed just like the spam filter: all of a sudden, my fresh pins were getting under 10 impressions. But this time, my link clicks were also impacted, and I lost about 50% of Pinterest traffic.
The difference is that Pinterest support refuses to admit this issue. They’ll likely give you a canned response about pinning high-quality content and prioritizing fresh pins. This is what they told me and many others:
Like other organic distribution platforms, Pinterest sees natural ebbs and flows with content distribution, which results in variations in impression volume and viewership.
Oftentimes, fluctuations can result from changes in seasonality, related interests in content, format type, engagement rates or updates that Pinterest makes to our system to better deliver valuable ideas to Pinners. Just like our users’ interests evolve, we can expect the distribution of content to see natural ups and downs as well.
We encourage creators to continue to post high-quality, inspiring ideas to see what resonates with their audience on Pinterest. In some cases, recent changes may be due to updates we are making to prioritize new Pins over already-Pinned content.
No matter how hard you press, they’ll likely continue to tell you that nothing is wrong (trust me, I tried). It’s extremely frustrating because many of us are already aware of best practices and are following them. This is also clearly not a natural “ebb and flow” when this is a widespread issue, and certain bloggers’ pins are performing poorly across the board (even seasonally-relevant ones).
This issue has still not been resolved for me and many others. Based on my blogging Facebook groups, some accounts recovered suddenly after a month or two. I will be going on the second month in a couple weeks, and will report back if there are any changes.
Is Pinterest Still Worth It?
Pinterest is still a fantastic tool for growing your blog, but you have to be aware of its limitations. Before giving up or taking a break, here are a few things you might try:
- Pin a fresh pin to only one board before scheduling the rest (I used to do 4 initial boards)
- Select relevant boards only (not general group boards), and pin to no more than 10 boards total
- Use story pins and video pins (if you have them)
- Pin manually only
- Unclaim and reclaim your site
Some bloggers have reported that these measures have helped them. I’ve tried the first two, but not the last three. Neither of these has improved my situation, but they could help yours.
If you’ve tried all these things with no luck, it may be worth taking a break, or dropping down to one fresh pin per day (that was my typical schedule already). That way, you won’t be wasting your time.
Basically, there’s no known fix for these current issues. It’s basically a waiting game. Several bloggers have had miraculous recoveries, while others have been stuck for months. If the issue still isn’t fixed by the end of my second month, I’m going to take a break myself.
Some have hypothesized that these glitches are actually algorithm changes to encourage bloggers to spend money on ads. Recently, I actually spent $10 on a promoted pin for a sponsorship, and the stats were pretty lackluster for a highly-pinnable image (if I do say so myself). I got just over 2k impressions, 1 save, and 18 clicks. Definitely not worth it!
My analytics for impressions (above) and link clicks (below). You can see 50% drop right before October 30.
Is Tailwind Still Worth It?
For those who don’t know, Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler. It also offers “communities,” where you can share your pins to be reshared by others in your niche (you usually need to reshare 1-2 other pins for every pin you add to the community).
I’ve been using Tailwind since January 2020, and I like that I’m able to schedule one pin to several boards with a specific amount of time between each repin. (This is not the case for the native Pinterest scheduler, which only lets you schedule to one board at a time).
The communities also help boost your pin stats. Since the latest glitch, I’ve had a few pins pick up and actually get impressions, clicks, and saves, and I think it’s largely due to Tailwind Communities. When your pins are pinned by unaffected accounts, they tend to perform better.
If you haven’t joined Tailwind already, it doesn’t hurt to test it out. To be completely transparent, I have a referral link that will give you a free month and $15 off if you decide to sign up for the paid plan. If the free month doesn’t help you, you can just stop using Tailwind. People have been reporting lower impressions from scheduled Tailwind pins, so I would recommend testing out the communities only for now.
I’m personally not sure if I’m going to be renewing my annual plan in January. I don’t love the idea of tracking my repins manually, so I’m likely going to continue, unless Pinterest decides that we should only save each pin once.
UPDATE: As of late January 2021, I canceled my Tailwind subscription since my Pinterest stats have not recovered. While Tailwind Communities were boosting my pin stats, I didn’t want to spend more money on Pinterest when it was not producing results. I am not consistently posting pins anymore as it doesn’t seem worth my time.
Anything can happen at this point, and it does seem that Pinterest is a little out of touch with the reality of being a creator. We don’t spend time creating pretty graphics to share them only once! We also can’t spend all day creating graphics and new blog content to be linked to those graphics.
At the end of the day, the goal of any social platform is to make money. The way they do that is to get us to spend more time on the platform. Pins that link out to blogs take users away from Pinterest, so it’s possible that they are trying to cap this activity. In fact, story pins (which don’t have external links) are apparently doing quite well.
Is this a short-term glitch? Or will Pinterest become irrelevant for bloggers? It’s unclear. In the meantime, I’d recommend diversifying your traffic sources. SEO is a little more consistent, and TikTok is also supposed to be the next biggest thing. No one platform is completely reliable; branching out will save you from losing major traffic when issues arise.
If you’re experiencing issues with impressions, you’re definitely not alone. If you’re comfortable sharing, let’s start a discussion in the comments to see if we can help each other out (or at least complain together haha).
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I love this post! Thanks so much for making it so detailed with a few tricks I hadn’t tried yet (pinning to only one board, using story and video pins, unclaiming and reclaiming one’s site). As you know, I’m getting quite frustrated with Pinterest myself.
To be honest, when the first issue started, my own impressions actually went up, and I thought it was because other people were using Tailwind too much. But then the third one hit me too which just shows that even accounts who are fine now could be dealing with other issues in the future.
Pinterest was a decent source of traffic for me in the past, but I’m going to concentrate on other things for now. I think if they don’t fix these issues they’ll become irrelevant eventually. Since you even tried an ad which didn’t really work it just doesn’t seem worth spending time on Pinterest.
I might try those new suggestions though.
So glad it could be helpful! I totally understand your frustration. I agree that Pinterest will eventually become irrelevant if it can’t step up its game. Let me know how things turn out if you try any of those “tricks”!
I came across this post in my daily searches for something that can help me get my Pinterest account back to what it used to be. Since the start of these issues, I’ve already lost two accounts to zero impressions and, while it was tough, I still had a main account paying my bills. Well, since october 14th, the same thing happened to that account. Support says there was an issue and that it was fixed. They keep assuring me my account will get back to normal, but so far, two months later and I’m still getting about 400 people visiting my site when I used to have 12k every day. It’s Christmas, my best time of the year and my heart is broken, quite frankly. If I knew things would indeed get better, I would be hopeful but honestly I think this account will just end up like the previous two and all the work I did over the past few years will just go to waste.
Thank you for the information and tips, it’s good to know we’re not alone in this.
Hi Sandy, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve also been impacted. That is a huge drop, and it must be so disheartening and stressful when it directly impacts your income. I hope things will get fixed for you soon, but I’m also a little concerned that they won’t fix things. I’m trying to pivot to other ways of getting traffic in the meantime. I hope that your site can recover traffic, with or without Pinterest!
What a great article, this is the best and most honest Pinterest article I have read so far. Thanks
I’m having similar issues. Pinterest takes so much time, and it’s not really worth it if it doesn’t translate into traffic. I’m a new blogger and Pinterest is virtually the only source of my traffic other than a handful of organic searches every week. I started a new pinning strategy a couple weeks ago, so we’ll see how that works. My fresh pins are not doing well though.
I am experiencing something similar, but slightly different.
The drop in traffic is VERY noticeable in my case too. A new pin with a good photo will get about 1-4k impressions initially. Not many clicks, but then die out immediately.
Other folks might pin it to their boards. Nothing. I think part of my drop is due to some of the Group Boards dying out or getting penalized, but not sure.
Still hoping for a recovery, but if nothing changes may have to stop spending so much time on Pinterest.
Nice to know I am not alone on the Pinterest struggle bus! My traffic started tanking in mid July of 2020 and it’s been a literal rollercoaster ever since, having spikes and then big dips. I am trying a new strategy for the month of February and if this doesn’t work I am going to scale back. It’s frustrating and takes a lot of time and energy. I am working on SEO in the meantime.
Hi, this is such an interesting read. I’m using Pinterest for business, well, I’ve dangled my foot a few times and albeit I’m no expert, most of my pins have around 10 -50 impressions! Yes a measly 10! They have good titles, descriptions (with keywords organically included) I even throw in a few hashtags at the end.
Nothing, nuddah. It seems these days all the big social media giants are holding us to randsom, the biggest companies with highest ad budgets are priotised and there is no room for the average Joe to become successful in business or gain organic exposure like they could previously, it appears that Pinterest is going the same corrupt way….such an unfair playing field, complete waste of time!
Thank you so much for writing about this. It’s a bit of a relief to know that this isn’t an isolated issue for just a few Pinterest users. My Pinterest account, I think, is one of the worst impacted accounts. Last October 2020, I was getting 1.4 million views a month and up to 2k monthly clicks to my website. I would also get around 1k – 40k impressions within a 12 hour time period for my fresh pins. However, by November, my views began plummeting drastically, and impressions on my fresh pins within the same time period were only in single or double digits. I started losing a lot of Pinterest traffic to my site as well. I contacted Pinterest twice about this, even asked them if they might have accidentally flagged my pins, Pinterest account, or my website as spam. To my everlasting disappointment and frustration, they took a very long time to respond, and when they finally did, they gave me useless, generic replies about regular fluctuations in traffic depending on the season, changing user behavior, etc. Unbelievable, of course, but what else can you do? I took a month off from Pinterest, then when I returned, I started pinning like never before. I created hundreds of pins per month, posted daily, all in the hopes of recovering my usual stats. It’s not working, unfortunately. It’s been three months now, and it’s actually gotten worse. My pins are locked into getting only single-digit views, and I’m no longer getting more than a hundred visitors to my site per month. I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m still a very small and growing site, and I was counting on Pinterest to help me grow fast. Should I delete my current Pinterest account and just start a new one? Or should I completely abandon Pinterest? It used to be so good before. I don’t know what happened. It’s very exhausting and frustrating creating hundreds of pins per month, and dedicating my weekends just for that, only for them to not get any views, much less clicks. A lot of potentially profitable traffic has been lost already, not to mention my time and effort.
I feel your pain so much! I had 500,000 monthly views. I was paying an assistant to help with pinterest. Over the last 6 weeks the views have dropped to under 1,000! I’ve emailed support with no response. This is just heartbreaking.
Wondering if you decided to start over and how that worked for getting the same username and claiming the same website? Thinking about starting over.
I didn’t try to start over, though I have heard that others have. It felt like way too much work for something that wasn’t guaranteed to succeed.
Thank God I’m not the only one, but I’m sorry this hit you too!
On Jan 21/21 my stats plummeted 94% and still have not recovered 3 months later.
5 emails to Pinterest later, they keep giving me the ‘ebbs & flows’ spiel. Come on!
They said there is no spam filter and gave me the suggestions you posted above – which don’t work.
Also…. when you try to respond to their canned response, if you don’t email back within 1-2 hours, your email doesn’t go through to them as they consider the case closed!
Experiencing the same thing. Went from 10+ million k monthly viewers on Pinterest (different from website visitor), to just below 900k per month. Over 90% of my engagement vanished. Such a shame. I hope this will resolve itself or someone comes up with a fix sooner than later.
Thanks so much for breaking this down. I wish I’d seen your post before I paid for a year of Tailwind last month (Sept. 2021). My pinterest engagement has absolutely tanked since I started using it – in fact, my engagement was at its highest in July, when I did almost no pinning. Go figure.
I appreciate you sharing your experience and perceptions! And totally agree that it’s very out of touch for Pinterest to expect a constant stream of ‘fresh’ pins….I’m a blogger, not a pin creator, haha.
Aw man, so sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing Pinterest problems too! I haven’t been on there in months now, but I hope things turn around for bloggers soon, as Pinterest is definitely losing a lot of creators.
I just saw your post and everything you said applies to me. I will be cancelling my tailwind subscription as I am getting no results. I am so frustrated with Pinterest. My niche is not really conducive to TikTok so my only real option is SEO which is difficult. Thanks for all of your tips I have tried contacting support with no response. I am ready to trow my hands up.
Hey dear! can’t thank you enough for your post! was facing the same situation for 3 weeks couldn’t figure to out. critical drop…like almost next to zero from 2.6 million viewers. Contacted Pinterest support team. fingers crossed. xoxoxo
Wow, I see I’m not alone here. I haven’t added a new pin since last year and yet my traffic was rolling in like crazy. All of a sudden the first week of December I lost almost all my traffic from Pinterest. So I can definitely say that adding new pins, as pinterest support tells us to do, has nothing to do with traffic.
Thanks for this wonderful article I really appreciate it it makes me feel a little better that I’m not the only one and now I guess I’ll have to find other ways to increase traffic to my site.
Hey, have things changed with Pinterest in 2022?
I don’t know! I stopped using Pinterest because of the issues.
I am so happy to find this post, though i am begginer in blogging.I was so excited when traffic from pinterest came to my blog, but then, suddenly, they erased it.Wow.I wite them, just to ask, but i asume they will answer generic.I think they will loose with that politic, but they dont care…just..