Pinterest Algorithm Changes • How Do They Affect You?

Pinterest News Flash!

February 8, 2016


If you are a seasoned pinner, you may have noticed a significant drop in traffic originating from Pinterest since the beginning of February. It’s not you. You are not imaging it or doing something wrong. Bloggers in Facebook groups everywhere are voicing their frustrations.


Pinterest has changed its algorithm and the best we can surmise is that it has to do with group boards. This isn’t the first time that group boards have been on the chopping block. Back in December 2014, group boards’ effectiveness was also attacked. Over the past year, it seemed like it floated slowly back in favor of them.


The algorithm is a secret more guarded than the Mona Lisa.


What does this mean to you? Well, that means that you no longer can count on large group boards carrying your pin to the masses. More than ever, building your following and own personal boards is critical for success. Continue to curate and share great pins that your followers will enjoy and want to share.


Obviously, this will take you longer to generate traffic from your own pins. But it still can be done.


Algorithms change for a reason. When an algorithm is perceived as “figured out” and that a large group of people are manipulating it, a change is made. I have a feeling that bloggers and online marketers are directly responsible whenever a change is made to an algorithm on any social media platform. Social media is meant to connect and share content people want to share naturally.


Of course, money also plays a part. We have seen it increasing difficult to get our fan pages’ posts on Facebook to reach our own followers without having to shell out money. As of today, only pinners in the US can promote pins on Pinterest. I anticipate an expansion of that program very soon.

Can a blogger get a break here please! Every time it seems you have something figured out, it changes. It is almost impossible to keep up. How do the latest Pinterest algorithm changes affect you?

What can you do? You must actually spend time on Pinterest, sharing from your feed, curating great content onto your personal boards and connecting with other pinners.  Remember it IS “social” media. If you continue to spam only your own pins, or only pins from share threads you participate in, drop the pins in and leave, you will never be successful. As well, if you do use a scheduler, I use Board Booster, you still must actively participate on the Pinterest platform itself.


Does this mean group boards are useless now? No, it does not. If you can successfully teach Pinterest that all of your pins are gold, you should still see success using group boards. Again, if your only pinning strategy is to pin your own personal pins to group boards and leave, I dare say, your pins are probably not going to be pushed as easily into pinners feeds as they had been. It is imperative that you implement a strong pinning strategy to be able to take advantage of the followers of group boards you do not host yourself.


I host group boards. What should I do?  I have not been able to verify any of my findings yet but I have a very strong suspicion that some groups boards have grown far too large both in number of collaborators and number of pins. Particularly in duplication of pins on the same board. It is the large boards that I have noticed most of the substantial drops of re-pins. Moving forward, my strategy will be too monitor my personal group boards more closely so that all who participate benefit mutually. This will include only inviting active community pinners and keeping an eye on duplication and spamming.


Of course, this is just my advice from my own observations and testing. Absolutely no one, NO ONE, can tell you a definitive way to win on Pinterest or any social media platform, including Google. They can only put forth theories from their own trial and error analysis.


So, as you hurriedly read posts out there about how to use Pinterest, keep the above in mind. Other bloggers and social media managers can only share their best guess at how the algorithm works. This also means that you must check dates of posts. What worked 2 weeks ago, may not work any more.


Have no fear. Do not give up. Stay on track. Use Pinterest as it was meant to be used, and you will see results. Stop expecting your numbers to skyrocket over night and be happy with a steady climb. Rome was not built-in a day.


If you have come across this post six months from now, the above information is still of value to you. Understand that algorithms, such as Pinterest, Facebook and Google, will always change in favor of user experience and people finding great content. As a blogger or marketer, your view of what that is, is slightly skewed towards your own personal interests. The benefit will always be for the average reader. None of the platforms want their algorithms being abused to change the experience meant to be had. If you use the platforms for their intended use, you should still be able to use it for generating blog traffic. Always keep in mind, it is about your followers and what value you provide them.
If you are a total newbie or wanting to break into Pinterest for the first time, I hope I haven’t discouraged you. These posts are a good place to start. I take you through step by step how to set up your profile. Having an awesome looking profile will never be to your dis-advantage.

Please also check out Kate Cook’s post on Outsmarting the Pinterest algorithm.

Good luck and happy pinning.

elena signature


29 thoughts on “Pinterest Algorithm Changes • How Do They Affect You?

  1. Thanks for the tips! I am pretty new to group boards and how to effectively use them, and just as I have it figured out, time for a change! Isn’t social media a weird, wacky, frustrating, but wonderful digital landscape? It’s like the Wild West! Except, you know…with keyboards and ROI and SEO instead of six-shooters and saloons.


  2. Algorithm changes make the product better and cleaner. Loved reading your post and as you said correctly now we need to put some time on Pinterest and have to share and pin socially with other Pinterest users.


  3. Its all very interesting… I wonder if there is a work around by pinning different pins (with only minor changes) that link to the same page to different boards. More work but maybe better results.


  4. Hi Elena! I just wanted to let you know that I loved this post of yours and I included a shout out to you and your blog in my latest post. I came up with a few additional Pinterest hacks to get around this pesky algorithm too which you may find helpful. Thanks for this great write up!


  5. This is probably common sense to everyone here, but I believe the one and only sure fire way to get your pins to go viral, quickly increase your followers and (loop goes on) is to get those huge accounts to re-pin your material, thrusting it out there in front of thousands of users, they re-pin it, etc. (again the loop). I’ve a feeling how this is how some accounts are able to expand so rapidly. Doesn’t seem quite fair…😦

    Question is, how to do that?


  6. Hi Elena, just interested (and trying to learn) – your comment about don’t just pin from threads….why doesn’t this work as aren’t they are good example of pinning other people’s content ?


    1. You may pin from threads and yes that certainly does count as sharing content, however, you need to spend time on the Pinterest platform as well pinning from your feed.


  7. “I have a feeling that bloggers and online marketers are directly responsible whenever a change is made to an algorithm” – So true !

    I’m usually a happy camper when it comes to all of this. In reality, it’ll only make it harder for junk to trend and as an outcome the good will float up top. Their goal is to always bring the user the best pin that is possible.

    Bottom line – if you’re not creating junk and actually putting effort in your work you should be happy from all of this.


  8. I’m so tired of hearing people say “Pinterest Algorithm has changed” . Pinterest has not confirmed this, they have actually told several people there has not been a change. This post is click bait for bloggers and businesses. If bloggers would stop trying to beat the system, maybe there wouldn’t be so many changes.


  9. Thanks that’s a great article! I particularly appreciate your humble and honest way to explain that one can only “guess” how the algorithm works, anyway, hard work and good content are the key no matter what!


  10. I’m all for making changes that benefit users. But the most recent changes to Pinterest are definitely not beneficial in any way. I use Pinterest mainly as something to enjoy browsing, rather than trying to second-guess how to promote my own web content. My user experience is now appalling: my feed shows me only about 30-50 pins per day, most of which are really old pins, sometimes from years ago. I kept hiding and feeding back that I don’t like promoted or “picked for you” pins so I don’t get those very often, but I don’t get the stuff I’ve chosen to see either! It’s very frustrating to know that there is loads of great content on there, but its so hard to get at! I used to love logging in to see my varied, beautiful and inspirational feed each morning, but now it’s such a disappointment.


  11. Thank you and I love your take on what’s going on. Maybe I just like your view because I agree with it wholeheartedly.🙂 I’ve seen the reduction in group board repins this month. I could see Pinterest going the way of Facebook. Pinterest is a business and, to make money, they need people to pay to promote. They know that bloggers have “figured pinterest out” and these changes give us less of an advantage. And less free exposure. However, the way we were pinning does reduce the user experience seeing the same pins over and over. But, from a selfish perspective it was nice to set up boardbooster and “set it and forget it”. Well, I had just started to move my focus from group boards back to my own profile. Guess I better button down and get working on that!🙂


    1. Hi Amy!

      You need to discover the other features that Board Booster has! I have reduced my personal pinning greatly but I have increased the number of pins of others that I share and I set that all up through BB. It also makes sure I am not pinning duplicates so my content is always fresh and new. I use pin mover and group manager to eliminate my duplicates as well as pins on my group boards that are doubles. My new follower numbers have actually sky rocketed. Check it out!


  12. I have noticed a huge change in group board activity. I can barely get a repin for “new” material; not repeats. However, I have seen more repins from my own followers on my pins when I post to my own boards. The odd thing is that the home feed is only showing a small amount of “new pins” before you see the previous day’s pins. The “suggested for you” pins are repeated over and over and the “smart feed” cannot decipher what you have already pinned.

    I am disappointed that my home feed does not show all new pins from those I choose to follow. That’s why I spend the time and effort to find like minded people to follow. Instead, I have to scroll through those I am following and glance at their recent pins in order to see new pins.

    I just participated in a very lengthy survey that I received from Pinterest. I hope that more changes are on the way to better serve all of us.


    1. Hi Elaine,
      I used to love my feed on Pinterest. I took great pains to follow people and boards that were of interest to me. It is really disappointing to see all of these suggestions for pins that I have already shared. Huge flaw in my eyes and very frustrating. I hope your survey makes a difference.


  13. From discussions on the facebook groups I’m in, it appears a lot of the algorithm changes have to do with penalizing repetitive content. That’s why group boards are declining. They have a lot more repetitive content on them. If you’re “looping” content with BoardBooster as you mention above, you’re probably hurting yourself and anyone else on the group boards you post to without knowing it. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.:-/

    I think that explanation also might be why people are saying new pins aren’t doing as well and old ones are doing really well all of a sudden. If Pinterest is penalizing repeats, the “credit” is probably going to the early versions of a pin. So the new ones don’t do as well. Or maybe Pinterest is taking longer to analyze new pins to see if they’re repeats before they show them to people? That could explain it too.


    1. Hi Mary!

      Repetitive content is a huge problem on Pinterest. I regularly clean the group boards I own for duplication as well as my own duplicates on boards I pin to. I use the Pin Mover and Group Manager features of Board Booster to do that. I have seen pinners on my group boards have over a 50% duplication rate in 2 weeks. That is just ridiculous. As well, I have really cut down on my pinning to group boards and have seen tremendous growth on my own personal boards since the change. All we can do is try to adjust.


      1. Hi Elena, talking of duplicate content, do you feel having 6-7 small variations of a pin pointing to the same URL could also raise an issue? For instance if we’re talking of a web page that focuses on an iPhone display and we were to dish out 6-7 pins all of which link to the iPhone display URL wouldn’t that be considered as duplicate pins? Just wanted to check this with you. Thanks


  14. So that means that your original advice of joining group boards still stands, right Elena? I look to you as my Professor Pinterest. Thanks for another wonderful post.


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