Publishing is increasingly becoming a game of which publisher can best market its stories on social platforms, typically Facebook and Twitter. But Hearst has experienced an unexpected but much welcomed traffic boost over the past two years from Pinterest.
Hearst’s sites — particularly female-focused ones like Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping and Harper’s Bazaar — see anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of their traffic come from Pinterest, according to Brian Madden, Hearst’s executive director of audience and partnerships. News and entertainment sites saw 2 percent of their referral traffic come from Pinterest, according to a Quantcast study conducted from January 2013 to January 2014. And since referral traffic typically constitutes approximately half of a site’s traffic mix, the difference between Hearst and other sites in terms of Pinterest referrals is wide. To be sure, Pinterest is not yet a top traffic driver, but it is proving effective.
“The exciting thing is that the evergreen content is going to continue doing well,” Madden said. Some stories see a steady stream of Pinterest referrals for up to six months, he said.
Pinterest is in the midst of a morphing from an online scrapping site for women to its vision of being a visual discovery platform along the lines of Google. Its PinIt buttons are in use far and wide across the Web, and the company recently said users have pinned 30 billion items. Clicking on a Pinterest image takes a user to the originating website. While retailers have seen great use in this, Pinterest is actively courting publishers.
For example, Cosmopolitan story “18 Signs You’re With the Man You Should Marry,” which saw a disproportionately high amount of Pinterest referral traffic. It was pinned 2,300 times, nearly four times greater than its number of tweets (800). That number was dwarfed by the astronomical number of Facebook shares (more than 424,000) the listicle received. Cosmopolitan saw its number of Pinterest referrals increase 650 percent year to year, Madden said, and Esquire’s jumped 200 percent, apparently popular with the men on Pinterest crowd.
The referrals were initially not the product of a well-coordinated social media strategy. In fact, Hearst hadn’t even made Pinterest pages for all of its brands when it first noticed that Pinterest might be a good traffic generator. The process was entirely organic in the beginning: Without provocation from Hearst, readers had started pinning images of Hearst stories to their own Pinterest boards, which in turn caused other Pinterest users to click through to Hearst’s websites. All of those pages are updated almost daily.
Half of Hearst’s 20 magazine brands — Country Living, Delish, Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, Redbook, Veranda and Woman’s Day — see more referral traffic from Pinterest than they Twitter, according to Madden. Elle and Harper’s Bazaar have seen their number of Pinterest referrals increase by 200 percent year-over-year, he said.
Madden said that Pinterest is a natural fit for Hearst content because, like many Hearst titles, its a place to for compelling images about beauty, food, health, home decor and style. And unlike with Facebook and Twitter, platforms good for short viral bursts, Pinterest has proven a great way at breathing life into Hearst’s backlog of stories.
Pinterest referral patterns are also helping inform Hearst’s publishing strategies. Madden said that a Country Living slideshow about Halloween craft projects started seeing an influx of Pinterest referrals in August, which was earlier than expected.
But not all Hearst titles feature the kinds of glossy food and home decor photos that do so well on Pinterest.
“It’s more of the service, helpful kind of content,” Madden said. “Celebrity and breaking news, people are getting that elsewhere.
Why rent-to-own brand Aaron’s tapped Mr. T to enhance brand awareness
Rent-to-own retailer Aaron's is looking to boost brand awareness through bilingual TV spots as well as out-of-home and print ads -- all with a little help from Mr. T.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers confront crypto’s bear market
In this week’s Media Briefing, media editor Kayleigh Barber reports on how publishers are adapting their blockchain-related efforts amid crypto's bear market.
Cannes Podcast: Jellyfish CEO Rob Pierre believes in prioritizing platform partners as much as clients
Jellyfish keys on two philosophies – no regions or divisions – and the network treats the major platforms as importantly as it does its clients.
SponsoredFor brands, first-party data is unlocking the cookieless ecosystem
Bill Masterson, President, Publishers Clearing House A dominant factor guiding the industry has been that cookies and mobile app IDs are vanishing and will be replaced by some mixture of new and emergent identity solutions. As a result, the market is alive with new and exciting alternatives to replace the third-party browser cookie and mobile […]
Omnicom wraps its Cannes e-commerce blitz with Kroger Precision Marketing deal
Kroger will feed its stock-on-shelf data sets on a daily basis to the Omni marketing orchestration platform that underpins all Omnicom agencies.
Publishers grapple with younger audiences avoiding the news
People under 35 are avoiding the news. At a Reuters event, publishers discussed ways to address the challenge of reaching young people.