Believe it or not, some people complain about the traffic that comes to their site from Pinterest. They complain that it’s not the “right” kind of traffic because it has a high bounce rate when they look at their analytics.
Not sure what bounce rate is? Google defines bounce rate as “the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site.” In other words, someone lands on your site and then leaves without clicking to visit another part of your site. The higher the percentage, the more people that come to your site aren’t going beyond that page.
Many site owners see a high bounce rate as a very negative thing. They want people to stay on there site longer to consume more content such as blog posts or to perform some sort of action like purchasing a product or signing up for an email list.
Let’s take a look at the way people use Pinterest which could reveal some of the reasons why traffic from Pinterest might be associated with a high bounce rate.
Whether using Pinterest for your business or for personal use it is always a best practice when repinning to verify that the pin links to the original source of the image before pinning it to your board. For a business account it wouldn’t be wise to pin something that lead your followers to a broken link or worse, to a spam site.
Checking the link only takes a few second per pin. Simply click on the pin and once the site loads, scan and verify that it is the source of the image and appears to be a site worth sharing with your followers. If it is, go back to Pinterest and repin it to your board.
Verifying the link only took a few seconds and for the owner of that site it only counts as one, very brief, page visit. This leads to a high bounce rate. However, this quick visit might not be a bad thing. Here’s an example and a are a few reasons why:
I come across a pin that links to an article about the SEO of Pinterest. I check the link, it links to the source and after a quick glance it looks like the article has some useful information that could be helpful to my followers. I pin it to my Pinterest tips and news board. In a matter of seconds I visited the site and left after only glancing at one page. For the site owner, this means a high bounce rate.
Why this isn’t so bad:
Pinterest is an amazing tool for discovery. It’s not uncommon for users of Pinterest to come across pins that link them to things or information that they didn’t know they wanted or needed. But when they do, they pin it for future reference.
As in the example before, people verify the link by quickly checking out the site before pinning it. In the case of product images, sometimes people want to have a link to a site where they can purchase it from or to check out pricing and availability. Once verified they can pin it to their board and come back to it when they’re ready to make a purchase. When that time comes, they might even purchase more products.
It’s difficult to visit Pinterest and not be tempted by all of amazing images of food. One of the most popular categories on Pinterest is food and drink. Often, after verifying the link, people will pin recipes for future use.
While some of the traffic that comes from Pinterest is to verify the link, all is not lost. There are some things you can do to encourage those hasty visitors to stay and look around a bit.
For some sites the bounce rate from Pinterest may be higher than visitors from other sites but it might not be a completely negative thing. Have you noticed a high bounce rate form Pinterest traffic? Have you done anything to try to lower it?
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Yes, I have noticed a higher bounce rate, but I completely agree the social culture on Pinterest is different from other platforms. When testing out a "Pin it to Win it" contest to drive opt-ins to my newsletter, most of the people pinning opt-in at a later time. They may be using their Pinterest app on their phone and coming back later on to opt-in when they are going through their email in-box. Great Pinterest insight, as always, Cynthtia!
Thanks Laura! Hadn't thought about the difference it would make for opt-ins come ing from the mobile app.
Hi Cynthia, I'm here via Pinterest and I'll check out another article here so I don't negatively affect your bounce rate.
Until I just read this, I hadn't looked at my bounce rate from Pinterest, but sure enough, it's higher than average. Pinterest is my number 2 source of referral traffic, after StumbleUpon, but has a higher bounce rate than SU (nearly 3x as high).
However, Pinterest also has brought me more email subscribers than any other source so even though my Pinterest audience might not bounce around my site so much, at least they're more likely to come back some day!
Wow Carolyn, 3x higher than SU! That is a big difference but overall it sounds like Pinterest is more valuable since you get more email subscribers. I'll have to bring this up in an upcoming podcast episode or blog post for sure! Thanks so much for letting me know and for the extra click :)
my pinterest bounce rate is 83%. much higher than all my other referral traffic. It is however ranked the 2nd highest for referrals. How are you getting individuals to opt-in Carolyn Nicander Mohr
Thanks for this article. It makes complete sense and now seems quite obvious because I quickly verify sites before pinning all the time. I just hadn't thought of it the other way around, i.e. people checking out my site before pinning. Thanks again.
My pleasure Jeanette! Thank you for stopping by.
I have been feeling pretty down about my pinterest bounces and bad duration times, but this gave me a little hope. Thanks for the insight.
My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by :)
How do I see my bounce rate?
Google Analytics is the method I use.
Hi Cynthia, it's reassuring to see that everyone has the higher bounce rate with Pinterest. And the reasons you give do make sense from the visitor's viewpoint. However, we work away at social media to get people to engage with and share our web content, in the hope that it gives a positive quality content indicator to the search engines. So if this referral traffic does naturally have a higher bounce rate, especially with Pinterest, is this being taken into account by the search engines? I'd like to know how they gauge this as Google Analytics lumps the bounce rates together from all sources. A significant amount of traffic from Pinterest (for some of my clients this is the second biggest referral for website traffic) can have a negative impact on the overall bounce rate average.
Knowing how the higher Pinterest bounce rate impacts search results would be really good to know. Unfortunately only Google and the other search engines know and they really haven't said anything about it. I'm glad to hear that Pinterest is bringing traffic to your clients' websites. I think what's most important is to try to optimize the site in a way that keeps visitors engaged.
Best of luck and thanks a bunch for the question :)