If you’ve been spending time on Pinterest lately, you might have noticed your home feed is looking a bit different. Noticed little text on pins that says “Related Pins?” How about pins from people you don’t actually follow?
Well, that’s because Pinterest changed. And you need to know about it! You can watch the video above for a visual example of how it works or read the transcript below.
Pinterest’s New Smart Feed
Hey bloggers! Welcome to the Build Your Blog Vlog. I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative and every week I answer questions about blogging and share tips to help you achieve your goals through your blog. This week I’m talking about Pinterest.
Pinterest recently enabled a new algorithm on their platform that changes the way your feed works and how your pins appear in your followers’ feeds.
Algorithm? What’s that?
Basically, that’s just a fancy word for a set of rules on how to do something. When we talk about Google and Facebook, we talk about their algorithm that puts some results and posts above others.
Guess what? Pinterest is now on that algorithm bandwagon. Although they introduced Related Pins a while ago, there’s even more going on to the home feed. In fact, Pinterest engineers are now calling it a Smart Feed.
Why Pinterest’s Smart Feed is Awesome for Bloggers
Before you revolt against Pinterest, we should talk a bit first about why this is a good thing.
- It’s meant to serve users better to bring them the best pins for their interests.
- Your pins can now be shown to people who don’t follow you—without paying for it!
- Your fantastic pins have a longer shelf life.
Pinterest used to work that when you pinned something, it appeared in your followers’ streams and eventually became buried by other new pins. It all worked in chronological order. The only way your pin got to other people was if it was repinned by others and one of their followers looked at their stream during the timeframe when it was pinned.
Pinterest was completely dependent on being on the platform at the right time to see the things you wanted in your home feed.
What Changed on Pinterest’s Feed
So here’s where Pinterest has now changed. Instead of showing pins in a fully chronological order, they’re being shown in a relevancy order, like Facebook or Google.
Your pins will show up to your followers and other people who don’t follow you based on how well your content performs. Note that I didn’t say how that pin performs.
Have you ever run into the situation where you pinned a post of yours, someone else repinned it and that pin took off? A lot of that had to do with being pinned at just the right time by just the right person to just the right board.
Guess what, instead of that pin getting all the good Pinterest juice, it’s now your content! Your website link through all those repins is helping boost your content up in feeds and allows it to be a Related pin in feeds of people who don’t follow you. And the more people engage with your content, the better all the pins linking to that content will perform.
That means with great content, you’re going to go even further on Pinterest.
This is a great thing!
How the new Pinterest Smart Feed Works
I bet you’re wondering how to best take advantage of this change, right? Well, I’m not going to cover that today. Instead, I’m going to talk about how the Smart Feed actually functions.
Pinterest actually wrote a post explaining this. But it was written by an engineer. And it uses words like “degradation” and “exploiting the key-based sorting of HBase” and “materialized feed.” Yeah, not so easy to understand if you’re short on time and not an engineer.
If you don’t, you’re lucky! I read it for you. This is how the new Pinterest Smart Feed works.
Pins come from three sources: Repins from people you follow, related pins, and your interests.
Pinterest sends these pins to a thing they’re calling the Smart Feed Worker who then sorts these pins into pools of each type and ranks them by a number of factors.
This is where the algorithm comes in! If your content sucks, it goes to the bottom of the pool’s queue. If it’s awesome, it goes to the top. New pins mix into this pool so they can be shown above older pins or older pins can be shown above new pins.
Next, the Smart Feed Content Generator does its magic. You haven’t visited Pinterest in a while and a bunch of pins were added to the pools and ranked while you were gone. When you sign in and look at your home feed, the Smart Feed Content Generator determines how many pins you need to see, the shape they need to fit into, and the order they’ll be shown in. This creates a group of pins called a chunk. Pins that are used in a chunk are removed from the pools so they’re not repeated again in the future. Basically, you’ll only see a pin once. You can see repins of that article again, but it won’t be the same exact pin.
Finally, the Smart Feed Service takes the chunks of pins and combines them with the pins you saw the last time you logged in. Now, when you scroll down, you’ll eventually get to pins you saw the last time you looked at your home feed.
I hope that helps you understand the new Pinterest Smart Feed!
If this video helped you understand it, please share it.
Till next time, keep blogging!