Your Links On Pinterest May Be Stopping Traffic In Its Tracks

Pinterest has been considered a top traffic driver for many sites, most recently showing its marketing clout by launching Pinterest Web Analytics. But, clicking on an image isn’t the slam-dunk traffic driver as it may seem. And, adding a shortened link to the caption of a pin may be stopping potential traffic in its tracks.

If you spend any time on Pinterest, you’ll know that clicking on a pin only brings you to an image, and as a user, you need to click twice in order to get to the original source. Here at Marketing Land, we’ve been doing some Pinterest testing over the last few weeks, trying out different ways to include URLs in the caption that appears with the pinned image in order to make it easier to get to the original story. We’ve tested using a branded shortened URL (we track all of our social links), as well as using the original long URL.

Marketing Land Pin Using Short URL

Marketing Land Pin Using Long URL

However, when clicking on the shortened URL, we discovered Pinterest sends the user to an intermediate page that states, “Suspicious Link: This link redirects to another site, it may link to spam or other inappropriate content.”

Pinterest suspicious link warning when using shortened URL

On the other hand, posts that did not use a shortened URL linked just fine.

Custom shortened URLs provide tracking, and also look a lot nicer. But according to Pinterest’s Help area, no shorteners or redirects are allowed, including bitly links.

We reached out to Barry Schnitt, Head of Communications and Public Policy at Pinterest and asked why short links incurred a warning. His response:

“1. We want to be able to show users where a pin leads. Unfortunately, doesn’t tell them much.

2. We want to be able to offer users more relevant content from a site (and more distribution for the site) by suggesting other pins from a site. Again, we can do that for but not for

3. Unfortunately, we’ve found that bad guys out there abuse redirects and URL shorteners to send people to malicious sites.”

This makes a lot of sense, but there are other sites using shortened URLs, such as and

CNET and ABC News Sample Pins

Schnitt confirmed that websites that have a branded shortened URL which points to their domain (such as for can, in fact, submit a request to Pinterest Support to be “whitelisted.” We have submitted our request and are waiting to be confirmed.

Whether adding a link to Pinterest posts increases traffic is still to be determined, but if we can directly link to the source in the caption, it makes a lot of sense from a user’s perspective. We’ll have a better idea once we can track the activity.


Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Pinterest | Pinterest: Analytics | Pinterest: Business Use & Advertising | Pinterest: Spam | Pinterest: User Interface | Social Media Marketing


About The Author: Monica Wright has over 15 years of media, content marketing and project management experience, with a strong focus on driving online audiences for media companies. She serves as the the Director of Community for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land, always on the quest to understand how people interact and participate online. She started out her media career back in the grunge days interning at The Boston Phoenix and WFNX talking to listeners, writing artist bios and editing show listings, connecting people with the information they wanted. She still believes that listening and going "where the people are" builds the best audiences, only today, it's mostly online. Based near Portland, Maine, she occasionally blogs about media marketing at, and spends quality time at the dojo. You can find Monica on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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  • Patti Fousek

    I love how you test everything! Great post. I’ve noticed this myself in my own use when clicking on pins. Glad to hear that brands can get white listed on Pinterest. Looking forward to your findings.

  • Monica Wright

    Thanks Patti! It’s not the most scientific approach, but understanding how these things work is half the battle. Haven’t heard back from Pinterest yet but I’ll keep you posted.

  • Mitch Labuda

    Great easy to understand and easy to use info for those of us that want to market ourselves or wares, properly and with the best benefit.

  • Wendy Piersall

    Pinterest was having a lot of problems with spammers hijacking popular pins and redirecting the traffic to their spam sites, so this was a somewhat expected move on their part.

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