Why I Delete Pins and When You Shouldn’t

Earlier this year, I got slammed with messages on Facebook about a blogger that said you need to be deleting your pins on Pinterest. People wanted my thoughts on deleting pins and I was tempted to write this post then, but instead answered everyone privately.  Recently this same blogger has posted some Pinterest tips that brought her post on deleting pins back up. Before you decide if deleting pins is something you should try, make sure you read my Pinterest Tips and Tools for Bloggers!

Why I Delete Pins and When You Shouldn't

Yes, I delete some of my pins on Pinterest.  I started deleting pins shortly after I went from pinning for fun to using Pinterest strategically – back in early 2013. I had been on Pinterest for over a year and had pinned a lot of horizontal pins and some really poor images.  I hated seeing zero repins next to them when others on the board had over 100 repins. I was already using Tailwind, so I knew my repin rate for each board & recorded it in my spreadsheet. Yes, I'm a spreadsheet nerd if you haven't figured that out by now. After I started cleaning out pins I didn't like, I noticed my repin rates went up and my new pins were getting more repins than before. After about six months of testing it on my main account, I started trying it on my other blog's (now merged with this one) Pinterest. It worked.  By then, I was managing several other blogger's Pinterest accounts and asked to try it on theirs. It made a huge difference!

I'm picky about my boards and even more so about my client's boards.  I only want to pin things their followers will find useful and that will show up in the search, bringing them traffic which turns into income (job security!) for them. So, I delete pins that our followers don't like.  I'm very methodical about it though.  I would never advise you to delete hundreds of pins or tell you to delete anything under a certain number of repins. Each board has it's own “acceptable” number of repins allowed. For some of my boards, this is as low as 3.  For others, I delete anything with less than 50 repins.

If you want to delete repins, I suggest you start by creating a spreadsheet with all your personal board names and read this entire post first.  You need to know when NOT to delete pins & think of any other times you wouldn't want to delete one. Make a column for the board name, starting repin rate, and extra columns for updates.  On a separate sheet, I keep notes for when I'm rescheduling that board. Figure out about how many repins each pin gets (this will involve some math if you don't use Tailwind) and record that on your spreadsheet. Pick a board to start testing to see how deleting pins works for your account.  I have yet to find an account it doesn't work on, but have heard others say it didn't work for them. You can either start with the one with the lowest repin rate, the highest, or your Best of Board.

Once you've picked a board, go to it & click MOVE PINS at the top.  This will allow you to select up to 50 pins at a time. I'm all about doing things in bulk.  Scroll to the bottom of the board and work your way up.  Don't delete anything with likes or comments.  Make sure to keep a note – either a detailed note or general feel – of the pins you are selecting for deletion.  Once you are done (or hit your 50), scroll back up and hit DELETE.

I belong to a few tribes (bloggers that work together to promote each other) and have a few friends that I like to promote.  I still delete their flopped pins, but when I do I go back in and repin some of their content.  It may be the same post with a different picture or it may be the same pin with an updated description. Sometimes it's a whole new post that I think fits one of my boards better.

When You Shouldn't Delete Pins:

  1. Within a week of pinning it.  Sometimes a pin can take a little time to take off. I actually recommend a month or more, but if you are itching to comb through your boards, do NOT delete anything more recent than a week even if it has zero repins.
  2. If it's a personal board. I have several boards that are just for me, like my Dream House board, Dream Kitchen, and Tattoos I want (but am too chicken to actually get, according to my husband). I don't delete anything from those boards.  Even if my tastes change, it's still fun to look back and see how I've evolved.
  3. If it's a campaign board.  Sometimes, a brand will want you to curate a board as part of a paid campaign.  Unless they put a timeline on it, you should never delete it.  Just like you should never delete a paid post, tweet, or Facebook status.
  4. If you aren't going to use the information that failed pin is giving you. When I delete pins, I do it on a board by board case and pay attention to reasons it may have flopped. Your followers have their own interests, color preferences, and tastes.  Pay attention to what takes off (and pin similar content) and avoid content similar to what flopped.
  5. Rarely delete a board.  Pinners can follow all of your boards or only a few particular boards they are drawn to.  Once you delete a board, you lose all the followers of that specific board.  This isn't a decision you should make lightly as you may delete a follower that faithfully repins your content and brings you traffic.
  6. Never EVER delete a group board.  It's not fair to your followers and it's definitely not fair to the contributors that have worked hard to help you build that board.  Deleting a group board is a great way to find yourself on bloggers' blacklists (and yes, most of us have a list of people we refuse to work with) and is not good Pinterest Etiquette!

Have you tried deleting pins?  How did it work for you and were you strategic about it or did you go a little crazy with the delete button?

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  1. Thanks for the tips and thoughts on the subject. I have tried deleting, but it was too random. Your experience reminds me I need to be more intentional about it. Thanks!

    • I think that is the biggest problem people run in to. Just deleting without using the information to make their Pinterest account better in the long run.

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