Tumblr. Instagram. Vine. The rise of the visual web and the growing popularity of visual communication are among inbound marketing's most prominent trends. Humans are hardwired to respond to pictures, and have been since before the days of hieroglyphics and Paleolithic paintings in caves. We may read long-form content and web features galore, but still, we often find that images reign supreme.
That deep-seated need to see the world in pictures bodes well for brands with visual content to spare, but surfacing it in a sea of image-based content takes a little work. And with its 70 million users, Pinterest seems like a good place to start. What follows are 10 tips for optimizing your Pinterest pins for maximum discoverability, repins, and consumer appeal.
How to Optimize Your Pinterest Pins
1) Use high-quality images.
Many pinners have noted an increase in pin engagement when they pin simple, beautiful, high-quality photography and visuals. I highly recommend investing in this if you're looking to take your Pinterest marketing to the next level -- but you can take baby steps by simply improving the image size and resolution.
Create pins that are high resolution, and ideally more vertically aligned than they are wide -- though if you go too long, you might end up below the fold, which could hurt engagement rates. If you're looking for hard numbers, shoot for pins that are about 736 pixels wide (the expanded pin size), with a minimum width of 300 pixels. If your pins are a little different in dimension (many will be -- don't worry) you'll be alright, but clocking in around these sizes helps your pins look nice in the feed and when expanded.
2) Use rich pins to increase engagement.
Web developers can apply to Pinterest for permission to create Rich Pins -- pins that feature products, movies, articles, recipes, or places. The pins will pull in information like pricing, availability, reviews, and content ratings to make the pins more useful to your target audience.
For instance, did you know that pins with prices -- like the example below from Target -- get 36% more Likes than those without? (Source: Shopify) Or that pins with recipes get 42% more clicks than pins without? (Source: BrandonGaille)
Take advantage of rich pins whenever you can to help make your pins more, well, helpful.
3) Write ridiculously good pin description copy.
I can't use rich pins for my business. Now what? Make your pins better through your description copy.
Pinterest allows for image captions up to 500 characters in length, but there's some evidence that 200 character descriptions are most likely to be repinned. Use this space to describe what's featured in the pin, but be succinct. Provide helpful information that tells the reader 1) what they're looking at, and 2) what they can do with the content that lives behind the pin.
4) Use text overlays to help promote your written content.
If you're using Pinterest to promote blog content, you might have trouble finding ways to encapsulate the actual contents of the post in just a visual and a pin description. After all, even the best stock photos aren't entirely revelatory. Use text overlays to help tell your story and add clarity to pin contents beyond just that description section.
Better than pinning a thousand-word blog post, wouldn't you say?
5) Optimize your pins for search.
Consider relevant keywords and phrases when you upload or repin pins. Remember, you're not just working on improving your visibility in Pinterest's search results -- Google and other search engines will pick up your Pinterest images, too.
Name your image files, description copy, hashtags, and pin names things that accurately reflect the contents of the pin and image. If you're looking for more guidance on how Google likes images to be optimized, check out this post on their blog.
6) Optimize pins for mobile visitors.
This year, you guys, is definitely the year of mobile.
All jokes aside, it actually is (and arguably has been for a couple years already). And Pinterest is no exception. 35% of Pinterest unique visitors are mobile only, and 75% of daily traffic to Pinterest comes through mobile apps. (Source: ExpandedRamblings)
Create pins that will render well on mobile devices. This means first and foremost that you should reduce your image file size (don't worry, these days you can retain high image quality with a reduced size.) If you don't know how to do that yourself, check out the service called JPEGmini.
This also means you'll need to mobile-optimize the post-click content. You'll want to send pinners to a mobile-optimized page on your site, whether that's a landing page, a blog post, or a product page. The easiest way to ensure this'll happen is by having a responsive website. You can learn more about making your site responsive in this post.
7) Pin videos.
A lot of Pinterest marketers don't realize they can actually pin YouTube videos in addition to their regular images. This provides a great opportunity to turn your educational, long-form content into Pinterest-friendly content. You know, that content you have that's really good, just not appropriate for an infographic or a photograph.
8) Include a call-to-action in your pin description.
You use calls-to-action in all the other parts of your marketing -- why not use them in your Pinterest marketing? It's not a good idea just because "it's a best practice," either; pins with CTAs actually have an 80% increase in engagement over pins without CTAs. (Source: BrandonGaille)
Think of it just like your meta description or any other CTA copy -- you should use actionable language that conveys to a reader what to do, and why they should do it.
Optimizing your Pinterest pins will help potential customers find you, but it will also establish you as a business worth following. Once your target audience knows they can rely on you for consistently good content, they'll come back to your pins again and again.
What else do you do to take your Pinterest pins from basic to big league?
Originally published Apr 23, 2014 3:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017