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Using Pinterest to Drive Traffic to Your Site in 2021

If Pinterest were a country, it would have a larger population than the United States.

 

We’re talking ACTIVE USERS — the ones who use Pinterest at least once a month (and probably a lot more).

 

How about this stat? 45% of Americans with a household income over $100K use Pinterest.

 

OK, one more: 80% of weekly users have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest.

 

(and don’t just take my word for it… it’s straight from the horse’s mouth.) 

 

Now let’s put that all together:

 

Nearly half of a US-sized upper-middle class population finds new brands and products on Pinterest.

The Search Engine Shopping Center 

 

The moment you see Pinterest as a powerful search engine that caters to shoppers, things start to click.

 

Oooh, I gots me some good ideas now…

 

What could be easier for shoppers than to search for something and buy it immediately — without ever leaving the search engine?

 

In fact, more than 25% of people’s time on Pinterest is spent shopping 🛍  …more than any other social network!

 

Plus, half of Pinterest users are outside of the US, which means you have access to a wider international audience. 

 

According to Pinterest, in 2021, there are now more than 5 billion searches on the site every month, which is a 150% increase from five years ago. Plus, product searches have been growing more than 20x YoY.

 

This isn’t just text-based search, either, Johnny… 

 

Pinterest has been innovating like mad to change the way people discover images and videos. They have developed their own computer vision-powered visual search, in which you can select a small part of a pin to do a search from. Plus they use Related Pins, topical Guided Search, and something called Lens that launched in 2017. With Lens, you can point your camera at (or choose a photo of) anything you like, and Pinterest will show you related items.

 

Kinda’ creepy taking pictures of others like that, no?

 

Pinterest is doing an excellent job at helping users find exactly what they want. It’s your job to make sure your pins are showing up in these searches. 

 

Then they can get discovered by people with money who are actively searching for things to buy.

 

Say you sell gift baskets out of your home, and you’re selling them directly on Pinterest through their “Buyable Pins”. 

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if your pins appeared at the top when someone searched for gift baskets? I bet it would 😉

 

Let’s see how we can help you do that, shall we?

 

Keep reading and we’ll show you:

  • The two most engaging pin formats
  • The best types of content to focus on
  • How to create pins that drive traffic to your site

 

One more thing before we move forward — you’ll want to convert your Pinterest page into a Business Account. That way, you’ll have access to useful features like analytics and bulk pinning.

 

The Two Most Engaging Pin Formats 📌

Aside from your standard image pins and the odd carousel Pin, here are the two post formats you should be giving more attention:

 

Video Pins

Video is the king of modern-day marketing. It’s always an excellent tool in any social media strategy. You can get really creative with how you use video pins to grab people’s attention and keep them engaged. 

 

Even if you don’t want to show your face on screen, there are different ways to incorporate video pins into your Pinterest marketing strategy. Try pointing a camera down onto a table top where you show just your hands doing something. Or point your camera at something of interest while you tell a story from behind the camera.

 

I’m drooling while writing this…

 

Make sure your videos are engaging and grab the viewer’s attention right away. Otherwise, people will just scroll right on by. You can also overlay text onto the video to make it more interesting, and to accommodate people who have their sound off. Overlaying text, gifs, and stickers onto videos is a good idea too.

 

Although Video Pins can be up to 15 minutes long, Pinterest recommends videos between 6–15 seconds.

 

Why use Video Pins?

We all love watching videos. I hear they’re worth a million words — or something. They’re an excellent way to show your product in action or tell your brand story.

 

Every social network wants to maximize eyeball time on their platform, and that’s why Video Pins are aggressively promoted by Pinterest.

 

What can you use them for:

  • Quick and snappy product demos
  • Behind-the-scenes features
  • Step-by-step guides
  • Mini-series about your brand or products

 

Best Practices:

  • Grab attention in the first few seconds 
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Add text overlay for additional context and people who have sound off
  • Use clear titles, descriptions, and hashtags for SEO
  • Shoot vertical video when possible — most users are on mobile
  • Know the specs

 

Idea Pins

Unlike other post formats, feature-rich Idea Pins allow you to add more depth to your content. You can incorporate up to 20 pages of video, image, voiceover, music, transitions, text, stickers, tags, and links into a single Pin. There’s also a neat “details page” you can use to include ingredients or instructions.

 

 

Wish I could draw dotted lines with my fingers 😮

 

They work kind of like Instagram and Facebook stories, so you can have a lot of fun with them. The main differences are that anyone can save Idea Pins to boards, and each of the pages can be up to 60 seconds long! 

 

Pinterest WANTS people to save them, comment on them, and like them, just like any other pin format.

 

Pinterest also provides a suite of editing and publishing tools with video-first features, plus updated analytics with added metrics. You can save multiple drafts for when you have a flow of ideas, and you have export options for sharing them outside of Pinterest.

 

Why use Idea Pins?

Simply put, Idea Pins are more engaging and actionable. In one month, Pinterest saw 9 times the average comment rate on Idea Pins compared to standard Pins. They appear right at the top of the home feed, so your followers won’t miss them. Plus, Pinterest wants your Ideas Pins to be discovered by non-followers. So posting them regularly will get you noticed even more!

 

Done well, this new feature can help you gain followers, strengthen your brand image, and drive more traffic to your site 💪

 

 

I carry these two phones around with me just so I can see more Idea Pins.

 

What can you use them for?

  • Showing the real person behind the brand
  • Showcasing a collection of products
  • Showing your expertise on something
  • Step-by-step tutorial
  • Answering customer questions

 

Best Practices:

  • Tell a story
  • Use an attractive cover image
  • Use clear titles, descriptions, and hashtags for SEO
  • Use up to 10 tags to help Pinterest distribute your work
  • Include a call to action multiple times (without sounding spammy)
  • Shoot vertical video when possible
  • Know the specs

 

But Where Should I Focus My Efforts? 🤔

Don’t be spreading yourself too thin, now. You gotta’ lay that jam on nice and thick where it’s needed the most.

 

…mmmmm jam…

 

Fresh Pins

For Pinterest, a “fresh Pin” is any pin with a unique image or video. It doesn’t matter if you have multiple pins pointing to the same page or blog post. In fact, having multiple pins to the same URL only helps improve your SEO, drive more traffic, and reach different types of people.

 

You could have 4, 5, or 6 images pointing to each post, but you could also have 20 or 30 — there is no limit!

 

To reduce your workload, it’s best to use some kind of design template. If you’re an Adobe user, then you probably know that Photoshop and Illustrator work well for this. However, Canva is a great user-friendly design tool, and it comes with a buttload of free Pinterest pin templates

 

All you have to do is vary the text and images slightly. Also, try writing a couple headlines for each post to cut down on the unique designs you need to create.

 

Producing multiple pins with different layouts and headlines does something else for you too. It allows you to reach different types of people who are attracted to different types of aesthetics and phrasings. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to see which pins perform better than others — kind of like A/B testing your Pins!

 

 

I have no witty caption here… Mr. Perez says it all.

 

The Shop Tab

If you sell things, then get a Shop tab on your page — stat! This feature was introduced in April of 2020 and adds one more way for your products to be seen.

 

This tab gives pinners a dedicated area that makes it WAY easier to browse and shop in-stock products 🛍  and a Shop tab even appears in searches! This means driving more sales and more traffic to your site.

 

 

Hey, got any of dem Chuck Taylors?

 

What’s more, Pinterest also has a Verified Merchant program, so you may be able to get a blue checkmark on your page to show your credibility.

 

You may be asking:

“But how can I compete with the big brands selling on Pinterest?”

 

Well, my friend… you don’t have to, since 97% of the top Pinterest searches are unbranded. That means pinners are searching for generic keywords, not brand names. Yup yup… sellers of all sizes get the same opportunities to be seen and sell products on Pinterest 🤩

 

To get the Shop tab:

  1. Create a business account
  2. Add a data source
  3. Create product groups

 

After that, you can choose which product groups to feature on your profile.

 

Trending Content

Creating content and pins related to trending ideas can give your brand a nice engagement boost. It could also allow you to be seen by a new audience 👀

 

I’m not talking about becoming a meme-creator. That’s WAY too hard. I mean… the chances of jumping on the right trend at exactly the right time and creating a hilarious viral post is pretty slim. And then doing that consistently?! Forget about it.

 

Unless you’re reeeeeeeally good at that… just don’t do it. It’s a total time suck. And you could just end up spouting corny, tasteless humor or alienating your audience.

 

 

You don’t want to go out like that 😬

 

What I mean by “trending content” is — looking at which keywords are popular (or getting popular) right now. When tons of people are already talking about and searching for your content or products, then you have a MUCH better chance of being seen.

 

How Do I Identify Trending Content? 

 

There are a bunch of places to find trending content. But avoid scrolling endlessly through social media looking for what’s hot. Use one or two of these tools:

 

  • Pinterest Trends – see what people are both searching for and pinning
  • Pinterest Predicts – “A window into the future from the platform where people go to plan it.”
  • Google Trends — see what people around the world are searching for right now
  • Buzzsumo (freemium) – content discovery, research, and trend monitoring

 

 

I wonder if beanie babies are trending 🤔

 

Seasonal Content

This is a low-hanging fruit that can get you a lot of engagement. Themed giveaways, seasonal fashion, summer trip ideas, DIY crafts, holiday recipes… nom nom nom… pinners eat up seasonal content like there’s no tomorrow. 

 

And the best part is — it’s basically trending content that’s way more predictable! You know the exact times these topics will start trending, and you don’t have to do very much research for them… pretty kick-ass if you ask me 😎

 

 

’tis the season…

 

Start pinning this content at least a month or two in advance. Pins need some time to gain traction before they really start ranking. Maybe have a content calendar by your desk or on your computer — make it easy for yourself to start planning ahead of time.

 

Now, I know what you may be thinking…

 

“I’m not a food blogger and I don’t make crafts… how could I possibly create any kind of meaningful and engaging seasonal content?”

 

There are plenty of ways! You just need to know where your audience is at emotionally right now (which means doing some research). Remember, the people in your audience — especially the parents — celebrate holidays and enjoy the seasons just like everyone else. 

 

For example: maybe it’s late October, and we’re gearing up for Halloween season 🍁 This should remind people everywhere that fall has arrived with its colorful leaves and pumpkin-spice lattes!

 

Dive deep into understanding your audience and how might you reach their emotions around these times? Even if you do it in a subtle way… it’ll most likely help more than hurt.

 

One more thing — take a peek at engagement in your analytics, and zoom out. See where the peaks are. It may be worth focusing on the times of year you get more engagement naturally.

 

Consistency

Pinterest has said in the past that pinning consistently over consecutive months is the best way to build a dedicated audience. You can pretty much post as much or as little as you can handle, as long as the frequency is fairly consistent. 

 

Don’t be afraid of pinning too much, either… Tailwind — a Pinterest Marketing Partner — has said most of their successful members pin around 15–25 times a day.

 

Even if you only write blog posts once in a while… pinning consistently will get you more followers and engagement.

 

The Data

The data doesn’t lie. Use Pinterests native analytics to gain insights into your audience —so you’ll know what to serve them more of. You can see the engagements for all of your Pins, how they interact with your content, your best performing pins and boards, video pin stats, and more. 

 

… valuable stuff 

 

You can also use Google Analytics to see which pins your traffic is coming from, and which visitors are turning into paid customers. More than that, it shows how people click around your site and how long they stay on each page, etc. It’s a powerful tool to say the least.

 

👀 Peek at your data around once a month or so to see what’s going on in there. Knowing the numbers may make you want to adjust your content moving forward.

 

 

Creating Image Pins that Drive Clicks 💯 

 

For sooooooo many bloggers, Pinterest is their number one source of traffic. The thing is there are also soooooooooo many pins on this site, and standing out from the rest is a task in itself.

 

And zero people see your Pin, then zero people click it. Simple math…

 

 

He’s not wrong, tho…

 

Pinterest users can and do easily get lost in the sea of stunning visuals. It’s a fast game: you have maybe one second to get someone’s attention when they’re scrolling the feed. So make sure your pins are extraordinarily extraordinary! (Quick shoutout to Roger Hargreaves for that phrase 😉 )

 

Here are a few examples of great eye-catching pins. They’re not cluttered, the headlines are clear and easy to read, there’s nice use of color, and they all show attractive images.

 

 

And here are a few examples of not-so-awesomely-designed pins. It usually comes down to bad imagery, lack of contrast, clashing fonts, nowhere for the eye to focus, shitty headlines, etc. — or a combination of these things.

 

 

If you don’t have any experience in graphic design, then I recommend spending a bit of time learning the fundamentals. Knowing more about layout, graphics, color, and typography will go a long way in helping your images stand out.

 

Optimal Pin Sizes

Always, always, always create vertical pins – they perform best since Pinterest is organized in columns and 85% of Pinners use the mobile app.

 

Here are the optimal dimensions according to Pinterest:

 

  • Standard Pin: 1000 x 1500px (2:3 aspect ratio)
  • Long Pin: 1000 x 2100px (1:2.1 aspect ratio) — longer parts are hidden until the user taps to view the image
  • Videos / Idea Pins: 1080 x 1920px (9:16 aspect ratio)

 

Images

Choose clean and beautiful images that catch the eye and quickly convey what your pin is about. Make sure any photos or graphics you use are related to your topic and free from any copyrights. It’s also best to avoid photos that look overly stock photo-y — the more natural, the better.

 

 

How I feel about corporate stock photos 😐

 

Here are a few great sites where you can grab royalty-free images (and video footage). You can use these at no cost whatsoever, for personal or commercial reasons, even without the need for attribution! 

 

(Of course, supporting these photographers is always nice — why not send them a donation or at least follow them and share their work?)

 

 

Headlines

If you want more clicks and conversions from your pins, then include a clear headline on each one. Image-only and text-only pins are fine once in a while, but they tend to only get saved to boards and shared with friends. It’s the image + headline pins that get the clicks because they tell people what the content is all about. They encourage people to click through.

 

Each headline you write should make people feel like they NEED to click your pin. It should make them salivate while they anticipate reading the content that lies beyond.

 

 

We’re all just animals, after all…

 

This actually starts with your blog post headlines, since some (or most) of your pins will use the exact wording as your blog post title. Always write your article first before diving into a headline brainstorm. And don’t gloss over this stage. Spend a good amount of time coming up with different ideas that play to your audience’s emotions.

 

Headlines can make or break your content. Even with the best article ever, if your headline sucks, then your content simply won’t get read 😔

 

And if you don’t have a headline copywriting hat to put on, then study what goes into writing ones that convert (here’s a good video to start with).

 

Typography

The fonts you use should have enough contrast between them to create interest (e.g. thick and thin, short and tall, serif and sans serif, script and non-script, etc.)

 

Bold sans serif fonts are generally easier to read, especially on smaller screens, but if your main font is a serif, that’s fine too. Your most important words should be large and clear. Shorter, less important words can be smaller, thinner, lowercase, or set in your script font — for example: a, an, the, of, for, some, etc.

 

Ideally, you’ll be using your branded fonts — the ones you use on your website and everywhere else (more about brand style in the next section).

 

Don’t cram in too much text, either. It’s always good to give you text a little breathing room, a.k.a. white space.

 

If this all seems a bit daunting, watch this 6-minute crash course in typography fundamentals. It should be a big help getting to know the different types of fonts and how to use them.

 

 

What design without white space feels like 😬

 

Brand Style

Do you want to look more professional and have people recognize your pins at a glance? When people are scrolling their feed, do you want them to say, “Hey, I know that design… that’s Billy-Bob’s Music Shop!”

 

This is what having a unique and consistent brand style does for you 😎

 

You should always present a cohesive brand — use the same fonts, colors, patterns, textures, icons, elements, etc… on your website, on your social accounts, and of course on any printed marketing materials you give out.

 

Find a way to stand out from the rest. For example, you could use colors that are uncommon in your industry, or use a graphical element or mascot that helps people identify your brand. 

 

Also, your domain name or logo should be on every pin – no exceptions! In the event of a broken link or a bad repost, we’ll always be able to track down your article and find our way back to your blog if your info is on the pin.

 

To save time, I strongly suggest creating templates for your pin designs. All you’ll have to do is simply modify the text and the image without having to start from scratch every time. Remember, Canva has a bunch of free templates to use 🤘

 

Language and Keywords

Always make good use of the pin’s description. Not only should you use your keywords in the description, but you should also tell people what to expect after clicking the pin. (So many people fail at this.) You can include up to 500 characters, and the first 50 characters will appear in people’s feeds — so make those count.

 

Good copywriting skills will help you immensely here.

 

 

When your audience isn’t convinced they should click your pin.

 

Be sure to write like you speak, use the words your target market uses, and grab their attention somehow. Also, format the text using a bit to make it easier to skim: paragraph spacing, bold text, italics, emojis, etc. No need to go overboard — just draw the eye where you want it to go.

 

The key to marketing is providing great value. Try including a great tip or inspirational quote in the description — to encourage them and help them grow!

 

Also, use keywords in your filenames. If your topic is How to Refinish Your Coffee Table, then your file name should be How-to-Refinish-Your-Coffee-Table.png.

 

While we’re on the subject of language and keywords, it’s vital that you have a well-written bio that includes your keywords. It will bring you one step closer to being discovered.

 

Follow What Pinterest Says

Pinterest provides a bunch more great tips on making sure your pins perform well. Check out Pinterest’s Creative Best Practices page.

 

 

Bringing it All Together

 

People are consistently discovering new ideas, products, and brands on Pinterest — and they spend a lot of time shopping around for new things to buy.

 

Pinterest is a powerful visual search engine that helps users find exactly what they want from the platform. It’s up to you to create attractive and SEO-friendly pins, so you can show up in searches and make people actually want to click your pins.

 

Learning the fundamentals of design, typography, and copywriting will allow you to level up your pin creations and conversion rates. And using pre-designed templates will help you prepare more pins in less time.

 

Of course, you should always consider what makes the most sense for your brand and what best speaks to your audience’s emotions.

 

If you want to keep up with Pinterest’s ever-expanding list of features and the social media strategies that ACTUALLY work…

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