By Ana Gotter on 11-Apr-2019 14:28:30
Ever since it made its big boom to the social media marketing scene in 2012, Pinterest has attracted users from all over the world. This social media platform, though, is different: the focus for users isn’t on sharing their own ideas, but instead finding and saving valuable content that’s relevant to their lives.
Pinterest has since continued to rise in popularity, they have a diverse but very enthusiastic audience base, with members who are ready to repin everything from recipes to tips on how to start a business themselves.
Brands can therefore use the platform to share their own content, hoping that it will be valuable enough users will repin it and save it for later, giving them even better reach and hopefully some enhanced brand awareness and more clicks to their site, too. In order to get those repins, though, the subject of the pins has to be perfect, and so does the images themselves.
Getting the image right is important, because Pinterest is a visual-first platform. In this post, we’re going to go over how you can optimise your Pinterest drawings and photographs to create images that are practically guaranteed to get repins in no time.
Popular Types of Pinterest Images
When it comes to images on Pinterest (not videos, which is a whole different topic), there are really two types of images that you’ll see getting results, and one is best for sales while the other may be preferable for sharing content.
These two types of images are photographs and drawings, so let’s take a look at each and how to use them as a tool for your clients in your social media agency.
Pinterest Photographs: Good for Sales
When you browse through Pinterest’s main feed, the type of images that you’ll see most on Pinterest are going to be clear, high-resolution, gorgeous photographs. Since Pinterest is DIY and buying-research heavy, it makes sense that users are typically going to have a preference of seeing exactly what the goods look like up front, whether they’re making them or purchasing them directly.
Photographs, therefore, are great for direct sales. Are you trying to drive site traffic and conversions through your business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce business? This is typically going to be the best way to do it. Though adding drawing or graphic elements like a logo in the corner or text overlay may help your case (and your repin count!), it’s typically going to be best to make sure that the photo itself makes up the majority of the image.
Pinterest Drawings: Good for Content
While photographs are great for sales, drawings, illustrations, and graphics can be exceptionally valuable when you want to share content outright. On Pinterest, this typically takes the form of infographics, but it can also be used to create interesting title images that highlight the value of off-platform content, like this:
That being said, infographics and tutorials are two of the most popular and repinned options when it comes to graphics on the platform. These image types offer immediate value to viewers, giving them information they need right in the image in a condensed, visually appealing way.
This infographic, for example, offers quick information about how often to wash different items in your house, which is something many people would want to save to access when needed.
You can also go for another approach, which this infographic below did by choosing to focus on how-to content through a drawing instead of just fast facts. This is also information that would hopefully be relevant to your target audience and useful enough that they’d want to save it so they could reference back to it at a later time.
How to Create Pin Images That Get Shared & Saved
Both high-resolution photographs and illustrations have the potential to perform exceptionally well on platform and get plenty of repins and clicks. No matter what types of images you choose to create, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that your images will be best received on Pinterest.
Note that these best practices are specific to Pinterest only-- they do not automatically apply to other platforms, and there’s evidence that what users want to see in Pins can be the opposite in some cases of what they want to see on their #Instagood posts, so know that you’ll need to create specialised content just for your pins.
Make it Aesthetically Pleasing
This should go without saying, but if your pin lacks visual appeal, it’s going to lack clicks and repins, too. The image needs to look great, whether it’s featuring an illustration or a stunning photo. Look for simple mistakes, like a low-resolution image, an off-center text overlay, or strange cropping.
This isn’t quite what you want, for example, looking a little off-center and not particularly visually engaging at a first glance:
Infographics and illustrations are, unfortunately, most susceptible to this. Instead of an image like the above, opt for something more like this if you choose to go for a drawing instead of a photograph:
Get the Sizing Right
Ideally, you should be creating pins with an aspect ratio of 2:3, which can translate into 600 x 900 pixels. This format stands out in the feed, and it’s the goldilocks of pins-- not too short, and not too long-- so it’s easy to view all at once while still giving enough information.
If you’re worried about getting the dimensions exactly right, you can use design tools that come with pre-made, pre-sized templates; existing images can be cropped into them as necessary. We’ll look at these in the last section of this blog post.
Use Multiple Dominant Colors
While Instagram users prefer images with a single dominant color, the opposite is true for Pinterest; pinners seem drawn to images with at least two dominant colors, especially if they’re contrasting just enough to draw the eye in and capture their attention in the chaotic feed.
An incredible study by Curalate found that images with dominant colours had 3.25x more repins per image than those that only had a single dominant colour.
And when it comes to colour, consider using bright but warm colours; the same study found that very light and very dark images aren’t repinned as often as those that are bright, and that pins with redder, orange, and brown dominant colours received around twice as many repins as those with blue hues. While this isn’t a strict rule, it’s good to test for yourself and keep in mind when creating the majority of your content.
Get Up Close and Personal
We’re referencing that study from Curalate one more time, here. Unlike most other platforms (and going against the majority of design advice in general), Pinners like to see images that are hyper-zoomed in to what they want to see. This means less whitespace, or less background that’s not a core part of the image.
According to that Curalate study, images that contained less than 30% background space were repinned the post, and repins dropped by around 2-4x for images that had 40% more background space within the pin.
If you’re using the same image you used on other social media to create a pin, keep this in mind; crop it close and according to ideal size dimensions, and you’ll have a better fighting chance of getting more repins as a result.
Make the Value Clear In the Image
Different types of pins will have different value propositions.
If you’re trying to use your pin to make a direct sale, for example, you might want to highlight the materials it’s made from (pure gold! organic!), the value (on sale! only $14!), or how using the product could improve your audience’s life (cook amazing food for cheap!).
If, on the other hand, you have content that you want to try to share on Pinterest, the sell can be a little harder; people may see a picture of that sterling silver ring and go yes I need it, but be confused by what you’re trying to show them in an image where said ring is wrapped in a cleaning cloth.
Text overlay can help to establish value up front, because if users aren’t interested in the pin’s image, they’re typically not going to read the description. The text can explain why users should care, and explain what the pin is about.
Let’s look at an example. You can easily look at the pin below and tell that it’s going to take you to content teaching you how to get rid of those pesky popcorn ceilings. Instant value offer, right?
Now imagine that the text wasn’t there telling you this. All you see is a kitchen (albeit a pretty one), and you may not notice anything out of the ordinary. You might notice the ceiling, but if you do, you may just assume it’s there for style inspiration and not a tutorial. For pins like this, that text overlay is crucial.
Add In Branding
Text overlay can also add a nice perk when it comes to branding, too. As you start to gain momentum on the platform, it’s good to ensure that your branding is, in some form, on those images on Pinterest. Typically a logo and/or brand name at the top or corner of the pins is a good choice.
This not only prevents someone from stealing them and using them on their own content (which happens more than you’d think), but it also ensures that your name and logo are making their way around the platform so you can build up name brand recognition. Most design softwares (which we’ll look at in the last section of this post) give you the option to upload custom logos, giving you flexibility here).
Keep It Faceless
For whatever reason, Pinners just aren’t a fan of pins with human faces in them. As strange as it sounds, be ready to crop of your images at the neckline if you’ve got people in your photos, or to have them facing away from the camera. There’s some science behind this-- pins without faces are actually repinned 23x more often than those with them.
The only exception here is in wedding photography, where brides are looking for poses they may want to replicate on their big day. So if you’re a wedding photographer, you can skip this rule, but everyone else should steer clear of the smiling faces that are known for doing so well on other platforms.
Tools to Create Sharable Pinterest Drawings & Photos
Whether you want to focus your strategy on photographs or graphics and drawings outright, there are tools you can be using to help speed up the process. Even photographs, as we now know, can be made more effective when a small amount of text overlay is added to them.
There are several tools that can help you create perfect pins, and all of the ones we recommend use drag-and-drop technology. You simply upload the picture you want to use as the background for the pin, or start from scratch all together using an infographic template, and then add in design elements like text overlay or your brand logo.
These tools include:
When it comes to Pinterest, you need to have great content if you want to generate real results from the platform, but you’ll never even get those initial clicks or repins if the images aren’t great, too.
Whether you’re relying on Pinterest drawings or photographs to get those repins, remember to always create content with your audience in mind and choose the image format that can best represent whatever the content is you’re trying to promote. As you try out different styles of pin images, you can use your native analytics to keep track of which ones your audience is responding to and get a better idea of what to focus on moving forward.
Interested in learning how to use Pinterest as part of your clients’ social media marketing strategies? Check out our Social Media Marketing Intensive course syllabus and see if it’s right for you!