It’s no secret around here that I have yet to decide on my “pin style.” I have done a lot of experimenting (yeah, we’ll call it that) on the type of pins I create for my blog posts. It’s actually going to prove beneficial for today’s blog post.
I went through one phase where I used creative pictures to convey the message of my article. Take this one, for example. In my head, we were all sitting down in a “Facebook Group” for lemonade. I don’t know, don’t ask. When I saved it to Pinterest on May 12, 2015, I was shocked to see that all the related pins below it were for lemonade or ice tea.
Just a little over a week later, the Pinterest engineering blog announced that they have been building (since January 2014) machine vision: “Discovery on Pinterest is all about finding things you love, even if you don’t know at first what you’re looking for. The Visual Discovery engineering team at Pinterest is tasked with building technology that will help people to continue to do just that, by building technology that understands the objects in a Pin’s image to get an idea of what a Pinner is looking for.”
I promise that I am going to get to the tips for creating pins that show up. First, I want to get a little nerd talk out of the way about Pinterest’s visual recognition tools. Pinterest is one smart cookie. Anyone watch Person of Interest. It kind of reminds me of the Machine. Creepy…
Take note: Pinterest uses many ranking factors. Visual recognition is just one of the first things it can detect. Your titles, descriptions, rich pins and boards that the post go on will all play a major role on how and where your pins show up on Pinterest. For this article, I am only focusing on visual recognition.
Understanding Pinterest’s Visual Search Tools
When you see something on Pinterest that you want to know more about, but just don’t have the right words, you can use Visual Search. In the top right corner of a pin there is a magnifying glass (more commonly known as a search icon now) in a square box. Click it to open up the visual search. You can select the object you’d like to search Pinterest for by changing the size of your selection box.
Pinterest lens is still in beta mode and not released to the general public yet. It sounds exciting, though. Basically, while using the Pinterest app, you will be able to take a picture with your phone camera of something in-real-life, and then Pinterest will show you pins related to your picture.
Shop the Look
Shope the look is also still rolling out. You can check it out in action here. Pinterest is using the object detection from visual search to detect products and then link you to similar pins. As shop the look develops, it will be a great tool for fashion and decor bloggers especially. Tip: make sure you include affiliate links for people to purchase! If they are going to be using the shop the look feature, they already want to buy. Easy commission.
Instant ideas allow you to change what type of pins show up in your feed. By clicking the instant ideas button, Pinterest will feed you pins related to the one you click. They do this with the visual recognition, relevant pin descriptions, and board titles/descriptions.
So what do these features mean for you as a content creator and pinner? Having relevant images for your blog posts can help you be successful on Pinterest.
Relevant Images for Pinterest
“One of the most popular ways people find ideas on Pinterest is through Related Pins” – Pinterest
If you want to show up in related pins, having super relevant images will help increase your chances.
What we can learn from my Facebook lemonade pin, and this broom one and this bouncy ball one is that ambiguous pins aren’t necessarily the best route to go. (Unless you think that it will get you more clicks. Clicks are important too!) Try to include a pin for each post that clearly represents what the post is about. You’ll notice that my recent pins all include some sort of blogging tool (camera, phone, computer, etc) to help my pins relate to blogging.
When you’re photographing your posts, think of the products you are using. Maybe try a cast of characters picture like the Pioneer Woman. With Pinterest View, pinners will be taking pictures of the ingredient and products they want to find ideas on.
My initial hypothesis was that since Pinterest has visual recognition, creating pins with the same colors and fonts would help relate your own pins together. In my head, it makes sense. After analyzing way too many pins, I found this is not necessarily the case. The visual search works by recognizing objects. If you use the visual search to inspect the whole pin, it will usually say it is a poster. If you inspect just the font, it will register as a font or quote. Still, those that had branded pins did usually have 2-3 of their own pins show up as being related pins. There are too many variables to know if this is because all of their pins match or if it’s just because their content is indeed relatable.
More tips for creating great pins
Use text on pins when they need more clarity.
Here’s what Pinterest has to say about text:
“Consider text overlays for clarity Only use text overlay if the image doesn’t give enough context on its own.”
“Text overlays designed for clicks lead people to action. Include information that will help a close-to-deciding Pinner see that your brand or product is a fit. Highlight elements of the Pin that aren’t obvious from the image, like a special feature of a product.”
“You don’t always need a text overlay. But there are times when the image itself isn’t perfectly explanatory…
Use tasteful branding.
“Add tasteful branding. Your brand stands for something, so find a way to incorporate it into your Pin. Tasteful branding conveys credibility and helps people understand what your brand is about. It’s best to include your product or packaging in the image, but sometimes you’ll need to use a watermark logo instead. Don’t overdo your branding: you can choose between a product shot or a logo, but never use both in the same Pin.” Pinterest guides
Choose stock photos carefully
There are a lot of people that make a living selling stock photos, so I don’t want to totally bash them. I use stock photos all the time. Stock photos are super valuable for those of us that aren’t photographers. However, using a stock photo puts you at risk of being grouped with articles that used that exact same image. Take this one for example:
Not to worry, Pinterest is more than just visual
As I mentioned earlier, Pinterest uses more than just visual recognition to serve pins. Descriptions, boards, titles, etc. all play a significant role in how pins are related. Over time my Facebook Group Lemonade picture has shown up in the right searches. As people have pinned it to relevant boards, pins about Facebook groups are now associated with it (There are still a few beverage related pins associated with it, though).
Go experiment with your pins
Head over to your own Pinterest account and inspect a few of your pins. First, what is showing up underneath as being a related pin? Is it on par with your pin or way off base? If it’s off base, how can you fix the title, description, or image itself to be more relateable?
Next, use the visual search tool on the Pin to see what terms your image is being associated with. How is your image doing and how can you improve future pins? If you’re a blog+biz blogger like me, you’ll have a hard time creating images that are visually associated with your image.
Pin this post to your Pinterest or Blogging Tips board.