With the strong growth of Pinterest, the platform is becoming increasingly competitive. While it is still possible to get quality organic traffic from day one, nowadays you have to strategize more before you will get the results.
Every digital marketer has the matra of keywords, ranking, and backlinks deep in his head. This approach has to shift to be successful on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a visual search engine, and though we can apply many similar strategies as for other search engines, we have to think differently.
In this post, we will go over several points to make sure your pin design is as optimized as possible for clicks.
Create Multiple Pin Designs
As in everything marketing related – testing is the key. For every link that you are trying to promote, create several designs, I go with 5 – 10 depending on the importance of the link.
In many cases, I am surprised which Pin works the best. As the one that just seems a bit off, usually will outperform all others. This can be attributed to many conditions but when you see the same design (that you initially did not like) work again and again – always an interesting experience.
Notice that all the designs are different. From 7 designs on average, 1-2 will be winners that I will keep working with. In the following point, we will go over what makes a winning design.
Make the Pin Stand Out
Ugly right? Well, it works. CTR on this one 14%. What makes it stand out is …that it is ugly. If you put “how to make money on Pinterest” in Pinterest search, you will be greeted by this:
Those are the pins of well-established accounts. For example, the first one belongs to FinSavvyPanda which has over 2mil. monthly views and 18k followers.
Sure, there is nothing bad in getting inspired by pins of others, but it was obvious to me that my (fairly young) account will not be competing for the first page.
To stand out at least a little bit. And it seemed to work. By now you may have noticed a common denominator between all those pins.
Big letters. I would like to get this message over to you – do not be afraid to make big letters and all in all – make the text dominant, if appropriate for the topic.
Choose an appropriate image
In many cases, Pinterest is alchemy. You never know which pin/topic/title/board combination will give you the best results. So you test and test and test until you have the golden formula.
Wondering where to get new images for all of your pins ideas, we got you covered. Here are a few resources where you can use images for free:
You can find their pictures for any occasion. In case you are looking for something specific or just want to have some genuine pictures made for your needs, I suggest going to Fiverr or Upwork. There you can get to choose from a wide array of photo professionals.
As I told in the previous sections, I am all about testing. You start easy, A/B/C titles testing, design but You want to grow so you start testing new things. Some of them do not work, that is one of them.
One of the popular Pinterest searches is “Habits of successful people”. I had many pins with this title and would like to share a testing result. It might seem obvious for some, but better to know it.
After clicking on any of the pins you have, Pinterest will also suggest some “More Like This” pins, for the image above these are the “similar” images:
All is well. The pin is about having money and the similar pins suggested by Pinterest are about money. Budgeting, saving, debt issues.
Here is another pin with the same title:
Similar logic as in a previous pin. But check out the pins that interest suggests:
Macarons recipes, weight loss, desserts, etc.
This means two things:
The title is not clear enough. While in the first example Pinterest clearly understood what the topic is, and provides relevant pins to accompany it, the second one is completely off.
The image is not relevant to the topic. This mistake is at number two, this was caused primarily by the title. (If it wasn’t, why did Pinterest not put “similar pins” of bags, etc?). But retrospectively, the image is not relevant enough to complement the topic.
These two issues caused lower impressions of the pin, not enough repinning, and all that resulted in the low overall clicks.
2. Do Not Overuse Templates
You created 50 designs, 5 seem to work well, so you make a template out of them and just keep re-pinning similar designs again and again.
Do not do it. There are several reasons why you should not go overboard with templates.
Pinterest likes new content and new images. Whenever I load new pins with new designs I can see a bump in the overall impressions, which will slowly fade out as I am re-pinning the same image again and again. Keep it fresh.
Popular Pinterest profiles completely revamp their designs from time to time. Sure, they keep some elements that reflect their branding, but they are constantly trying to come up with something different.
Tools like Canva can help, as they offer you figuratively speaking – an infinite amount of choices and combinations to try for your Pins.
Let’s have a look at one of the more successful profiles on Pinterest of The Savvy Couple:
Notice that while they keep the same branding, the designs are always different. You can see that they share similar features, but from the perspective of Pinterest – these are completely different designs that will get good traction.
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3. Use The Text To Your Advantage
Yes, Pinterest is a search engine that heavily relies on the visual side of things, but that does not mean it ignores the keywords.
First of all, Pinterest reads the keywords that are on the picture, and second (but equally important) users are reading it too.
To get clicks from your Pins you have to get users to do a “Close-up” which means that somebody clicks on your Pin to have a closer look at the description.
- Use several fonts, but no more than 2-3
- Emphasize (in bold, or a dominant font) the main keyword
- Make sure the size of all the text is sufficient so users can read it without problems
The keyword here is Home Business Ideas. So if we would quickly through this example we would see:
- The keyword is on a pin (2 fonts are used, or rather one font but subtitled in cursive).
- Keyword is repeated in the title.
- For the third time the keyword is repeated in the description.
If you will proceed to that particular Pinterest account (with several millions of viewers per month) you will notice that there are many pins like that – meaning that these types of design work.
When matched correctly you can be looking at the following results with some of your pins:
There are not so many impressions, but what is important that the vast majority of the ones who clicked, continued to post on the site – which is the main goal here.
4. Test Your Texts
We talked about testing the designs of your pins, but I would like to also emphasize the importance of testing the texts that you put on them. The goal is to get traffic on your site, so you must test several calls to action.
I recently conducted a small experiment on a post of mine. I compiled a list of over 640 Inspirational quotes, with various categories. Quotes seemed to be a good middle ground between what Pinterest likes and the overall theme of my site.
15 Pins were drafted to test the best angle.
Here are the keywords that were used for testing:
- Inspirational quotes
- Positive Wise Words
- Success Quotes
- Quotes Positive Happiness
- Life Quotes
- Motivational Quotes For Kids
- Motivational Quotes For Life
- Motivational Quotes for Success
- Quotes About Strength
These keywords both matched the content of the post but also most importantly they matched the search queries and trends on Pinterest.
After a couple of days, these were the best performers in terms of Closeups
This means that:
- Inspirational Quotes For Kids
- Inspirational Quotes Positive Wise Words
have quite a strong performance that should be developed further (creating more pins focused on these keywords). Unfortunately, I create a very weak generic description, so even though Pins had a good amount of closeups, the CTR rate was minimal (under 0,1%)
So take my advice – I will be working with variations of these two pins testing multiple descriptions, so make sure that the future closeups convert into clicks.
5. Do Not Give The Answer In Your Pin
Your goal with Pinterest is to get clicks. Remember it when designing a pin. The visual has to be interesting enough for the user to want to know more.
If the viewer will receive the answer right there on the pin…why would he/she click to your site?
Let’s have a look at some account examples. Here are pins from MakingSenseOfCents which have over 2mil. viewers.
The goal of your Pinterest endeavors is to get traffic. So you talk about a topic that will interest your audience, but you do not explain it on the pin or in the description – you rather ask them to come to your site for more information.
Let’s take the pin of “How blogging paid off my student loans” a bit of clickbait, but nothing too bad about it. It is interesting, how could blogs pay for the loans? Users click and read the info on the page.
If that pin would also say “With ad-networks, affiliate marketing and growing my blog for 6 years” the CTR would drop. The answer is already there, no need to go any further.
Have you ever noticed that when you are googling for translation? Let’s say “manufacturing in Spanish” and go you go past Google Translator results, you see this:
Notice that none of those “snippets” gives you an answer. The reason is still the same, they want you to go to the website to get your information.
What about videos?
“How to make a bow from ribbon” is one of the most popular Pinterest search queries. These are the first few top results:
20% are videos with detailed explanations of how to make a bow from a ribbon. Others are pictures that are there with the goal of getting you to click through to the site.
In the case of videos, you can also get clicks as users will want to see description and other details, but some will just watch it, save the pin and that is it.
What about Infographics?
A nicely done infographic will work well both on Pinterest and outside of it. With SEO you may get backlinks, on Pinterest you may get many repins, saves, and maybe even new followers. So they can be used to grow your profile in the future, but they will not get you to click in the short term.
In conclusion to this section – make pins that are related to the search queries and further lead users from Pinterest to your website.
6. Use Warm colors
While the blues, greens, and yellows can work well. In my opinion red, orange, burgundy, dark pink worked the best.
This study shows that red, orange, and brown performed better than blue 2:1 in repins.
According to, Curalate(published on Wired.com) this is scientifically the best-colored pin:
While this post was written in 2013, do you want to see what is my most successful pin?
Sure, it is not an exact match, but I am sure you can see some resemblance.
What if “warm” colors are completely incompatible with your brand? Well, do not change your whole brand because of Pinterest. See if you incorporate the more “Pinterest friendly” colors.
If that is not possible, keep in mind that color pallets are just one part of the whole “alchemy” of Pinterest algorithms. What you will lack in color you will pay back in content, titles, descriptions, and much more.
7. Avoid Faces
While the strategies of different pinners are different, this study shows that brand images without faces receive 23% more repins. Even though the study is possibly outdated (Pinterest trends change very quickly) I usually tend to avoid them, as I feel that people want to imagine themselves on the pin.
On average the pins with faces will get up to 1% CTR for me, while pins without a face will be higher. On The other hand, these are some of the recent pins of Chasing Foxes (over 10mil monthly viewers).
They repin them constantly – meaning that it works. But they also have over 360k followers, strong boards with high engagement…so you will just have to test for yourself and see if it works for your brand.
Examples Of Successful Pins
In this section, we will go over examples of pins that worked well for me. I will illustrate how various pins behave in different niches so you can plan your Pinterest strategy accordingly.
Recipes are one of the top categories on Pinterest. So it is no wonder that I had to try how it works. Though recipes are completely off the main topics of my website, I needed to do some pins and post for testing.
With 8% Closeups, 1% Saves, and 4% CTR this is one of the best pins I had tried. By best I mean that it delivered the most clicks.
As you can see this checks all the boxes in terms of design and color. Red themed picture with a red text background.
In this case, the topic is of great importance. Recipes, fashion, decor, design, travel are all hugely popular on Pinterest.
“Shakshuka recipe for one” is quite a niche search query on Pinterest which does not have many exact results. As you can see the keyword is on the pin, in the title, and description, these all help Pinterest algorithms to discover and further share your pin.
Lifestyle is one of the most popular niches on Pinterest where you can find a wide array of topics. One of the “classics” are topics “Habits of people who…” you can complete with interesting Pinterest trends such as who has money, who stays confident, who stays healthy, who are happy, and so on. Seeing this being a topic on many profiles I had to try for myself.
3% Closeups, 1.5% CTR and 0 Saves may not seem like a hugely successful result. The interesting thing is that the potential of this topic (and related ones) is possibly limitless.
You may see that there are just slight changes but this pin (pinned at nearly the same, on same boards) received 2% closeups, 1% Saves, and 1% CTR.
No matter how many times you will pin for this topic, you will receive constant results. It does not seem to die out.
Continuing on the topic of habits, this fairly simple pin receives over 5% CTR. Which is quite over the average CTR on Pinterest, for your comfort on the right you may see the “scientifically perfect pin” that we discussed earlier.
Another of the favored topics on Pinterest and I of course had to try how a very basic pin will do.
With 3% closeups and 3% CTR this design seems to be easily replicable. Meaning that changing it to different topics and varieties is not an issue.
As in Good Habits sections, these topics (while less popular than their recipes/fashion/lifestyle counterparts) are bottomless. There are so many angles to take when you are discussing money management, savings, how to manage debt, etc.
This is just another use of the same design, delivering similar results. 2% closeups, 1% saves, and 1% CTR.
Personal development and motivation are very solid choices of a topic for Pinterest, so I wanted to give it a shot with a post on leadership qualities. This pin delivered 1% closeups, 0.5% saves (one of my top repined images by total number), and 1,5% CTR. That can be considered a good result for a topic that is not “dominant” on Pinterest.
This pin delivered 1% closeups, 0.5% saves (one of my top repined images by total number), and 1,5% CTR. That can be considered a good result for a topic that is not “dominant” on Pinterest.
The main topics of my site are digital tools and creating a business online. So of course I took my knowledge of Pinterest to the test on these topics too. Some time ago I created a post about webinar tools.
While my expectations for this topic were quite low, there were quite a few positive surprises. 2% Closeups, and close to 1% CTR. Saves were under 0.5% so something to work on in the future.
Another example of a simple design that worked even in the digital marketing tools niche is a pin about comparing email marketing services.
These were the testing pins:
After a couple of weeks, the best percentual rates were on this pin:
Closeups rate of 2%, save rate of 1%, and CTR of 2% is a great result for a pin in a more difficult niche.
The issue with these Pins is that they get impressions very slowly, digitals tools is a true niche sector on Pinterest. It takes the right boards and a lot of time to get the pin going. That being said – you can see that it is possible to drive clicks even in niches like this one.
We had a look at some pins that worked well for me, now I would like to provide the main takeaways and actional steps that you can take with your pins.
- Do 5-10 testing pins for each post. Out of them, 1-2 will be performing above average.
- While warm colors seem to be performing well (and better in some niches) do not limit yourself to this rule.
- Test your pins with and without a face. While statistics speak clearly, it seems that some niches work better with faces, some do not.
- Keep your pins 2:1 or 1000:1500 size. It is the optimal pin size for mobile, which is the dominant platform for Pinterest users.
- Modify your keyword to be in line with search queries and Pinterest trends.
- Text on the pin should be readable, do not go overboard with fonts.
- Check the Pinterest search bar and Pinterest trends for search query suggestions.
- Keywords should appear on the pin and in the title and description.
- The pin should hint that the question will be answered in the post.
In this post, I shared the tips that I use when creating a pin. Pinterest is growing and changing, and the successful pins change too. Still, some basic rules remain the same.
While we went over the design of the pin and most of its intricacies. I strongly suggest that you read more on the topic of Pinterest boards. After all, if your great pin is pinned on a bad board, you will get nowhere.
Pinterest is a lot about experimenting with designs, descriptions, topics, time of pinning, and boards. While it may be tedious to try to combine all these, once you succeed you will experience an immediate inflow of traffic. This feeling will never let you go, so you might consider yourself “pinned” for life (pun intended).
You might want to check:
- 10 Amazing Pinterest Board Examples Critiqued (with Best Practices)
- Pinterest SEO: A Guide for Businesses
- How 5 Businesses Are Using Pinterest Boards to Creatively Promote Their Products
About the Author
Vlad Falin is a founder and a blogger at Costofincome.com a blog about online business and video converters and digital marketing tools.