What Makes an Image Pinnable?

Social media powerhouse Pinterest is a bookmarking tool that works much like a cork board mixed with social media. Instead of ripping photos out of magazines, users pin images from webpages across the internet to their virtual boards. Users can follow others and see their pins on a main feed, search for other pins, and use social engagement tools like commenting, liking, or repinning other people’s pins. In terms of a marketing tool, it can drive large amounts of traffic to ecommerce websites or to articles with information users find valuable.  We’re on Pinterest!

The most popular pins and pins that are quickly repinned are ones that are pretty and provide value. If you think of Pinterest in terms of content marketing, articles that are well written and provide value are most valued by readers. The same goes for Pinterest for visual content. Ultimately the goal is to go viral with your pins and direct traffic to you. To create pins that achieve your goal, there are a few things you should do:

  • Tell what’s behind the pin

Pinterest is a medium where the photos mean something more than what meets the eye. Every pin can be linked to a website. Users can click on pins to go to the linked websites. Without a message on where a pin will take a user, it’s just a pretty picture. Since a lot of photos are pinned just because they’re beautiful, not all users click through to look at the content behind it. To show users there’s more than just a photo, be sure to use text to tell Pinterest users what they can find if they click through. For many audiences, text on the image is especially appealing.

  • Ask for something

An ideal way to get pins and repins is to ask for them, both on your website and in the pin itself. ExpertPhotography.com, by Joshua Dunlop, is a great example of asking for a pin on your website. When readers reach the end of Josh’s articles, they see an image created specifically for Pinterest with a “Pin It” logo at the top. Readers can hover over the image to popup a Pin It button, making it very easy for readers to do what Josh asks of them. The “Pin It” call to action is also in the photo so when other users see it in their feeds, they are also called to take action by Josh, even though they’re not on his website.

  • Always include a way to connect

One of the biggest problems with Pinterest, however, is that photos can be detached from their original sources pretty easily. It’s also a notorious venue for content theft where others claim photos as their own. You can prevent content theft or your pin getting lost and users never finding your content, you can include your website’s URL or your brand’s logo. However, not all photos or brands need watermarked photos or should have them because they can detract from a website’s visuals or look out of place for certain styles of websites.

  • Use a simple composition with clear message

The most important thing for your Pinterest image, however, is to have a simple composition with a clear message in both the words and the image. Cluttered images with distracting text are difficult to understand and ask for too much attention from users. Instead, they move on to something else. A simple composition that’s pretty and shows clearly what the pin is about allows users to know immediately what your pin gives them and if they want to keep it for later.

Applying Lessons to Pins


One of our clients, National Fruit Corporation, benefits from pin-worthy photos of their products and recipes made with their products, like this pin. Their audience intersects strongly with Pinterest users so going viral on Pinterest could direct a lot of traffic to their website and boost sales, especially if the pin and content requires users to buy their frozen fruit bars or brings their brand name to new people.

This photo has a clear composition with a bright and happy colors that shows off the subject of the pin. Users can clearly see the pin links back to a recipe that uses Chunks O’ Fruti bars and the call to action is to go visit the website with the recipe. Since the pin’s call to action pairs with the article’s call to action to make the cake using Chunks O’ Fruti bars, it gets more users into stores to buy the bars and increases brand awareness.

4thofjulysalefacebookNot all pins need to be photos, however, nor do they need watermarks. Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters, a Northwest Arkansas outdoor gear company, couldn’t take a photo of all the different things on sale for their 4th of July Sale without making a cluttered photo. Since they don’t yet have an ecommerce website, they also don’t need to worry about a pin being detached from the accompanying link as locals recognize the logo. Locals who pin the image share it with their followers, many of who are probably people they know in real life. The call to action, instead of driving traffic to the website, is to drive traffic to the storefront. However, this image still fully displays the intention with clear 4th of July colors and text about the sale.








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