According to Reuters, Pinterest has amassed 48.7 million users since its inception three years ago and a study by SimplyMeasured reveals that 69 of the world’s top 100 brands now have Pinterest accounts.
Hot on the heels of the Pinterest business-focused rollouts that we covered earlier, namely account verification, business pages, and the new web analytics tool, there have been a flurry of updates in recent weeks that have left many business owners scratching their heads. So if you’re feeling a tad confused about Pinterest’s new look and its rich pins, you are not alone.
Here’s a whirlwind tour of the key features of both updates and some pointers on how to use them for your business.
#1. Navigating Pinterest’s New Look
Pinterest has been testing its new look since the beginning of the year but the fact that it isn’t permanent yet is telling.
When the new design first launched Pinterest received a flood of complaints from pinners for removing many of their favorite features, notably Mentions and the Pinned By feature that let you see who had pinned that item.
Many users were disgruntled that they could no longer see the pinning chain and felt that Pinterest was making it harder for them to connect with others.
Pinterest promptly did a U-turn and reintroduced some of the most popular features.
The new look is still being tweaked so certain functions don’t work quite as well as they should. You are not obliged to adopt the new look (yet), but each time you log in, Pinterest will nudge you with this reminder:
Remember, once you hit Get It Now you won’t be able to revert back to the old look.
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Why The New Look?
The aim of the new design is to encourage “discovery” through a bolder cleaner look and much bigger pins. Now that the frames between images have been removed, some people may find the close-ups too intense. Depending on your screen size, it can certainly send your eyes funny!
The important point with the new look is to be extra careful when selecting images for Pinterest’s new look. Make sure they are big, bold and engaging.
1. Pin Options On Home Feed
If you hover over a pin, you now have only 2 options not 3. The bigger Pin It button has replaced the previous Repin but the Like icon remains. You can still click the Like button twice to Unlike an image if you change your mind.
At the bottom of the image you can see who pinned the image and the board on which it was pinned. More than ever, you should take care to select an on-brand username and name your boards using catchy, keyword-rich titles that capture the essence of that board and encourage click-throughs.
The Comment feature has disappeared from the home feed entirely, but you can still access it when you click on the pin to enlarge it.
Remember that “pins” don’t just include static 2D images. Pinterest also lets you pin video from sites like Dailymotion, TED, YouTube and Vimeo using the Pin It button.
2. Enlarged Pin Features
As before, clicking on the pin gives you the supersized version of the image. Here you can see how many repins and likes the pin has received and the original source with full URL.
See the Send button on the far right? This lets you share the pin with others, either a fellow pinner by adding the @symbol before their Pinterest username or using their email address.
The button next to it with the small arrow icon enables easy sharing to Twitter, your Facebook profile (alas, not your business page!), email, and interestingly, embed it into your website using a new Pinterest widget builder.
At the bottom of the page, Pinterest offers a host of related images under the heading People who pinned this also pinned to encourage discovery.
This Amazon-style feature is designed to help you connect with like-minded pinners and find interesting pins and boards.
3. Pinterest Page & Activity Feed
To access your page, just click on your name on the far right and a drop-down menu will appear with several options including your Boards, Pins, Settings and Analytics.
The small button with the two pin icons on the far right of your page is the new location of your activity feed. Just click on this to see when someone follows you or your boards, repins, likes or comments on your pin, or mentions you.
Your activity feed can provide you with a surprising amount of intelligence about your Pinterest audience.
Which boards are attracting the most attention? Which pins are getting the highest amount of engagement i.e. repins, comments and likes? Who is your content resonating with?
Check it daily and combine it with the web analytics tool, (only accessible via the new look) to help you dive deeper into your Pinterest marketing.
Pinterest now gives you two places to edit your settings.
Your general account settings such as password, email notifications etc are located in the top right-hand menu we covered earlier.
But if you want to edit your personal information (username, bio, location, social media information and URL) then you need to head over to your About section and click on the small pencil icon in the bottom right-hand corner.
Pinterest has also upgraded its search feature. The old buggy functionality has been replaced with a smoother, slicker version that includes “auto-suggest”, making it very similar to Google search.
Instead of typing a keyword into the search box and waiting forever for the results, Pinterest now provides alternative, highly searched terms that can help you narrow your search.
For time-starved pinners, there is also another bonus. Have you ever tried searching for your own pins but didn’t want to wade through hundreds of other peoples’ images?
Now you can type in a keyword like social media and Pinterest will offer you the option to search all pins containing the word social media in the caption or filter out your own using the Just my pins option.
- Use the enhanced search feature to find targeted followers based on your top keywords or niche, or add a city, state or country for local searches.
- Do you want to gather intelligence about your competitors? Just add their brand or name into the Pinterest search box to see their pins, boards and page and followers.
#2. How To Use Pinterest Rich Pins
This newly launched feature shows great promise, particularly for online merchants and ecommerce sites. Rich pins provide more information than normal pins and currently there are 3 types of rich pins available: products, recipes and movies.
According to Pinterest, rich pins take desire and discovery one step further by providing dynamic data that encourages purchasing.
Pinners can now “buy the couch, rent the movie or bake the cookies they see” because they can view real-time product pricing, availability, cooking time, ingredients, ratings, reviews and location without clicking to find the source and potentially landing on the wrong page, or finding that the item is unavailable.
Nordstrom is one brand that has taken advantage of the rich pins feature. Notice how the image below shows detailed at-a-glance information about stock availability and where the product can be purchased.
Several big brands such as Target, Wholefoods Market, Good Housekeeping, Sony and Walmart have already got on board with rich pins, but so too have smaller sellers on Ebay and Etsy. It’s still early days but I believe this new feature bodes well for different types of vendors and products.
How To Start Using Rich Pins
Pinterest requires you to do 3 things before you can access rich pins;
- Rich pins only work on the new look so you must switch over first (which is why I’ve covered the new design in this post).
- Site owners must prepare their meta tag information before they can access rich pins. There are a few ways to do this, and they are outlined on the Pinterest developer page.
- Once you’ve chosen the correct type of rich pin for your business – product, movie or recipe – and you are ready to test the rich pins feature, you must validate your rich pins so that Pinterest can approve them.
Key Benefits Of Rich Pins
Paul Chaney provides an excellent overview on the benefits of rich pins for online sellers, which I have summarized below:
- The pin-to-purchase process is more streamlined. Customers can view all the pertinent information on Pinterest and are more likely to click-to buy if it’s effortless.
- The potential to lose a sale due to a broken link or stock unavailability is greatly reduced.
- Customers can make informed decisions on the spot, which will not only send targeted visitors to your website but they will be more inclined to buy.
- Pinterest rich pins pull real-time information directly from your site which eliminates the need to write lengthy product descriptions for each pin or constantly update the details thereby saving you time.
- Already pinned images can easily be converted to rich pins provided the meta tag information has been added to the source page.
As Chaney says, in spite of the tech requirements, rich pins are worth applying for because they offer an opportunity for ecommerce businesses and online sellers to link their products directly to their pins.
Rich pins can transform your Pinterest business page from a place of inspiration and discovery to one that also brings real commercial benefits.
While rich pins may be taking Pinterest one step closer towards monetization – they may well start charging merchants for this privilege – this new feature is also making social commerce a reality for many businesses, large and small.
Pinterest is playing a particularly important role in this new trend because of its unique demographic; the average users are women aged 30-49 with considerable disposable incomes, widely considered by marketers as the sweet spot.
There is a strong sense that there are more changes to come. Rich pins along with the previous updates and the launch of a new “developer’s page” provide clues about Pinterest’s intentions. Is it about to turn into a fully-fledged platform?
I for one will be watching closely what Pinterest does next.
What About You?
What do you think about Pinterest rich pins? Is this a feature you will integrate into your business? How have you found Pinterest’s new look?
Guest Author: Tehmina is an entrepreneur, business strategist and Pinterest marketing expert. You can connect with her at EpreneurTV where she blogs about building an online business. You can also download her free ebook to learn how to master Pinterest in the shortest time possible.
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