March 15, 2012 by dannybishopcreative
Pinterest is the hottest new social media site right now. If you’re a guy, that might surprise you. However if you’re a girl, or you’re dating a tech savvy girl, that won’t come as any kind of shock – some reports place the female to male ratio of active users on the site at almost 6:1.
So what is Pinterest? Distilled down to its simplest, Pinterest marries the speed of twitter and the “like” button from Facebook and asks users to ‘pin’ products and photos they want to share with the world. It’s very much like the old corkboard I had on the wall of my bedroom growing up. That board had pictures of famous people I admired, clothes I wanted and quotes that inspired me all stuck on it with push pins. Pinterest recreates that online in a way that allows your corkboard to be shared with the world.
A quick scan of Pinterest reveals how people are using it. Women have flocked to it! It’s become the way to share photos of shoes, skirts, dresses, earrings, teddy bears, cute pets and boys they’d like to meet. While the last three are of little use to most businesses, the rest are very interesting.
So how do you get people ‘pinning’ your products?
Most people who have a Pinterest account will have installed a bookmarklet that makes it simple for them to pin something they like off any page on the web. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t help things, or than you might not be maximizing your pin-ability.
When someone clicks on the pin-it bookmarklet Pinterest scrapes the page that the user is on for all “high resolution” images. Pinterest’s definition of “high resolution” isn’t stated anywhere on their website, but it appears to qualify at least one dimension must be greater than 110 pixels and the other dimension at least 90 pixels. To me, that’s a pretty low resolution image!
The other thing that’s important to note about Pinterest is the way it scales images. There’s some really… odd… decisions that the developers made when designing the pinterest interface. Every pin from everyone you’re following is laid out on the one page. They’re pack in one after the other left to right. Widths of each pinned item is fixed, but height isn’t. So when one row is filled, the next row starts and butts the next pin in the column immediately below the one above it. The result is a rather jumbled approach by the time you’re a few rows down.
But clever people will be able to use this to their advantage!
Pinterest will not upscale images that aren’t already as wide as its 192 pixel pin width (it will down scale images larger than this however). But if your image is taller than it is wide (portrait orientation) Pinterest will allow you virtually unlimited height. If you have an image 192 pixels wide and 1000 pixels tall Pinterest will display it exactly that way whenever it appears. Scaling that up, if your image is 386 pixels wide and 2000 pixels tall it will be scaled down, but not cropped, so once again it appears as 192 x 1000 pixels whenever anyone pins it. Since people can preview a higher resolution version of the 192 pixel width image before clicking through to your site.
Which leads us to the killer method of using Pinterest for you commercial products; make a new thumbnail image for all products. Make it at least 192 pixels wide and as tall as you’d like. Don’t go crazy here. You’re not trying to annoy the hell out of people, but you are trying to make a statement!
Here’s an example of pinning an image of an Essendon guernsey. Rather than the usual 400 x 400 pixel image I took the back and front images and top-and-tailed them into an 800 pixel high image. The result is a post within Pinterest that is big, without being insanely so.
Note also, adding a price within the description automatically creates a ribbon with that price across the top left corner of the image! That’s a very nifty added bonus from the Pinterest folks!
Here’s the code taken from the Pinterest Goodies page for adding a “Pin it” button on your website;
Within this you can specify the URL of the page you want to act as a referrer (perfect for adding link tracking) and the URL of the image itself, making it easy to have the tall, non-standard image available to Pinterest fans without redesigning your website!
So get to it! Make your pages Pin happy now!
One last point: with women such heavy users of Pinterest, don’t expect bar mats and stubby holders to get massive traction. However women are sporty! So making sure your female apparel and equipment is ready for them to pin and share will surely see some great results for savvy digital types!