How Pinterest Changed Pinning

Forget about Post-It notes and refrigerator magnets.

By Kevin RR Williams

SOCIAL Having built several Pinterest accounts for different companies, I can relate to those starting out. In the beginning, waiting for Pinterest follower counts to increase can feel a bit like watching grass grow. But to corrupt a phrase from Field of Dreams: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ If you build it great, even more followers will arrive.

People keep track of fitness routines, shopping lists, recipes, technological developments or their favorite artists on Pinterest. With the addition of Promoted Pins and a Buy Now button that integrates with sites like Etsy, this visual bookmarking site with over 100 million users in 2015 is a marketplace unto itself.

How to Pin Great Content

Here is a tried-and-tested routine to add perfectly cropped, exciting content on a daily basis. You can adopt a similar workflow. Each of my most popular public Boards have a corresponding private Board with up to 200 pins.

During a normal browsing session, when an interesting pin is discovered, it is generally liked rather than repinned. This is because the image may be small and not very sharp. Some websites are just summary conduits to the actual site with the original art, recipe or article. For art pins, I try to find out something about the artist for proper attribution. A personal website usually reveals the title of the artwork, medium, year created and often the best image resolution.

Since Pinterest is better suited for vertical pins, images may be cropped and sized to the maximum 736 pixels wide before pinning. Art pins are also packed with descriptive keywords that make them more search-friendly. So my “repins” are enhanced before unliking the placeholder. A reservoir of great pins with an optimized image, complete description and valid link, patiently await a public showing.

Each morning I repin from private Boards to the corresponding public Boards. This stamps the new pin with the current date so it shows up within followers’ lists. I used to then delete the original pin — until the November 2015 Pinterest change.

How Pinterest Ruined My Workflow

For more security and less spam, repins omit the URL field. It is not uncommon for a link to become broken as sites are redesigned. With the original pins discarded, there is no way to edit the URL. All the effort that went into optimizing images is lost when it must be recreated. Although it’s possible to paste the old image into a new pin, it should be noted that Pinterest slightly degrades the quality of pins with it’s optimization upload process. (Other sites like Flickr and 500px are better for retaining image fidelity.) Working around the suppressed URL now requires two additional steps:

  1. Include the top-level domain url within the description. (This allows the viewer to locate the homepage in the event the linked page is broken.)
  2. After pinning to public board, save the original pin to another hidden Board of posted pins (in case there is a need to edit the URL in the future).

The missing URL fields appears to be a minor thing until your pin links are broken. Pardon any apparent overdramatization of the issue. There is likely more good than bad to come of the revision. This is not the only change; new features are released every few months. Based on Pinterest analytics, activity has not suffered signficantly.

Have you noticed that Pinterest modified the discovery of new content with keyword prominence on its mobile phone app? It features commonly used words within each of board so visitors can quickly filter categories. This is useful under two circumstances: (1) keywords are consistently used and (2) the board has many pins. What new Pinterest features impress or annoy you?

Tags: social media