Profitable Pinning: How to Harness the Power of Pinterest in Your eCommerce Business

by Drew Kobb

Last updated on December 18th, 2017

Pinterest has gained popularity and traction in the online world over the past few years—and with over 70 million registered users, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Though in the past Pinterst has been viewed as another “Mommy” site—with the majority of users being women, and moms 61 percent more likely to visit the site than the average American—this doesn’t mean you should discount its potential for your e-commerce business.

Like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a social platform where users engage, share, and interact with each other through content. This provides great business opportunities for the savvy marketer to reach a greater number of people in their target market.

And with Pinterest being a primarily visual platform, the door is wide open for e-commerce businesses to make their name.

So how do you harness the power of Pinterest? Follow these tips for profitable pinning to get your e-commerce business in the game.

1. Set Up a Business Account on Pinterest

Create Pinterest Business Account

The obvious first step to building a Pinterest campaign is to actually get on Pinterest. If your company registered an account prior to the launch of Pinterest business accounts, you can convert your site from a private or personal page to a business page.

Otherwise, simply register for a new Pinterest business account. The form will ask you to identify your business type (e.g. professional, media, brand, retailer, local business, or online marketplace), create a business profile (complete with business image/logo, username, and description), and agree to the terms and conditions.

Pinterest Business Account

After your website is verified, users will be able to see that you are a trustworthy source, helping you reach more potential followers and customers.

2. Use Visually Appealing Product Images

After you have created your Pinterest account, you can now populate your page with pins. Organize your homepage by creating custom Boards. Boards act as virtual filing cabinets that organize your pins according to theme or category.

Pick a variety of board themes that complement your business niche, and then choose pins to add to them.

When creating pins, you want to add visually appealing images. According to Rich Relevance, Pinterest accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic. Therefore, as a visually driven network, it is important that your pins look good, so you can attract that traffic to your site.

As an e-commerce site, you may want to invest in a professional photographer (if you haven’t already) to make your products really shine online. Include these photos on your actual website, as well as pinned directly to your Pinterest page.

pinterest wall

And for those who have not found your site yet, when they see your high-quality, attractive pins pop up in their feed, they will be more inclined to repin them and follow the links to your website.

3. Include the “Pin It” Button On Each Page

Though die-hard pinners will take the initiative to pin images they like themselves, most people need a little nudge in the right direction.

Be sure to include a “Pin It” button on each product page. That way, when customers click through various items, they can easily take the next step to pin it to their boards and share it with their followers.

pin it pin

According to BlogHer, 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust information from Pinterest, and 47 percent of have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest. With approximately 70 million users worldwide—of which 55 million are from the U.S.—that is a lot of sharing (and conversion) potential for your pins.

Harness that sharing power by including call to action buttons (“Pin It” buttons) on each page. You will encourage satisfied and interested customers to share your products with their friends and followers, building your exposure, credibility, and traffic.

4. Use Rich Pins for Products

Pinterest recently launched a new type of product-related pin called “rich pins.” These pins are particularly useful for e-commerce and online business websites who want to get their product information out there.

Currently, Pinterest offers four kinds of rich pins:

  • Movie
  • Recipe
  • Product
  • Article

Depending on your business, you may wish to dabble in multiple types, but let’s assume you just want to promote product pins.

With rich pins, marketers can include information, such as pricing, availability, and location. Not only does this information make your product more accessible to Pinterest users, but it also makes it more likely that your pins will be viewed and shared.

Shopify notes that pins with prices receive 36 percent more likes than those that do not include them.

According to Pinterest other benefits include:

  • Greater brand exposure with the addition of your logo on the pin.
  • Higher visibility on Pinterest as product pins are more likely to be featured on category feeds.
  • Automatically updated product details (such as price changes and availability info).

rich pin screenshot

However, though rich pins are extremely useful for ecommerce business, the process to create them is much more involved. It will require more advanced computer knowledge best found in a professional developer. (For more information on how to apply for rich pins, you can read Pinterest’s instruction page).

5. Vary Your Pins

Even though you are an ecommerce business, you shouldn’t flood your boards solely with products.

Pinterest is not a site for hard selling; it is a social network for bookmarking and sharing appealing content. Therefore, rather than inundating your followers’ feeds with product pins, try to create pin diversity.

Like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is an opportunity for you to connect and engage with your customers and market. In that frame of mind, create boards that complement your business products. For example, a home décor website might include categories for DIY home improvement projects, design inspirations, color palettes, and even green living hacks.

Within those boards you can of course include applicable products, but be sure to also populate them with other pins. You will attract more followers and subsequently gain greater traction in the Pinterest community.

6. Go Big or Go Home

Because Pinterest is such a visual platform, it is important to optimize your images for the greatest visual appeal.

The ideal image dimension for pins on Pinterest is 736 pixels wide (any length). All images are sized down to 192 pixels wide for thumbnails in board view, but when users click on the image, it is displayed at its maximum size: up to 736 pixels wide. So, try to size all your pinnable images as close to those dimensions as possible.

However, though there is a maximum width, Pinterest does not have a limit on length. Where possible, try to create longer, vertical images to pin. These pins will get longer “scroll life,” meaning they will stay visible on the page for a longer period as users look through pins.

And the longer your pin is visible, the more likely customers are to see it, repin it, and follow its link.

To create longer pins, add step-by-step instructions for a DIY project, combine a collection of images, or create an infographic­­—depending on your business and audience.

7. Analyze Your Pin Campaign

Finally, take time to analyze and review your efforts. Pinterest Analytics allows you to track your pinning activity and discover what pins are most popular, who pins them, and what else people tend to pin with them.

pinterest analytics

This information can guide you in your efforts to optimize your Pinterest boards for the best online response from users.

Whether you are an SEO firm looking to boost results or a small business trying to get an online edge, optimizing your site for Pinterest can put your ecommerce site ahead of the game.

Yes, Pinterest is a useful social tool for people to bookmark their favorite things—but it is so much more than that. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this powerful platform.

By following these tips, you can extend your business’ online reach and see greater profits from conversions. So start pinning today!

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Profitable Pinning How to Harness the Power of Pinterest in Your eCommerce Business



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Drew Kobb

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves blogging about his experiences and learning all about the online industry. He has written extensively about online marketing, ecommerce, and business.


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  1. Maricruz says:
    January 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative
    and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit thee nail on the head.
    The issue is an issue that not enough folks are
    speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I came across this in my
    hunt for something relating to this.

  2. Reshu says:
    November 16, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Hi, Drew! Very nice and comprehensive post. Pinterest is here to stay. Point #2 is one of the basic rule for a visual social media network like Pinterest but often people ignore it.

    #5 is again very useful. Like all the other social media channels, you can’t afford to be sales-centric on Pinterest too.

    Few more important points to keep in mind when using Pinterest for your ecommerce business:

    1) Ensure that your Pinterest profile, boards, titles and description should be optimized for SEO benefits as pins too appear in search results
    2) Create variety of boards and ensure that they target your niche market, also create boards that feature your top selling products.
    3) Be social and follow others and repin their pins, like and comment on their images, but make sure that those images are related to your brand.

    • Drew Kobb says:
      November 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

      Thanks for reading Reshu! You make some great points, it is very important to optimize your boards and pins for search online. The more your pins are tailored to your brand and audience, the better results you will have.

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