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How to use creativity to drive engagement on Pinterest

Pinterest now has 200 million users worldwide, who cumulatively carry out more than 2bn searches every month. What’s more, it’s arguably now the best social platform around for finding and shopping for products. But brands still haven't cracked their Pinterest strategies.

How should you design content to make the most of the huge marketing opportunity that Pinterest offers? On such a visual platform, design is critical to success.

On average, people spend less than two seconds looking at each Pin on Pinterest, so you have limited time to grab their attention. Users come to Pinterest looking for ideas and inspiration, and they want to see beautiful content that’s relevant to their own lives. So how can brands and agencies use design to quickly wow Pinners?

Ideas, not brands

Pinterest aims to guide people from the spark of an idea to the point of purchase, so your Pin design should provide inspiration and aspiration.

Use your brand, of course, but keep it tasteful, discreet and in keeping with the overall look of the Pin. For example, if the logo is already on the product being shown, there may well be no need to add it again on its own. In fact, 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded.

Editorial, not sales

Don’t be tempted to add a loud ‘Buy Now’ call-to-action to your Pin. While 93% of users plan purchases with Pinterest and 87% have made a purchase because of something they’ve seen on the platform, overt sales messaging can be a turn off.

Instead, use copy as an extension of your design. Keep it short and integrate it visually with some well-crafted typography. Unlike other social channels, there is no limit to the area your copy can cover, so you can really have some fun with it.


You can drive interaction by including more than one product on a Pin. In some sectors, a Pin’s ‘saveworthy-ness’ increases when it features multiple products, and this approach also enables you to show the variety of your offering. But take care not to crowd your Pin at the expense of the design.

You can also vary the look of each of your Pins within one set. Play with colours, textures, patterns and current trends to make each one stand out on its own.

How to’s

Pinterest is about promoting a lifestyle or look that anyone can recreate, so ‘how to’ pins with step-by-step instructions are hugely popular. Increasingly, people are turning to visual platforms like YouTube or Pinterest to find out how to cook a certain dish or create a particular beauty look.

Think about the kind of tutorials you could offer your potential customers. Making your Pin ‘actionable’ drives results, particularly in sectors like food and beauty. And make sure it looks easy.

Products in action

Bring your product to life by showing it in context or in action. Create aspirational Pins by showing your product as part of a lifestyle. In an online world where people can’t touch, hold or try out something before buying it, demonstrating a product visually is the next best thing.

Anna Benn is director at The Online Studio, one of seven founding Pinterest Creative Partners. She tweets at @annabenn

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