Last updated: July 27th, 2013
Everyone has been talking about the new updates to Pinterest – the new mobile “Pin It” button that has been incorporated into ten apps so far, including apps by Etsy, ModCloth, and TED, and Rich Pins that provide more actionable information about products, recipes, and movies. These updates are going to revolutionize the way people use Pinterest by giving them more motivation to act on pins and giving them an excuse to spend longer on the site. There have even been hints that these changes will give rise to a new way for Pinterest to monetize their social creation, creating a channel for paid advertising. But as a business owner, you’re probably wondering how you can actually act on these changes and use them to promote your business. If you’re serious about your Pinterest strategy, read on!
Introduction to Rich Pins
Pinterest debuted Rich Pins on their blog on May 20. There are three types, for each of which they unveiled a new example board: product pins, recipe pins, and movie pins. Each type loads up pins with extra information. Recipe pins present pinners with a list of ingredients and directions, movie pins list cast members and ratings, and product pins, which are probably the most relevant to your business, give pricing, availability, and tell where to buy – information that is updated on a daily basis. Rich Pins stand out from regular pins because of icons that appear below the image.
To develop these new features, Pinterest worked with a number of retailers and sites within these three categories, including eBay, Etsy, Home Depot, Overstock, Target, and Walmart for product pins; Better Homes and Gardens, Epicurious, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, and Woman’s Day for recipe pins; and Flixster, Netflix, and Rotten Tomatoes for movie pins.
Pinterest explained that the updates are an effort to make pins more useful and easier to pin “no matter where you are.”
Reactions to the Upgrades and More to Come
Though products, recipes, and movies are the first categories to feel the magic wand of rich data waved over them, they won’t be the last. Pinterest invited users to request categories for improvement in the comments of their blog post. The future is certainly bright when it comes to Rich Pins. We can probably expect all kinds of improvements to travel pins, art and design pins, craft and DIY pins, books, music, and more in the future.
Some are not so happy about the new changes – in particular bloggers whose recipes are now completely available on Pinterest, giving pinners no reason to click through to their blog for the recipe. These changes do come with the potential for decreased traffic for some types of enhanced pins, but this seems unlikely to be the case for product pins.
These features are already up and running on Pinterest, but if you aren’t seeing them, you’ll have to update to the “new look” – click “Get It Now” at the top of your home feed. You may even start to notice your older pins populating with the rich data!
Implementing Rich Pins on Your Products
Though at the moment, Rich Pins are only in place for a limited number of advertisers, Pinterest has already built out a help section explaining the technical side to implementing Rich Pins on your own site, blog, or eCommerce store. In their overview of Rich Pins, they describe it as a three step process: “To get started, you’ll need to prep your website with meta tags, test out your Rich Pins and apply to get them on Pinterest.” If dealing with code scares you or makes you want to rip your hair out, you may want to have your developer add it instead.
Each type of pin has instructions involving tools like oEmbed or hRecipe, or semantic markup such as Open Graph or Schema.org meta data, all of which they spell out in their Rich Pins for developers documentation. Product pins have the most detailed instructions, explaining the pros and cons of the different options. Pinterest suggests oEmbed as the most flexible and simplest option, which can support getting information for more than one product on a single page. Instructions are also available for Facebook’s Open Graph format, which does not allow multiple products per page, and Schema.org markup, which is slightly more complicated but does allow for multiple products. After implementing your markup, test it with the validator and apply to get your Rich Pins approved.
Though they use several different types of formatting for Rich Pins, the principle is the same. This markup makes it easier for other websites to pull information from your site and present it in a comprehensible way on another. By standardizing the presentation of information, you can help make the internet a more interactive, compatible place. Though it may seem like magic, it’s really just a series of tags that help whatever is reading your information categorize it. Then, for the product pins, Pinterest will keep scraping your site on a daily basis in order to apply any necessary changes, such as a change in price or availability, until you mark an item discontinued. This will obviously put a little stress on your server – especially for a large and highly-pinned eCommerce site – but hopefully the incoming business will outweigh the extra server load!
These developments mark an exciting time for business owners. With Pinterest Analytics and now Rich Pins, we are beginning to see some great ways to build a following, understand it, and give them what they want. For users, these changes only make Pinterest more exciting and addictive! If you are considering making Rich Pins a part of your marketing strategy, please share your experiences in the comments below!