The Punchbowl Trends Blog

Marketing insights from the leading celebrations site for moms

What Makes a Pin Go Viral?

November 12, 2013 · in Content Marketing
We’re on Pinterest everyday, pinning and repinning images and content that we think our customers will enjoy and want to share themselves. Through these efforts, we drive website traffic, increase brand engagement with key customers, and occasionally generate eCommerce business. However, what we all what as marketers is one thing: a viral pin. Some of us have seen it happen to our content once or twice, or if we’re lucky, more often, but virality is not guaranteed. Rather, it’s quite elusive. 
This begs the question, what makes a pin go viral? Based on my experience managing our consumer-focused Pinterest page and being a Pinterest user myself, I put together this list of qualities that go into a viral pin.
  • Relevancy - The amount of content on Pinterest can be overwhelming. People don’t always know where to look or what to search for. One way to ensure your pins get found is to make them relevant and anchor them to something that’s going on right now. It could be related to an upcoming holiday, a trend that’s hot right now, an icon of pop culture, or something that is simply timely. 
  • viral pinsImage - This is the obvious one. Your pin must have a GREAT image. What makes an image great? Viral pins that I’ve seen typically include these characteristics: color. Not just a blast of every color in the rainbow but colors that make sense together and relate to the topic of the pin. For example, we pinned a sangria recipe around the 4th of July last year and it went viral. The image was vibrant red and blue, but not flashy or over the top. It was attainable and the image conveyed that. Another important image characteristic is the size and quality. Longer pins do better on Pinterest, because they’re seen by users for longer periods of time as they scroll through their feed. 
  • Timing - I’ve pinned at all times of the day to figure out when our pins gets the most activity. Obviously no test is apples to apples because I’m always pinning different content, but I’ve found that when I pin at night, we see a higher number of repins and likes. This has a lot to do with our audience: moms. At night after they put the kids to bed is when they have time for themselves, whether it’s watching TV or pinning (or both). Have an understanding of when your target audience is on Pinterest and focus your pinning energy on those times. 
  • Link - While I’ve seen many pins go viral without a valid or accurate link, it’s best practice to ensure your pins have a link that’s related to your content. Especially if you’re posting a food or drink image, or a craft, people want to know how to execute what you’re sharing so don’t leave them hanging!
  • Caption - Keep it short and concise, but a little pithy if possible. You want users to quickly know what the pin is about and if you can be witty do so, but not if it complicates the message. The caption is important to the life of your pin in the weeks, months, even years after you originally pin it. The more searchable it is, the more likely it will show up in future searches. 
Learn more about digital moms who’ve embraced technologies like Pinterest, tablets, and more in the free white paper, “Moms & Digital: 20 Stats About Tech-Loving Mamas.” 
Posted by Katie Petrillo

viral pins