Image credit: Pinterest

Pinterest shares holiday pin insights — and they aren’t what you’d expect

When it comes to Pinterest, Christmas really does come in July.

Getting ahead of the curve on holiday content can really up your SEO game, especially when it comes to effective Pinterest strategies. Of course, how people are using Pinterest is changing constantly, and that holds true for the holidays as well.

We chatted with Pinterest SMB Marketing Lead Lisa Fong, who gave us some tips for bloggers planning their holiday pins. And the insights she has will definitely help bloggers better prepare for the holidays, especially considering the timeline is completely different from most platforms.

It all starts earlier than you think

The holidays don’t start when autumn rolls around. In fact, Fong said they start to see a spike in holiday pin traffic as early as July.

“It’s pretty crazy, but we actually see the holiday activity start to pick up as early as July,” Fong shared, “and I think that says a lot about how people are using Pinterest because they’re starting early and they’re planning ahead.”

She added, “That’s when they’re getting ideas and saving ideas for what they want to do or buy next and really planning.”

From there, she said the holiday season continues to pick up steam until November and December and even extends into early January as people are thinking, “Oh, I can do this better for next year,” or, “I can save this for next year.”

As for how content creators should prepare? “I would recommend always having some content as early as possible, but then being able to sprinkle in a lot more as you’re getting closer and closer to the holidays and people are starting to refine what they actually want their holidays to look like,” Fong suggested.

“You might even see that the gift guides you created in 2017 or 2016 or something from your blog is already starting to pick up steam. It may not even have to be something new. You’ll see some of your old content people are starting to see again. Pinterest is a little more evergreen. The content lasts forever so when [pinners] find that they’re saving it, whether it’s holiday pins from last year or holiday pins from this year. But I would definitely recommend starting early, having some content out there.”

It’s all about that vertical… and keywords, of course

When it comes to the way your pins look, Fong shared that vertical pins are the way to go, hands down. The 600×900 format in particular helps avoid truncated pins, which are not as viewer-friendly.

“Eighty percent of our traffic is on mobile and Pinterest is in a vertical format,” Fong explained, “so definitely make sure your pins are vertical.”

She added that making beautiful pins is important, but it’s just as important to have strong keywords.

And while these are general rules to follow, Pinterest is also a playground. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with different formats, sizes and keywords to find what gets you the best results.

“You want to test different strategies and test different creatives because there may be that one giraffe pin that you have or one, like, really successful pin that actually crushes it,” Fong explained. “For the most part, I would stick with this under by 900, but if we have some flexibility and you want to test this theory, definitely go for it and see what kind of traffic you’re getting.”

What to look at when looking at audience insights

For those expert pinners out there, you know audience insights is a must-use tool for effective pinning.

“For people, Pinterest helps them discover and do what they love and so I think that’s why audience insights is such a great tool because it will actually show what the people are interested in and their entire case graph and their interests because Pinterest is so personal,” Fong said. “They’re really using it when they’re actively considering what’s new or what to buy next.”

But what exactly is the most important audience insight to consider?

“So when looking at audience insights, I think some of the things that I like to look for are really finding opportunities,” Fong shared. “If you find a category with high affinity or a low percentage, that shows you have an opportunity to tap into this audience.”

For example, Fong said, “If you see that your audience has a strong affinity in sports that you didn’t know about, you might consider tying your food and drink content to game-time favorites or tailgating snacks and meals — whether it’s football season, basketball season or even thinking about even big global sports moments like the World Cup or Olympics.”

She added, “Beyond that, if you see that your audience is interested in parenting then you can really tie your creative and your content to after-school snacks, easy toddler meals, family dinners and things like that.”

“You might find things that are super common and are obvious, but then there might be something that you weren’t thinking about or weren’t included in your content calendar already.”

Wrapping it up with a pretty pinned bow

All in all, the most important thing to remember about Pinterest is that it’s a platform focused on the user experience above all else.

“The really important thing is just to know that it’s pretty different from the other platforms. And people are coming here earlier, and they’re really coming here when they’re thinking about what they want to do or buy next and planning for the future.”

Fong added, “Pinterest is very personal. This is what I want and this is what I want my future or my dinner tonight or my dinner next weekend or Thanksgiving to look like.”

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