Getting ‘Pinned’: Quick Tips for Pinterest Fame

Image sharing site Pinterest is the new darling of the social media set and women’s magazines especially. The meteoric rise of the pin board network has been controversial (how about those copyrights, anyway?) but nevertheless unstoppable. Sites like, and are among the most pinned brands on the network, and some sites are reporting Pinterest as their leading source of social media referrals now. 

But unlike Twitter and Facebook, the secret to Pinterest success is not accruing followers or “likes.” Here your own homepage in the network is less important than having your content make the rounds among members. Getting pinned and re-pinned is what a publisher wants.

But what attracts those pins in the first place? The social media “scientist” at solutions provider HubSpot, Dan Zarella ran some numbers on 11,000 pins he followed around Pinterest to see what common qualities seemed to activate this audience of image snatchers.

The infographic below condenses the results. Most striking and important for publishers here is the importance of being disciplined in caption length. When it comes to re-pinning images and links, Zarella finds that 20-30 characters in length is the sweet spot for re-pins. After all, they are here to gaze, not read. 

He also ran the numbers on word frequency in captions. "Chicken" apparently rules the roost, second only to the unsurprising leader among pinned words, “recipes.” In fact, food related items seem to be referenced by most of the top words that attract repins. Interestingly, when it comes to the initial pin itself, coming from some external source, terms around design are prevalent. That is an interesting distinction that users appear to be making. Pinning occurs to people perhaps more often when they see an image with a striking design. But the images most commonly shared and circulated within the social network revolve around food. 

Finally, Zarella finds that “Likes” in Pinterest are more valuable than commenting, since items with more likes tend to be repined more often than those that simply attract more comments. 

The HubSpot infographic was shared first with the Marketing Pilgrim site.


Steve Smith is the digital media editor  for  min, a sister  media brand of PR News. He can be e-mailed at

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