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UTM Tracking Codes and Pinterest – How They Work

What you Need to know about UTM Tracking Codes on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis
Pinterst announced that they were going to allow UTM tracking codes for pins. This is a major win for marketers and companies that rely on UTM tracking to get granular about what campaigns are working. This was a much requested feature.

What is a UTM Tracking Code?

A UTM Tracking code stands for Urchin Tracking Monitor, and it’s a type of a system that allows for bloggers, small business owners and marketers to know how well a specific campaign is doing to to drive traffic and/or lead to conversions using Google Analytics as the analytics platform.

This could be used to track Twitter ads, banner advertisements and now Pinterest!

All this information goes to Google Analytics, and so if you don’t have it for your website, and you’re a small business, you have to grab it. Extremely useful.

What’s the Benefit of a UTM Tracking Code on Pinterest

Pinterest is quite helpful in the sense that it already creates unique urls. Such as this pin’s that was created by Franscio Rosales from Social Mouths that discusses about Facebook marketing.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/226798531209235069/

These unique urls allow you to know which pins are responsible for driving traffic to your site through Google Analytics. But it can get messy since a bunch of pins get tied up together.

With UTM tracking, split testing A/B pins is much easier, because each type of pin can be labelled for a specific campaign. You don’t have to sift through hundreds of pin urls.

With UTM, you’re able to label your campaigns with the campaign source (this is generally the referrer like Google, Yelp, March 2014 newsletter), campaign medium (banner ad, e-mail, or CPC ad) and campaign name.

What You Need to Know about UTM Tracking Codes on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis

And so for me, the main benefit is that I’m able to do A/B split testing very carefully, and this way I can create two different pins and see which one converts better to drive people to my e-mail sign up page. For me this is truly exciting!

To find out more about how to create UTM for your website visit the URL Builder site.

If you would like more of visual format, I’ve explained how all this works with a YouTube video.

The Bad News About UTM Tracking…Kind Of

Rich pins and UTM don’t mix right away unfortunately. Let’s say you own a pin that is a rich pin, and you want to add the UTM tracking code.

The only way I’ve figured out how to add the UTM tracking code to a pin is to actually change it at the source of the pin. This can be done on the desktop version of Pinterest, by clicking on the pencil icon on the top right hand corner when you hover your mouse button over the pin.

If you need to know how to change the source of the Pin, the YouTube video below will explain that in detail.

What sucks about this is that once you change the source to include the UTM tracking code, your rich pin content doesn’t show up right away. It actually reverts back to a “normal” pin. However, if you refresh the pin in your browser or you wait a few minutes the rich pin will appear again.

It’s really rich pins playing possum.

Now I tried to pin directly from the site that had UTM code in the url, but unfortunately when I used a Pin it button, it stripped away all the UTM tracking code. I’m not going to lie, that made me sad, and generally I’m a happy guy.

HELPFUL HINT: I know some of you may be tempted to add the UTM tracking codes in the description area of pins, but those urls are long and ugly, and so they will work great on a desktop version of Pinterest, but in mobile it can really be annoying to read in the description.

http://www.mcngmarketing.com/3-ways-search-optimize-your-boards-within-pinterest/? utm_source=Pinterest&utm_medium=Test%20A&utm_campaign=Pinterest%20Test%20for%20Fun

And keep in mind that 75% of the daily usage is happening on mobile platforms for Pinterest.

The Good News About UTM Tracking Codes

Here’s some excellent news about UTM. You’ll be able to know how far of a reach your pinning efforts have really gone.

UTM tracking codes will be in tact when users repin your content. This means you’re able to see the success of how your original pin did when you posted onto your own Pinterest account.

Let’s say you pinned about an e-book you’re selling, like my Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, and you attached UTM tracking. You may want to know how successful a single pin that you pinned onto your board did.

Having a UTM tracking code can help differentiate whether it was a single pin you pinned went viral, and help differentiate it from whether it was someone who visited your website and pinned from there that led to all that traffic.

This is because when people repin your pin, the UTM tracking code remains. This means if someone ten degrees down has repinned your pin that contains your UTM tracking code, you know exactly how that all started.

This is an excellent use of group boards, and you may want to use a UTM to track the effectiveness of virality of a particular group board you’ve joined. You’re not going to know the total number of repins down ten degrees, but you’ll know how much traffic goes to your site.

Feeling like your head’s spinning a bit from all this geek talk?

For another great article that explains UTM in more detail check out this blog post at HeyStephanie.com. I highly recommend you to read it.

If there’s enough interest I’ll host a Google Hangount explaining the foundations of all of this. All you have to do is leave a comment and if there’s 15 people interested by the end of April, I’ll do one in May.

P.S.

Cynthia Sanchez, from Oh So Pinteresting, and I are back at it again. We’re going to be hosting an excellent live online workshop for business owners and bloggers who are looking to drive more traffic to their website. We’ve already opened up registration for the course that Starts on April 30th.

Since this class is taught live, spaces are limited to 20 people. And 12 spots have already been sold. Find out more, check out the course outline. Or you can click on the picture below.

Cynthia Sanchez and Vincent Ng's Pinterest Business Workshop Series

Find Pinterest Group Boards Easily With This Tool

How to Easily Find Group Boards on PInterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGmarketing.com It can be a real struggle trying to gain followers for your Pinterest account when starting off. When I first started, I was lucky to get followers due to timing. Pinterest was getting a lot of coverage at the time because it was recognized as the fastest independent website to reach 10 million monthly unique visits in the U.S. And a lot of Facebook friends joined, and so we added each other on Pinterest, and that’s how I gained my first 50 for my MCNG Marketing account.

But I wanted to gain more followers, and I remember listening to a podcast hosted by Cynthia Sanchez,of Oh So Pinteresting, that talked about the power of group boards.

Pinterest Group Boards Can Be Amazing

I was so enamoured by this concept of group boards. It wasn’t just me. Those evil spammers were getting in on the action as well. I was getting group board invites left and right for some of the most ridiculous topics like baby products. Really, baby products?

Anyway, back in the wild wild west days of Pinterest, spammers and users of Pinterest could invite you to join group boards once they followed at least one board of yours. And so many of the early adopters of group boards were able to send out massive invites and have thousands of collaborators.

Of course Pinterest caught on this, and now Pinterest users have to mutually follow each other before an invite to a group board can be sent. And since this has taken place, there seems to a major pain problem for marketers and businesses,”How do I find group boards on Pinterest?”

The Best Pinterest Group Finder I’ve Experienced So Far

A few months ago there was no real easy way to find group boards. You always had to surf around Pinterest and accidentally bump into them. I did come across a Pinterest group board directory before, but it was still missing the one essential feature that I wanted, which was to preview a group board’s description before visiting the actual group board.

This is because it’s such a hassle to go back and forth to see if the board moderator was open to invitations. And then one day as I was reading an article on Twelveskip about Pinterest, they recommended a resource called PinGroupie.

I was intrigued, especially since I had never heard of anybody else in the world of Pinterest marketing mention the website. And once I checked out there site, it was amazing! It was pingasm moment.

PinGroupie is for Business Owners, Bloggers and Marketers

Walter Weiß, is the wonderful creator of the group board directory PinGroupie. Hard to believe that he created this all by himself. Like me, he finds Pinterest absolutely fascinating.

As a bit of a side note, I’ll be launching my own podcast, Pictures to Profits, in the upcoming months. Walter will be one of my guests and we’ll be talking about how and why he came up with the idea of PinGroupie.

You can check out all the wonderful features about PinGroupie in this YouTube video I created.

PinGroupie allows you to find over 32,000 group boards, the largest of any group board directory I’ve seen to date. You can search for group boards by categories, by search terms in the description, by number of followers and so much more.

The one thing that I really LOVE is that you can preview group board descriptions. This saved me so much time, because I didn’t need to go visit the website to find out whether this board had an e-mail address for me to contact.

How to Find Group Boards on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing

Instead it popped up, and guess what, within 1 week, I was able to join another 3 group boards related to business and social media and this allowed me to indirectly gain an additional 13,000 followers, bringing my indirect follower total close to 138,000 people.

I wanted to give really big thank you to Julie Grandbois, a fellow Canadian, and Pinterest user, who lives in the cold region of Edmonton for inviting me to her group boards. She makes stunning crafts and her whimisical blank greeting cards on Etsy are so beautiful, and dare I say, magical.

Do you have a system of finding group boards in your niche? Please share your amazing wisdom with our readers.

Cynthia Sanchez, from Oh So Pinteresting, and I are back at it again. We’re going to be hosting an excellent live online workshop for business owners and bloggers who are looking to drive more traffic to their website. We’ve already opened up registration for the course that Starts on April 30th.

Since this class is taught live, spaces are limited to 20 people. And 12 spots have already been sold. Find out more, check out the course outline. Or you can click on the picture below.

Cynthia Sanchez and Vincent Ng's Pinterest Business Workshop Series

How to Know if Your Pinterest Board Covers are Visually Optimized

How to KNow if Your Pinterest Boards are Visually Optimized by Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing. #Pintalysis I have to tell you that I was very excited when I discovered this tool. I think it’s no exaggeration that my eyes lit it up like a ball of fire, and I almost wanted to do my happy dance.

There are a lot of different studies out there that show how to visually optimize pins, and some blog posts that talk about optimizing board covers, but the hard part to know is whether your board covers are really attracting the attention of your viewers when they see them. But before I talk about the tool, let’s talk about Pinterest board cover tactics.

Your First Two Boards Matter the Most

The design of your first two board covers matter the most when it comes to grabbing potential customers’ attention. This is because these two boards are the best prime real estate for both the desktop and the mobile versions of Pinterest.

On the Android device, the first two boards are the ones that people see first before they have to scroll down. On the desktop, since people generally scan in F patters on websites, these two boards are essential.

EyeQuant Can Tell You if You’ve Visually Optimized Your Pinterest Boards

I first discovered this tool while doing research for my upcoming book, Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, and it has since changed the way that I see board covers.

EyeQuant is an artificial intelligence engine that helps predict the hotspots on a website. This is done by using the data from previous eye tracking experiments and from the observation of thousands of websites. This doesn’t mean that the tool is 100% accurate, but does have a great prediction rate.

Here’s an example of Brazil’s top Pinterest expert, Denise Tonin,Pinterest page and where the “hot spots” for attracting eyeballs are.

How to use eye tracking software to optimize your Pinterest board covers by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com

Other than her board covers, notice how her profile picture draws a lot of attention for her profile. According to data from Eyequant, pictures of faces will generally grab the attention of people.

Notice that one of her board covers has big bold texts, and a good contrasting background. This is predicted to draw the attention of eyes, while the board next to it, which has smaller text, doesn’t draw as much attention.

Here’s an example of my own Pinterest account and boards.

Find Out if Your Pinterest Boards are Optimized for Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing #Pintalysis

You’ll notice that my logo profile doesn’t get a lot of attention, but the title of the Pinterest account does. According to the analytical software EyeQuant, it seems that my second board cover does a lot to attract the attention of users. Based on my observations it seems that board covers with letters that are clear and big, and have a darker colour background, do much better than those that have white backgrounds.

If you notice in Denise’s board, her board with bold lettering and a black background has done well in terms of grabbing people’s attention.

Now if you look at my profile picture, you notice that it doesn’t draw a lot of attention, and you may interpret that people are better than logos in drawing a user’s attention. While this is the case for my specific profile, profiles logos, like Whole Foods draws in a lot of attention.

How to Know if Your Boards are Visually Optimized by Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing. #Pintalysis

But as you can see, based on EyeQuant, the cover photos do draw the attention of people. If I had to make a suggestion about Whole Foods’ account, I would suggest that they consider adding noticeable texts to their board covers.

Here are some Pinterest board covers created by car company, Volvo USA, they used a customized tool created by ShareRoot. Using ShareRoot, Volvo USA created customized boards. As you can see, all four board covers grabs the attention of viewers.

How to Know Wich Boards are Visually Optimized by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis

Visually Optimized Board Covers Will Help you Stand Out in Search Results

A really great byproduct of all of this is that when you do add texts, it’s most likely going to stand out during search results for board searches. Search optimizing your Pinterest boards with keywords is important, but making sure that once you’re found that people are going to select your board is just as important.

I want you to be the judge for yourself. Here are some of the results that showed up under board search for the word, social media marketing. Which ones do you find grab your attention?

How to Know Which of Your Board Covers are Visually Optimized by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis

Test it Out For Yourself

I haven’t done this yet, but I’ll testing this out and seeing if changing my board covers will have any affect in getting people to follow the boards.

What do you believe are important aspects to optimizing board covers on Pinterest. Please feel free to share in the comments.

P.S.

Cynthia Sanchez, from Oh So Pinteresting, and I are back at it again. We’re going to be hosting an excellent live online workshop for business owners and bloggers who are looking to drive more traffic to their website. We’ve already opened up registration for the course that Starts on April 30th.

Since this class is taught live, spaces are limited to 20 people. And 7 spots have already been sold. Find out more, check out the course outline. Or you can click on the picture below.

Cynthia Sanchez and Vincent Ng's Pinterest Business Workshop Series

Breaking News! Unlimited Secret Boards on Pinterest

Create an unlimited amount of secret boards on Pinterest. (We know for sure you can create more than six!) Article written by Vincent Ng of MCNGmarketing.com I don’t usually write blog posts at 7pm and have them go out fresh, but I really wanted to share some excellent news for people who love to use secret boards.

Pinterest users are now allowed to create unlimited secret boards. I don’t know if this feature has been rolled out to everyone on Pinterest yet, or if it’s something that’s just in the testing, but I do know that this was one of the most requested features on the visual social network.

Create as Many Secret Boards on Pinterest

Here’s a screen capture of my MCNG Pinterest account that shows that I have 11 secret boards. When Pinterest first started out with secret boards, users were only allowed to create three, and then Pinterest eventually bumped that up to six, but now I don’t know if there is a limit. It could be a lot, but I didn’t want to keep creating secret boards to find out what the limit was.

Create UNLIMITED secret boards on Pinterest now.

Downfall of Secret Boards

While I love that we can all create more secret boards now, the only problem is that if you create too many is that you can’t actually move them with your mouse on the desktop version of Pinterest. This means if you’re planning on using Pinterest as a tool for a lot of planning then you may have to dig through the mess to find the one you’re looking for.

What Does that Mean For Me and You

Well depending on what your goals are, there’s actually a lot that you can do with secret boards. With more secret boards you can actually use it to track more competitors without them knowing. You can pin their pins onto your secret boards and make notes in the descriptions. This way you can see if there are patterns to their popular pins.

For businesses it means that they can use Pinterest as a visual tool to plan out multiple projects. These pins which should NOT reveal confidential information may be used to plan out projects in the upcoming months. Such as sketches for retail displays, or sharing helpful articles. Just make sure that it’s information that’s not going to get people into any trouble if it’s leaked.

And remember that secret boards can act as secret group boards as well, if you need more than one team member to access them.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, secret boards are a great way to plan and organize information.

On a personal note, now I can plan out multiple itineraries for my future trips. I know I’m going to Japan for sure, and will be adding Brazil on the list.

What about yourself, now that you have the choice of unlimited boards, how are you going to use them for yourself or your business?

——-

Look for my new e-book coming out Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis. The book will be selling for $29.97 and will be 150 pages long and include 5 bonus videos. If you would like to order your advanced copy for $14.97 then please feel free to e-mail me at vince@mcngmarketing.com This Pinterest marketing book will be coming out at the beginning of April. Very excited about it!

What you Need to Know About Gifs on Pinterest

How Business can use Gifs on Pinterest by MCNGmarketing.com
Pinterest announced that they are rolling out gifs on their Pinterest feed, which could pose a challenge to Tubmlr, which has been known as THE gift visual social network.

What You Need to Know about gifs and Pinterest:

1) Gifs Can be used for Short Animation On Pinterest

The big advantage of gifs compared to other image formats is that you’re able to create animated pins, or motion pins. This was considered the norm before Vine and Instagram videos took place. They were short, often amusing and now they can be played on Pinterest.

Here’s what they look like on Pinterest for desktop. You’ll clearly see the gif at the bottom left hand corner. If you’re planning to use a lot gifs for your marketing, avoid placing text on the bottom left.

What you need to know about Gifs on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGmarketing.com

All you have to do is go to the desktop version of Pinterest and search for the term gif to see a lot of examples.

2) Gifs Are Clickable on the Desktop Version of Pinterest

UPDATE: I’ve updated this part of the article from the past. When gifs first came out on Pinterest they weren’t clickable, however this has all changed and gifs are now clickable back to the website on the desktop version of Pinterest.

This is amazing, as you can now show off a wide variety of products in a short time, and still have them all clicking back on your website. Imagine now being able to show off ten pairs of shoes in one Pinterest pin, than just showing off one.

3) Gifs on iPad for Pinterest

Unlike the destkop version of Pinterest where pins that are gifs are clearly labelled, it’s currently not like that on the iPad. It actually looks like a regular pin, and there’s no way to get the animation started. So in this case since the gifs can’t animate on iPad they operate as static pictures.

And if you click on the gif, you’ll find that the gif WILL lead back to the directed website.

4) Gifs on Android for Pinterest

Gifs on Android devices operate the same way as the iPad device. There’s no visuals that indicate that a pin is a gif. And when you click on it, or tap on it, it will redirect to the designated website.

What this means for Businesses on Pinterest

If your business is ready to launch into the world of gifs on Pinterest then you need to consider a few things before you jump in.

1) Remember that the majority of users on Pinterest are actually mobile users. This means that not everyone is going to see your animated gif, BUT they will see the first frame. So make sure that the first frame of the gif is visually optimized.

2) If you want to get people back to your site, then make sure you don’t use animated gifs as your pins.

3) Use gifs as a way of brand building and engagement. Gifs are a great way to entertain your consumers and build your brand. If you have a large established brand and don’t need more people to visit your website, then this is definitely a way to go.

General Electric’s Pinterest page has already started doing this. In all fairness, they’ve been doing gifs on Tumblr, so they’ve got a good head start compared to some brands when it comes to gif building. Click on the pin to see what the animated gif looks like, and remember that you’ll only see it in action if you’re using the destkop version of Pinterest.





Do you plan to use animated gifs for your business on Pinterest? If so, how?

Want to know ow to boost your profits with Pinterest for 2014? Cynthia Sanchez from Oh So Pinteresting and myself are teaming up to bring you a one of a kind live online workshop. We’ll be teaching you how to get more followers, and generate more new traffic to your website. The workshop is close to 75% sold out already and starts January 29th. Don’t delay register for the live course today here.

Pinterest Workshop Series by Cynthia Sanchez and Vincent Ng

7 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic With Pinterest

7 Ways to Drive More Website Traffic with Pinterest by Vincent Ng MCNGmarketing.com

1. Add Your Website to Your Pinterest Profile

One of the first things that every business should do once they start their Pinterest account is to add their website to their profile. To add your website, all you need to do is go to “Settings” and click on “Edit Profile.” At the bottom you’ll be able to add any website.

How to Drive More Web Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

However, if you are running a business then I highly suggest that you validate your Pinterest account as a business account.

When you validate your business account, your website will receive a check mark next to it to indicate that the website does belong to you. This is great for brand protection. It’s very easy for any user on Pinterest to put in your website and pretend to be you. The only thing that gives other users confidence that you do own that website is the check mark.

2. Have Your Website Mentioned in the Alt Tags of Your Pictures

As Pinterest has now become the second largest social referrer for online publishers, one of the best ways to maximize the traffic to your website is to actually have the website in your alt tags. This is because Pinterest’s official pin it buttons will scrape alt tags for their descriptions.

Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted does a wonderful job of putting her website in the alt tag of her photos.

How to Drive More Web Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

This way anybody that does pin from your website with any official pin it button will now have the website mentioned in the pin’s description (unless they choose to change the Pinterest description). People can technically change the description, but most users generally don’t.

3. Add Your Website to Your Pin’s Description

If you’ve created a pin, and you want to drive traffic back to your site, then putting your website, or a specific url you want people to visit, in your pin’s description can help drive more traffic to your site. This way when people read the description they’re able to click on it.

The website is only clickable on desktop versions of Pinterest, and the url does get cut short, but will be bolded when shown on the news feed.

This can be extremely helpful in attracting more web traffic from people who are using Pinterest for the first time and may not know that they need to click twice on a pin to visit your website. (The first click enlarges the pin, the second click goes to the website.)

How to Drive More Web Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

Even though people aren’t able to click on the website in the description on mobile versions, the actual website will be highlighted to help it stand out.

4. Put Your Website Address Inside Your Pins

Putting your website is a great way to put your website in front of tens of thousands to millions of people. As more and more people see your website from your pins, the more they’re going to be curious to visit it and offers your brand more credibility.

I encourage all Pinterest users to make sure that their website is, at the very least, visible on the mobile versions of Pinterest when their pin is clicked on. If your website is too tiny to see then it doesn’t help grow your brand.

Another reason to put your website on your own pins is to protect your brand and visuals.

I’ve seen many of my pins hijacked by other users and have them redirected to a different site that’s not mine. The only way that Pinterest that see that pin know where to find the pin’s content is through the website.

Mitt Ray from Social Marketing Writing always makes his websites very clear in his pins’ visual.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

5. Add Rich Pins to Your Pinterest Account

In terms of maintaining a great online reputation on Pinterest, nothing beats rich pins.

Rich pins are additional pieces of information that are added to a pin. Right now rich pins are available for recipes, products, movies and online articles. This additional information can include such things as ingredients for the recipe, the price of the product, or the official title of the online article.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

What’s great about rich pins is that it adds that extra call to action within your pins. Depending on what type of rich pin you’re looking to have you may need a webmaster, or if you run a WordPress site then you can consider using Yoast SEO for your blog, and there’s APG plugin for the other 3.

Here’s a rich pin for a blog, notice the call to action. This is automatically put there by Pinterest and it leads back to the site where the pin originates from.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

6. Link Uploaded Photos Back to Your Site

One of the great things about Pinterest is that you can actually create photos that are related to your industry and have them relayed back to your site. Sony Electronic’s Pinterest board, “I Can haz Gadgets” does this.

Here’s a picture of a cute dog with a speaker made by Sony. When this pin is clicked on, it leads directly back to an e-store operated by Sony Electronics that sells the speaker that’s seen in the pin.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng MCNGMarketing.com

This way you don’t always have to use the pictures that are on your website. You can use those other photos, or create graphics that lure your customers in with curiosity.

To redirect the photo to a site that you want, all you need to do is edit the pin, and change the source of it.

Here’s a pin created by Kelly Liebermann of #PinChat about Hello Society. Notice at the bottom that you can edit the web address of the pin. You can technically change the web address of any pin that you’ve uploaded or repinned, but I don’t advise that you change another pinner’s source unless you are trying to redirect it to the original source of the pin.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng MCNGmarketing.com

Add Your Website to Comments on Pinterest

Another place to add your website is in the comments section of Pinterest. However, this tactic should be used with the utmost care and caution. If you randomly place your website in comments then Pinterest will mark your efforts as spam, and you won’t be able to comment on pins for about 24 hours.

You should only leave a web address in the comments when you are trying to provide extra value to a customer, an influencer. Let’s say you noticed that an influencer pinned a blue bracelet from your website, you can respond to suggest that another great item would be this wonderful blue night gown and then provide a link.

My suggestion is that if you are trying to comment on people’s pins, that if there is one particular customer or influencer that you want to leave a url with in the comments, that you leave that as the very last comment of the day.

Keep the pin opened in a new tab as a way to remind yourself that that is the last pin to comment on for the day.

Now let’s hear from you, what are some fantastic ways to drive more web traffic from Pinterest? Leave a note in the comments section and share with the rest of the Pinteresting community.

Why Most Banks Suck at Using Pinterest

Why Most Banks Suck at Pinterest - www.mcngmarketing.com

How Financial Institutions can Benefit from Using Pinterest

At this moment, there aren’t a lot of financial institutions that are on Pinterest, which is really a shame given that about 80% of users are women, and 50% of those women have children.

What’s very fascinating is that 85% of all purchasing decisions are made or influenced by women. What’s also a whopping statistic is that 91% report that advertisers don’t understand them.

This could be part of the reason why banks are failing at using Pinterest effectively. According to an article by Financial Brand, it suggests that most banks should not even bother with Pinterest at all since it offers very little if any ROI. I think this is a big mistake that the banks are making, while others like JJ Hornblass, who wrote an article on Bank Innovation, suggests that it can be a huge pay off.

I think banks are ignoring Pinterest because they simply don’t understand it enough, and how their female audiences are interacting with such a discovery channel and social network.

So how can banks use Pinterest effectively to help them not only increase their brand awareness, and get a return on ROI?

Create Pins that Focus on Students and Their Financial Concerns

A lot of young female students that are about to head into college or already attending are are using Pinterest, according to Modea, 17.3% users are between the ages of 18-24.

I’m sure many of them would like to know how they can apply for student loans easily, and how to ensure that their loans are interest free. Here’s a graphic that’s on Wells Fargo’s website.

Why are banks so bad at using Pinterest? www.mcngmarketing.com

Wells Fargo, who are notoriously bad with their Pinterest account, because they have no pins, would probably get more traffic and leads to their site if they created a pin that stated, “Learn how to get a student loan…Interest Free.” If you’ve hung around Pinterest, you know these kinds of informational pins can be very helpful to young students.

Another interesting topic that would apply to a younger demographic that banks can provide information on is, “How to Get Your First Credit Card.”

Create Pins that Focus on Brides and their Upcoming Life Stages

I don’t know if this is an exaggeration, but it’s almost impossible to find a bride to be in North America that hasn’t used Pinterest in some way to plan or be inspired for their own wedding. There’s so many brides to be and many of them know planning for their wedding and their honeymoon can be costly.

One of the ways that banks can expand their reach, brand awareness, and loyalty is by offering interesting financial tips on how to prepare for a wedding. Since weddings can get expensive or there may be unexpected costs that arise, banks can use Pinterest to inform brides to be about the the advantages of having a line of credit.

But what’s also expensive is what comes after the wedding.

What about paying or saving money for the honeymoon?

What about life insurance in the case that the spouse has an unexpected accident?

What do new couples need to know about buying a home and how can banks help?

What about buying a new family car?

A great financial institution will realize that at some point that brides to be will be going through all those different phases, and heavily influencing these purchase decisions. So why not provide educational pins that will help customers make better financial decisions?

Notice how this Pinterest account by TD Bank has nothing to do with educating and helping their customers make better financial decisions.

Why do banks suck at using Pinterest?

The Financial Industry Should be Able to Get ROI within a Year

Banks not being able to cash in on activities and getting a ROI is just plain silly. And here’s why. Let’s look at the example of Pet Plan insurance. This is a pet insurance company that was able to increase their requested number of insurance quotes by 12.5% and 35% increase in page views through the use of Pinterest.

Yep, people on Pinterest were interested in making sure that their pets received pet health insurance. Do you know how many followers they have on their Pinterest account? 10,000 at the time of this writing. When the statistic above was reported, I believe they had around 7,000 followers.

Contrary to conventional knowledge, the number of followers doesn’t determine the success of a Pinterest campaign.

Petplan Insurance knew that the best way to connect with customers was to educate them about how to improve the health of their pets and at the same time provide entertaining pins.

What can Pet Plan Insurance teach banks about Pinterest?

This did two things for the company. One, it allowed them to connect with customers not on a transactional basis, but through an emotional connection, and two, when pet owners’ pets were healthy this meant that Pet Plan Insurance was more profitable. This was a win win.

What’s more Important than Pets? Children

Children. Children are so important to parents, and with over 50% of the female Pinterest users being parents, why are the banks shying away about how to properly save for a child’s future education?

The biggest challenge is that banks aren’t creating the educational material that DOES matter to their female consumers. Instead, mothers are turning toward mommy bloggers for information about their children.

Banks should be focusing on providing educational content such as ways that mothers can save money during the first year of their child’s birth. Or educate moms on how to plan on their next family trip by creating a designated savings account just for that purpose.

A great example of an educational content board on Pinterest is Home Depot’s “#DIHWorkshop,” which stands for do it herself.

Why can't banks provide educational pins the way Home Depot does? - www.mcngmarketing.com

Banks are Spending Too Much on Paper Advertising

Banks will spend a lot of time and money on brochures and printing material to educate their customers, but they need to move into the digital space where mothers are hanging out.

If a pet insurance company can do all that to get people to get insurance quotes for all the work that they do, why can’t banks do the same.

Most banks fail because they don’t repurpose their content for a different marketing channel. Instead they cling to their own ways on how things should be done, and that it should be in a print. Banks need to convert into online magazine styles of providing information and provide helpful financial tips that mothers can use in their daily lives.

Banks Need to Create Blogs

While state, national and international laws regarding certain financial regulations may prevent certain things to be written, there are still some universal principles that should be written before someone else does.

There are so many different topics that banks can blog about that would work out great on Pinterest and make the banks an incredibly trusted resource. After all Pinterest is now the second most used tool for social sharing for publishers.

Here are just a few that would do very well on Pinterest.

1) How to financially save for your next family vacation.
2) How to get the most out of your credit card points
3) How to plan for retirement
4) What’s in store for the economy in the next 5 years
5) Do you have your child’s college tuition saved up?
6) How much will 500 a month get you when you retire?

The number of topics can go on and on, and when banks are able to provide education and give customers information that they truly need, only then will they see success on Pinterest. While the banking institutions have their steady ways, it’s only a matter of time before educated and digitally savvy consumers will go with the banks they feel a online and offline relationship with.

What’s your opinion of banks on Pinterest? Do you feel that they are using Pinterest effectively or do you give them a thumbs down?

7 Major Ways Pinterest is Different on Android Compared to Desktop

7 Major Ways Pinterest Desktop is Different from the Android App

There used to be a simpler time when the Internet was just used on desktops and laptops. Those times are long gone and what’s happened now is that the mobile revolution is taking place. Ever since Apple came out with their first iPhone and introduced the concept of an app the world hasn’t been the same.

It hasn’t been the same for Pinterest either since they’ve started, they now have over 70 million global users on the social network. You would think that the number of people visiting the actual site, www.pinterest.com would increase.

Well, that’s actually not the case according to an article by TechCrunch. Web traffic for Pinterest dropped during the months of June and July of 2013 for the U.S. What’s interesting is that Pinterest reported that the number of users have actually increased month over month due to mobile usage.

Find out why Pinterest's web visitors are dropping.

Pinterest reported that the majority of their traffic comes from mobile usage as of the summer of 2012.

This has huge implications for marketers that are using Pinterest through their desktop and haven’t spent enough time on Android and iPhone devices to see what their pins are like, and how people are interacting with them.

How is the Pinterest Android Smartphone App Different from Desktop?

The Android smartphone app and the desktop version have some very big differences in terms of the user experience, and have huge implications for the future of Pinterest marketing.

In order to understand these differences it’s best to go over some of the different aspects of how Pinterest looks and feels and will help you create better marketing campaigns. Here are seven major ways that Pinterest desktop is different from the Android app.

1) Pins Visually Appear Different on Android Apps and Desktops on the Pinterest Feed

The amount of visual shown is very different compared to desktop devices. In my last blog post, I talked about the Android Ratio. This is the most optimal ratio to show a pin before the “Expand Pin” area shows. By having that “Expand Pin” area it can dramatically cut down the size of the visual that’s being shown on the Pinterest feed.

The Android Ratio is 2.55:1 (length:width). Let’s say a pin has a width of 100 pixels, this means that your pin length should be 255 pixels long if you want to visually make it as long as possible on the Android app without the “Expand Pin” showing. But on a desktop, the best ratio is 3.67:1 pixels long before the “Expand Pin” shows up.

Now with the announcement of Pinterest allowing promoted pins, having the wrong ratio could result in a lot less web traffic, and as a result, a drop in sales.

Let’s say you create a pin that has a call to action or text at the bottom of your pin, and the pin happens to be 100 pixels wide, and 300 pixels long. Sadly your text won’t be seen on the Pinterest feed for Android app users.

2) Sucks to be a Small Font on Android Smartphone

This is a given, but you’ll be surprised how important this is. I own a Samsung Galaxy S3, and it has a pretty big screen for a phone, but it’s definitely nothing compared to the size of my laptop screen or the desktop that I have at home.

I’ve seen a lot of pins that look terrible on the desktop version – the headline font is too small and hard to read, the pictures are wider than they are longer making it a challenge for them to stand out on a Pinterest feed. Now imagine putting those types of pins on even a much smaller screen. People’s eyes are going to start hurting from all the squinting. Just not good.

If your pins have a headline or a quote, make sure it’s nice and visible on an Android smartphone. I will keep a secret board that contains pins that I want to visually test on different devices, and then make corrections on the next pin I create.

I HIGHLY suggest infographic designers do this. You’ll be amazed how many infographics are unreadable on an Android device.

You want to make sure that the lettering is clear and visible to those who view it on Android devices. Let’s say that you happen to be the authour of a book. You don’t want your book title to be too small so that gets lost. Make sure your headlines are big to grab the attention of viewers on Android and PC.

3) Android Requires More Engagement

The desktop version of Pinterest makes it much more easier to Pin and Like. While scanning for pins, if you happen to find one that you like, then you can engage with it on the Pinterest feed. There’s no need to actually click on the pin itself. All you have to do is look for the Pinterest button on the very top of that pin, and its taken care of.

Here’s a visual example, from the Search Marketing Expo‘s Pinterest board for the desktop version of Pinterest.

Social Media Expo Israel . Looked like it was a lot of  fun.

However, Android pins require more effort to pin, and because the user experience may actually prevent easy repinning this may decrease the virality of content. I speculate that most repinning happens impulsively. This is going to sound silly as a Pinterest marketer, but I didn’t know until recently that you could actually hold down on the pin on the Pinterest feed to “Pin it.” The problem is that there’s a bit of a delay and it’s not very intuitive.

Most users on Android who may be ignorant of this fact, will generally tap on the pin itself and then click on the Pin it button on the bottom of the pin. In order to like the pin, or send it to another user, you do have to click on the pin to have those types of engagement.

Here’s a pin created by Pinterest Savvy, that’s been clicked through on the Android device.

How is Pinterest on desktop different from Android?

This means, if you want to maximize the number of repins you HAVE to create pins that rock to encourage Android users to take that extra step.

4) Android has an Edit Home Feed Button

Unlike the other platforms, Android apps have an “Edit Home Feed” button. And it’s only a matter of time before Android users give it ago since it’s so blatant on the app. This feature was supposed to be rolled out by August of 2013 for all devices, but only came out for Android.

The Edit Home Feed button allows people to unfollow boards that they have not repinned from for a long time. And the list of boards to unfollow are created by Pinterest.

This is why it’s even more important to create content that people will repin, because as the number of users on Android continue to rise, so will the number of people who use this feature.

How is Pinterest different on Android and Desktops?
Ensure your pins are repinnable, so you don’t end up on the naughty list. This also keeps you as a company responsible to ensure your pins are relevant.

5) Android Allows for Real Time Pinning

One of the big differences for marketers that use a desktop version of Pinterest and Android app is the ability to do live pinning. On the Android phone, you can take a photo, and then socially share it onto a Pinterest board within seconds. This way your Pinterest fans get to see what you see at a fashion show, a trade convention, or the unveiling of a new product.

It’s very hard to use your desktop to take a photo at a live fashion show and then pin it. But that can easily be done with the Android App.

This way your marketers can do live pinning any time, or a live guest pinner can do that as well.

6) Web Addresses on Android Pin Descriptions are not Cickable.

I wrote about this topic on a guest blog I did for TailWind. Marvel Entertainment’s Pinterest page uploads all their photos, but forgets to link those photos back to their website. Instead the link is always written in the descriptions of the pins.

The major problem is that the link address is only clickable for users of the desktop version, not on mobile devices. So when users see a pin they like from Mavel Entertainment and double click on the pin, all it does is lead to a media file. Therefore causing Marvel Entertainment to lose millions in web traffic.

This is why it’s important to be able to edit the pin under “Source” and ensure you link it to the right web page. This way it’s optimized for click through rates for both desktop and Android App pins.

7)Written Descriptions are Limited on Android

The length of the description showing on Pinterest for desktops are very different in length compared to those of Android. Pins that are on the Pinterest feed seen on the Pinterest desktop can show up to 500 characters. These descriptions don’t get cut off. But on a Pinterest feed for the Android app for a smartphones, the descriptions get cut off at around 125 characters (this really depends on the width of the letters).

This is vital knowledge to marketers. They must put the most important information in those first 125 characters. And ensure that those first few characters are filled with keywords, and a description that grips the curious mind.

Want to know more about how to become a master at Pinterest marketing, then download my book, “How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines.”
Here’s what Kimberly from Fundraiser Help had to say, “Your articles deliver great advice and your free 76-page PDF on ‘How To Search Optimize Your Pins And Boards For Pinterest” is a must read for anyone interested in successfully marketing on Pinterest.”

MCNG’s First Ever Professional Pinterest Link Party

Feel free to add your article about Pinterest at our professional Pinterest link par

Hello everyone,
I’m really excited today! I want thank you so much for joining MCNG’s first professional link up party. For those that may not be familiar with what a link party is, it’s a virtual party where any professional and blogger can add a link to their blog posts on a party host’s site (this time the host being MCNG).

There are guidelines to participate in this link party that I will be going over later that will make this link party a success. The great benefit is that you’re going to get your article exposed to thousands of people over time, and since I write a lot about Pinterest, I’m sharing my community of readers with you, without the requirement of guest blogging. Isn’t that cool?

Here’s a visual example of a beta that MCNG ran last week for their Pinterest link party. Big thanks to Hello Society and Krishna De for participating. Everything worked out beautifully.

Want to have your link about Pinterest added on to our link party?

Here’s a 3 minute video that explains in detail of how to add your link to this link party:


Here are the Party Guidelines to Make this a Success:

Starting Sept 4th at 5pm (PT) to Sept 11th 5pm (PT) any professional social media writer can add a blog post about Pinterest to the link party. I strongly suggest that it be one of your best articles to help drive intrigue and traffic. The early you come to the party, the higher your post will show up in the feed. All you have to do is click on the add link button near the bottom of this article.

Have a 200X200 pixel of a picture ready to upload for our party. This is not necessary, as Inlinkz, the program we use for our link party is able to take pictures off of your site, but they aren’t as good as ones you upload. Have a picture that will lure people in with a good headline and will help stand out.

The title of your link is limited to 50 characters. Feel free to add the name of your blog or company for the extra brand exposure.

Party Etiquette and Rules:

Rule 1: Each guest is allowed to only link one article that must be related to Pinterest marketing.

Rule 2: You must pin content from two other party participants that you believe have great content. Try to pin stuff from people you haven’t connected with before if possible. This way we’re all pinning it forward and everyone at the party benefits.

Rule 3: Kindly link a blog article from MCNG Marketing on your next blog post. So this can be about the one where you participated in a link party.

Rule 4: You must Pin the first image featured on this blog post on one of your Pinterest boards that states that you are participating in a Professional Pinterest Link Party.

Now let’s get the link party started! Add your best articles below. Click on the add links button to get started, and it’s as easy as 1,2,3. Feel free to share this with others social media writers! I’ll also be writing about the results in a follow up post, and will most likely host another link party but for social media articles in general. (That was something that was requested a lot.)

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You’re Invited to Our First Ever Pinterest Link Party for Professionals

You are cordially invited to a link party for Pinterest professionals by MCNG Marketing. Get your marketing blog exposed to thousands.

Are you here to join the link party? Here’s the site for the link party.

What is a Link Party?

Now if you’re wondering what a link party (aka linky party) is, then you’re not alone. When I first heard of the concept from a podcast from Cynthia Sanchez, I didn’t quite understand what it was.

Simply put, a link party is a place where other bloggers can freely add their blog posts on someone else’s site. The person that has all the links on a particular blog post is known as the host.

The host of the link party sets up a designated time for people to start adding their articles on their own usually through programs like Inlinkz. And there is a time restriction as well, so posting can only be added during that time frame. It’s not uncommon for some bloggers to host weekly link parties, while others may do it monthly.

Every Link Party has Guidelines and Rules

The host is responsible for setting up guidelines. Some link parties require that you like the host’s Facebook page, or that you follow them on certain social networks. Others require that you put a badge of the host’s website before participation is allowed. It’s proper etiquette to ensure that no matter what link party you go to that you follow the host’s guidelines.

Link Parties are About Helping Each Other Out

The goal of a link party is to help both attendees and the host promote each other. This way almost everybody benefits from the link party. Community guidelines may require that you visit two additional blogs and comment on them, while others may ask you to Pin the article if you found it useful.

Link parties have been extremely popular among mommy, craft and food bloggers, but for some strange reason, and I don’t know why, there seems to be a lot of resistance from the social media marketing community, even though it’s been shown to drive more traffic to both the host’s website and those of that participate.

I believe creating a professional link party is fun, it’s different, and drives people to a host’s site.

Here’s a picture from the blog, The Girl Creative, this is what a bit of what a link party looks like.

Professional Pinterest Link party hosted by MCNG Marketing. www.mcngmarketing.com

Some link parties have only a few dozen, while I’ve seen others have up to 300 participants. And it can get a little crowded.

Proper Etiquette for Link Parties

When you attend a link party, it’s rude to do a link and run. Adding your link and not participating according to community guidelines.

Most link parties require that you have a thumbnail ready to go, so make sure you know what the exact size is. The link party I’m hosting will allow for 200X200, also be aware of the character limits allowed for the description. For the party I’m hosting, I’m limiting it to 50 characters.

Since the host has been gracious enough to host your link and help you drive traffic, it’s important to do what they’ve requested. If she’s asked you to like their Facebook page, please kindly do so.

And remember to send a thank you either by e-mail or in the comments. Remember it takes time to host these parties, and since anybody can come to the party, they are taking a leap of faith that you’ll be adding your best article or blog post.

Don’t add more than one article to the link party unless the host says it’s okay. Remember it’s about building a community, not a one person show.

And lastly, no spam, selling or any of that junk. Having a good relationship with the host and his or her readers is vital. And if a party is successful you can guarantee that the host will run one again. But don’t jeopardize that relationship for the quick sell.

How It’s Beneficial for Marketers and Bloggers

1) It gives smaller audience bloggers a chance to expose themselves to a larger audience. So if you just started a social media blog and want to get new readers, this is a great way to go.

2) It reaches a different audience. Each blogger will have a different audience and readership than yours, and this allows you to reach that new audience. I was able to reach a whole new audience by guest blogging with PinLeague.

3) It helps build relationships. At the party you’ll be required to interact with others, whether it’s through commenting, or repinning. This will help you engage with others in your community and develop relationships with influencers and like minded people. This could lead to partnerships and guest blogging opportunities.

4) It’s faster than guest blogging. Don’t have time to spend 3-5 hours guest blogging? Link parties are a good solution for the time strapped marketer.

I decided I wanted to host my own, and went to Linkedin to see if there were any responses from Pinterest marketers and enthusiasts. Though it wasn’t much it was a start, but Julie Gallaher from Get on the Map, Melissa Megginson from Pinleague, and Penney Fox from Inner Socialmedianess thought it was a great idea. We want to extend an invitation to all those that do blog about Pinterest as a marketer, or blogger to join us.

How do You Add Your Link to a Link Party?

Depending on the type of program the host is using, all you need to do is click on the add link button. You’ll see it on the bottom left hand side. From there there will be instructions on what to do next.

How to add a link to a Link Party using Inlinkz by MCNG Marketing.

When does MCNG Marketing Host their First Official Link party?

The party officially starts on Sept 4th (Wednesday at 5pm PT) and ends at Sept 11th 5PT, and you can participate by visiting our blog (remember, the people that come early get to be in the top spots of it). This means during that entire week people can add their own site.

To do this you must have a 200X200 pixel thumbnail ready, as well as 50 character description.

Each guest is allowed to only link one article that must be related to Pinterest marketing, (I will most likely open up one for social media in the near future). I highly encourage that the article be the best one you have, since peers may be repinning it. Now you’re probably wondering what’s the catch? You’re right to assume there is one. This is a party after all, and you can’t just link and go, that’s just poor etiquette.

Rule 1: You must Pin the featured picture of the blog post that the party is happening, that states that you are participating in a Professional Pinterest Link Party.

Rule 2: You must Pin content from two other party participants that you believe have great content. Try to pin stuff from people you haven’t connected with before if possible. This way we’re all pinning it forward. This way everyone in the community benefits.

Rule 3: Kindly link a blog article from MCNG Marketing on your next blog post. So this can be about the one where you participated in a link party.

Feel free to give it a test run right now! Add one of your previous post to it and see how full of awesomeness a link party can have.

Krishna De of KrishnaDe.com had a wonderful suggestion about providing the blog link ahead of time. Here’s the link to where the party will be hosted, but it won’t be ready until the morning of September 4th. For now it will lead to a blank website (404). But make sure you put this down in your calendar.

http://www.mcngmarketing.com/pinterest-link-party

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