Advanced Pinterest Implementation Strategies

In our previous post titled “How to Leverage Pinterest for Your Brand or Company,” Felicity provided a great introduction to the emerging social media platform and virtual cork board.  We saw that it can lead to some pretty large impacts on traffic and that it can be a great way to interact with customers. In this post, I share techniques that will get your site on more boards, gain you more followers, and put your pins at the top of Pinterest search results.

The Pin It Button for Websites

Incorporating the “Pin it” button into your website or blog will allow visitors to easily bookmark your site and share your images and pages with their network of followers. This could gain your site a lot of visibility and could lead to additional traffic. Also, there is always the potential for your content to go viral if Pinners decide to re-pin, Like, or Tweet pins of your site. An added benefit of integrating the Pin It button into your site is the option to choose the image to be pinned and the description of the pin.

To create your “Pin it” button, head over to Pinterest’s Goodies page and scroll down to the “Pin It” Button for Websites section. You’ll be greeted by the simple form above which allows you to customize your button. Once you fill out these fields, you can then copy the code and place it on your site to generate the button. Also, be sure to choose between the vertical, horizontal, and no count versions of the button. There is also an advanced button code, which allows you to place different versions of the button on one page of your site. This call-to-action button will encourage interaction and the sharing of your posts.

The Follow Button for Websites

To attract more followers to your Pinterest account, you can place a Follow Me On Pinterest button on your site. This button creator can be found on the same Goodies page of Pinterest. To create this button, all you have to do is login to the Pinterest account that you would like to create the button for, choose your favorite flavor of the Follow Button, and copy and paste the respective code into your site’s backend. This action could attract more followers, which could then lead to your pins getting more views.

WordPress Plugins for Pinterest

Numerous WordPress Plugins have been developed to even more easily incorporate the Pin It button into your site or blog’s posts and pages. The Pin It on Pinterest Plugin places a module into each post’s backend, allowing you to specify descriptions and images for each of your Pin it buttons all within the post editing screen and without having to mess around with any code at all. Similar plugins have started to make it to other platforms like Joomla!.

Pinterest Search Rankings

Now that we’ve covered how to implement Pinterest buttons on your site, I would like to share some tactics that could gain your pins and boards more views on itself. One tactic to accomplish this is to optimize your Pins for Pinterest’s search function. Currently, Pinterest search results seem to be ranked based on keywords contained in the Pins’ descriptions, and to some degree, the number of Likes and Repins a Pin receives. As you can see in the search results above, it seems that incorporating additional instances of the targeted search term could lead to ranking higher in the search results. The top two results for the search “sweaters” returned two pins with “sweaters, sweaters, sweaters” in the description. You should definitely keep this in mind if you’re trying to rank for specific search terms in Pinterest.

Inspired Pinterest Boards

Similar to content creation strategies, shareability and user interaction goals should be pursued for each Pinterest board you create. Currently, many brands are leveraging boards to share their brand personality with Pinners, but boards can also be used to drive conversions. By creating boards that bring together related products into strategic collections, you could see results in your site’s revenue. For example, if you are in the DIY sector, you can create a board highlighting potential projects that link to products on your site. These pins could drive traffic to product pages of your site and lead to conversions. Another example of this strategy relates to the Fashion industry. Creating boards with curated outfits could lead to sales. In essence, your boards could be elevated to the level of inspired catalogs, which could drive a significant number of conversions. Yet, the possibilities for your Pinterest boards are almost limitless and should be approached as strategic opportunities to bring you closer to your online marketing goals or closer to your audience.

Pursuing these techniques should bring your brand or company additional visibility in Pinterest and could lead to some great results in your monthly traffic and conversion numbers. I encourage you to have fun experimenting with this new social media outlet and to measure the results your efforts have.

Yahoo! and Bing Search Getting Rich

Google this, Google that. Google is no doubt the celebrity of search, creating formidable buzz and coverage with even the most inconsequential of updates: “How will the wavy Google Doodle affect your Ad Rank?! Jeremy Lin explains next.” I assume that Yahoo! and Bing have long grown weary of Google incessantly dominating conversations about search advertising. While Google continues to sustain a comfy search market share at 66%, Yahoo! and Bing cannot be eschewed with 14% and 15%, respectively.

For those unaware, Microsoft AdCenter is the platform used to manage ads on both the Yahoo! and Bing search engines (similar to AdWords with Google). AdCenter has recently re-launched a rehashed refresher of its captivating, feature-heavy ad format: Rich Ads in Search.

Once RAIS is enabled, which requires contacting a Yahoo! representative, it can be used to bid on up to 500 exact match branded keywords (it is currently available for branded terms only). Rich Ads will display in the top position only, displacing other standard text ads to the right side bar of the search results page. RAIS allows for inclusion of the following features in your ads:

  • Additional links (think Google Sitelinks)
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Icons
  • Form Field
  • Product Info

AdCenter claims that this format enhances existing campaigns by building a stronger brand presence through prominent placement, as well as generating higher click-through and conversion rates. In fact, RAIS allegedly averages a 30 – 35% click-through rate and a 40 – 50% higher click-through rate in comparison to standard text ads. They will be slightly more expensive though—bids must be higher in order to indicate that these Rich Ads are the preferred format. AdCenter recommends a 50% higher bid for RAIS than standard text ads.

It seems that the standout feature is the option to include a form field within your ad. For instance, a field could be included for zip code submission that would generate a list of nearby stores, a very appealing offer for local businesses. Also, the ability to include an engaging video within your ad is quite desirable and could provide that extra nudge needed to convert a searcher into a fan or consumer.

While Google remains the main event with the most packed arena, Yahoo! and Bing are making some concerted aesthetic changes to rally some of the crowd.

Enhanced Sitelinks for More Exposure

What are sitelinks?

While Google launched sitelink extensions back in June 2010 for the first time to allow businesses to get more exposure by displaying additional destination URLs below their ads, Google has taken it one step further, announcing ‘Enhanced Sitelinks’ for AdWords users just recently.

Up until now, advertisers could create up to 10 sitelink extensions per campaign in their AdWords account to show additional links beyond that of just the main landing page in their ads. The performance of the sitelinks can be viewed in the ad extensions tab where the extensions could also be edited to resemble up-to-date website information related to each campaign. While ads on desktop computers and tablets can display two, four, or six links along with the display URL of the ad, mobile phones with full Internet browsers can show up to two sitelink extensions.

Why advertisers want to use sitelinks?

There are a few reasons why advertisers should use sitelink extensions. For one, these links can serve as shortcuts, allowing users to quickly see related content to the product / service that is being offered in the ad, as well as directing customers to specials and promotions, which will push them further along in the buying cycle. Furthermore, advertisers can also show links to similar products as those promoted in the actual ad on Google. This could help promote and compare your own brands to name brand products in order to raise brand awareness and exposure for your proprietary brand. Sitelinks also make it easy to show additional information, i.e. a 30% off promotion or a holiday special, that affects all products / services in the campaign but could not be added to the actual ad due to character limits. It is also easy to keep sitelinks updated as you can just add them within the ad extensions tab without having to re-write the entire ad in the campaign itself.

The idea behind sitelinks is to grab the attention of customers and lead them to the page that best suits their buying needs. Therefore, it is recommended to keep link text short and sweet (KISS – Keep It Short and Simple!). The shorter the sitelinks, the more sitelinks Google will have the opportunity to show, and the more Google can choose from the better.

What are enhanced sitelinks?

Let’s talk a little bit more about the new feature that Google recently added to sitelink extensions. First and foremost, enhanced sitelinks are only eligible for campaigns that already use sitelink extensions. Meaning, existing ads must already show with two or three lines of sitelinks and must appear above the Google search results. Secondly, the AdWords account must contain other ads that Google believes to be related to the existing sitelinks. Google then chooses to automatically enhance sitelinks with additional information that is pulled directly from content that is provided on the advertiser’s website. With this additional information added to sitelinks, ads have the potential to become more relevant to potential customers.

Here is an example provided by Google:

This is an ad created for one of the campaigns in the AdWords account, which includes 4 sitelinks:

Moreover, the account could also include the following ads in different ad groups / campaigns:

While these text ads include information that is similar to the sitelinks used in the first ad, Google might add the information of the latter text ads to enhance the sitelink information of the first ad. It could end up looking like this:

The cost associated with this new feature simply equals the cost of a click on the display URL of the same ad. No matter which link the user clicks on, advertisers will be charged the same amount.

How to implement enhanced sitelinks?

The biggest question remaining is how to implement this new feature in the account. As compared to the implementation of current sitelink extensions so far, Google decides whether or not to show enhanced sitelinks. What advertisers can do, however, is make sure that their current sitelinks are closely related to other ads, as shown in the example by Google, and most importantly, add up to 10 sitelinks in each of the active campaigns in an account. As Google only enhances sitelinks with information that’s similar, it is important to go through the account and update sitelinks with new information, as well as review ad copy to ensure similarities. While matching ad text and sitelinks more closely will be a new challenge for advertisers, they should not forget the main purpose of having relevant information shown to users in order to fully benefit from this feature.

Analyzing enhanced sitelinks performance

The performance of enhanced sitelinks can be viewed on the ad extensions tab by clicking the ‘Segment’ dropdown menu and selecting ‘click type.’ However, Google does not seem to differentiate between the performance of normal sitelinks and enhanced sitelink extensions. Moreover, there is currently no option to see if and when Google is showing enhanced sitelinks. As Google has just released this new feature and advertisers are working toward showing enhanced sitelinks, there will hopefully be an option to do so coming soon.

In conclusion

It will definitely be interesting to see if this new feature can help increase the overall CTR (click-through rate) of sitelink extensions beyond the 30% higher CTR that Google claims sitelinks already produce compared to campaigns without. While ad copy, landing pages, and sitelinks should already be matched closely, this feature now allows advertisers to also display additional information about the same or similar products with the same ad. Incorporating this feature could help cross-sell products / services, as well as support the upselling of customers who are already further along in the buying cycle.

Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas: Make Customers your Sweetheart this Year

Read our new article on Valentine’s Day for updated information on Valentine’s Day Marketing!

As we all know (because retailers started promoting it before our Christmas trees were even brown) Valentine’s Day is upon us again.  This is typically seen as our annual reminder to parade our loved ones with affection, romance, and surely some sappy gifts, but it is also a much-overlooked opportunity for businesses to do the same and show they are smitten with customers. Here are some marketing ideas on how to say, “I love you,” and cultivate customer loyalty this Valentine’s Day.

Contests and giveaways

If staying in theme, hold a 14-day contest for a product or service giveaway via your website and social media. People love free stuff and are even willing to work for it. If in need of some feedback, ask that customers complete a brief survey to be entered into a drawing. There’s a strong likelihood that your contest will result in positive karma for your company in the form of some always welcome (and free) exposure from bloggers promoting the giveaway to their readers and customers sharing it with their network.

Develop a frequent shopper program

If you have a brick and mortar store, you can create a check-in program through Foursquare or Gowalla to offer a free or discounted product after a specified number of visits. For online retailers, you can offer a coupon code in your receipt or post-purchase email. Even lead gen operations can offer an incentive for referral love.

Coordinate a daily deal special

Hook up with Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, or any number of these daily deal companies to offer a discount on product offerings. This can be especially lucrative if your product happens to be couples oriented, like a massage or water bike ride. This opportunity allows you to cozy up with both new and existing customers.

Promote a coupon or discount through email and social media

Even your most traditional ‘20% off with coupon code FREE’ can go a long way, especially when offering this incentive to current customers. Shoppers have become all too accustomed to seeing such promotions only offered to new customers.

Send sweet nothings and other messages of affection

Utilizing social media or an email newsletter, send out regular customer care oriented notes, letting customers know just how much they are appreciated.

Get festive

You can share Valentine’s cheer through in-store decorations or online by sweetening up your website or blog. A great example of this was Gilt Groupe, a discount designer website, which integrated hearts into their product detail pages for those items that could be delivered by the big day. Another impressive marketing move on Gilt’s part was the use of love letters hidden throughout the website. If you found all three, you were automatically entered into a drawing.

Create a themed application

Develop a complimentary app, game, or tool that customers can utilize for their own Valentine’s (or otherwise) pleasure. This may be a card template that users can customize and send out to the apple of their eye. It may also be a custom Facebook app that fans can share or play depending upon the functionality. This option would probably be the most time, labor, and cost intensive but may also have the greatest payoff and allow for high levels of creativity.

Keep in mind that there’s no reason to wait until Valentine’s Day to express love for all of your customers. This should be a year-round initiative.

Let me take this opportunity to say thanks to all of our Leverage Marketing clients and partners. Happy Valentine’s Day! Contact us at Leverage Marketing to learn more about how to take advantage of these Valentine’s Day marketing tips.

How to Leverage Pinterest for Your Brand or Company




Pin It

The new buzz going around the Internet world is Pinterest, a virtual cork board where you can save and share the things that interest you most. Find a recipe online you have to try?  Pin It. Find your favorite quote online? Pin It. From recipes to home décor to travel and creative ideas, Pinterest is the website to store it all.

What is Pinterest?

When you come across something you love while browsing the Internet, you no longer have to worry about bookmarking the page, emailing the link to yourself, or printing out a copy and saving it for a later date. With Pinterest, you can simply compile all of your great findings in one location online, available for you and whoever is following your pins to view at anytime. It’s made bookmarking into a social experience, more in line with how we use the Internet in 2012.  In addition to the followers viewing your pins, you can also view the pins of the people you are following and repin what your followers are posting. Pinterest provides the option to search for ideas or items that spark an interest. Browse through a live feed of items that are being pinned by strangers and repin them to the boards you have created.

How to Get Started? 

First things first, visit the Pinterest website to request an invite to create an account. Or if you know someone who currently has a Pinterest account, ask them to send you an invite, as this may be the quickest way to get an account started. Go ahead, ask me for an invite if you need one. Once you receive your invite, create your new Pinterest account using your current Facebook or Twitter account or by simply signing up. Now that you have your account set up, add the Pin It button found in the About section located in the top navigation bar to your bookmarks bar. This will allow you to pin anything from any page you visit online. Create your boards and start pinning.

How Can Pinterest be Used for SEO?

There are a few benefits that Pinterest can offer your SEO campaign.  Use Pinterest as part of your linkbuilding strategy. Links from Pinterest are “followed,” which means they pass particularly strong value. Once you create a new pin, your feed is instant and readily available for your followers to see. Pinterest allows you to create a pin that will provide a hyperlinked image, description, and link to your website on two pages of the Pinterest website. One page being the actual pin page and the second page being the board created for the pins. Make your pins interesting to your followers. You want your followers to repin what you have posted for your campaign, creating a viral SEO campaign through Pinterest.

Analyzing Your Pinterest Results

Now that you know what Pinterest is and how to use it, let’s take a look at the results we have seen so far for our clients. On top of the great ease of use, viral potential, and demographic targeting possible with Pinterest, another great facet of the hot social media site is how measureable it is. If you follow our Pinterest best practices, you should begin to see pop up in your referral traffic reports in Google Analytics. Within this referral traffic report you can see the exact engagement metrics for traffic gained from, and thus far, we have found that Pinterest traffic metrics can vary widely. However, the constant across Pinterest referral metrics is a high percentage of new visits. Additionally, we are seeing month-to-month increases in traffic from Pinterest. This is an indication that the adoption rate of this new social media platform could be increasing rapidly.

Also, if you dive deeper into Analytics you can break down the data even further. For instance, you can see which specific pin led to the most referral traffic, which page this pin was linked to, the specific engagement metrics garnered from traffic through that pin, conversions from that pin, and more. In fact, most all of the power of Analytics is applicable to Pinterest referral traffic since all pins have their own unique URL. By monitoring which pins drive the most traffic, what type of content is most successful on Pinterest, and other key metrics, you can begin to form strategies around how to improve success on Pinterest.

In Conclusion

Incorporating Pinterest into your social media and SEO strategy moving forward will only become more important as Pinterest gains users and market penetration. Pinterest has already become a household term and making sure your site is well optimized for this social media platform could lead to large impacts on your referral traffic, your conversions, and more. Happy pinning!