Video on Pinterest – What Marketers Need to Know9 min read


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If youโ€™re seeing more video on Pinterest lately (and I bet you are), you probably have more questions than answers:

  • How does video work on Pinterest?
  • Can it REALLY be effective for generating website traffic?
  • How can I get more Pinterest referral traffic from video Pins
  • Is there an easy way for beginners to create compelling Pinterest video content?

Let’s dig in, shall we?

How Does Video Work on Pinterest?

Upload a video to Pinterest and it auto plays on mobile and looks like this:

Pretty eye catching, eh? ๐Ÿ‘€

You can Pin a YouTube video or a .gif to Pinterest, but it won’t auto play. ๐Ÿ˜ž For that reason, and because YouTube still shots will appear as tiny images in the feed, you might be better off creating a Pin-worthy image and linking that to the video either on YouTube or in a blog post.

You may also find video Pins on desktop, but so far, I’ve only seen them if I include the word “video” in my search, and they do not auto play.

Video Pins were first introduced as a paid-only Pin format and appear to be available in countries which also allow Pinterest advertising (US, UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy).

Video – Front and Center on Pinterest

You’ll likely notice that videos also appear at the TOP of your search results on mobile. Though not auto play in that spot (at least not for me!), what would you pay to get your content there – at the TOP of the feed?

If you click to view more, you’ll see a Facebook/Instagram-y feed of videos that could easily keep you busy for hours. You want your content there.

While video is relatively new to Pinterest and as marketers are figuring out how best to use video there, take advantage of the prime placement and lack of competition today! Ready to get started?

If you’d prefer to watch and learn, check out this recent broadcast I did with Jeff Sieh and Kate Ahl on Facebook.



How to Upload a Video to Pinterest

It’s easy! Create a video Pin the way you’d create an image Pin!

  1. Click the red + to the right of your account name at the top of the screen.

2. Upload your video, add a destination URL and description (don’t forget the hashtags!), and if you don’t have Rich Pins enabled for this site, add a title. Keep your keywords in mind all the while.

3. Choose the Board from the drop-down menu.

4. Select “Publish immediately” or “Publish at a later date,” to schedule your video Pin for later.

That’s it! Your video will be reviewed and posted when approved (Pinners report approval in a few hours to a few days). You’ll be able to see the video on your own account right away from the “videos” tab on your profile and it may show a notice regarding it’s pending status.

Note: There is no way to schedule video Pins outside of Pinterest’s scheduler – yet. If you are interested in being a beta tester for scheduling via Tailwind, please contact support through the Tailwind dashboard and let us know!

Can Pinterest Video Really Drive Website Traffic?

Much like the question, “Can Pinterest drive website traffic?” the answer is, “it depends.”

So far, for the few tests I’ve run, video Pins get quite a nice little bump in views right away. It helps that they appear along the top of the search results. However, as you know, impressions don’t always result in clicks!

In most of my tests, the click-through rates have been pretty terrible (we’re talking .1%) In this case, where the video has been promoted, we see an overall 1% CTR which is higher than the average CTR on Promoted Pins in general and for ours as well!

Full disclosure here, the videos I have so far tested have not been of the kind that Pinterest recommends (see those suggestions below), so it’s really no wonder they didn’t take off and rather surprising that this Promoted Pin is working. Let’s just call this an exercise in validating what DOESN’T work, shall we? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looking at the Promoted data specifically, the cost per impression is much lower than nearly all of my other promotions (so, this is the time to promote video!), but so is the save rate, which means that this video isn’t likely to deliver a lot of free downstream clicks for us. That’s alright though – the cost per click here is so low, it’s absolutely worth it for us.

How to Get More Pinterest Referral Traffic from Video Pins

Leave Them Wanting More

If you’ve ever found infographics to be fantastic for engagement (oh, the saves!) but lousy for traffic generation (wah wahhhh), you’ve may have come to this invaluable realization:

If you give everything away in your Pin, whether it’s an infographic or a video, you leave people no reason to click through to your site.

Bring back the mystery by teasing the value instead of laying it all out and your CTR will rise.

The finished product (so cute!) makes me want to make one myself, but I’m not going to be able to do it just by watching the video. So, I’m going to have to click through to the site!

Tell An Inspiring Story

Pinterest is all about inspiration and aspiration, after all! And just as lifestyle images work well because they help people imagine your product or service enriching your life, so can your videos!

Show the progression of a simple project you want to teach, or illustrate your product in action. There’s so much more you can “say” with video!

And while you can try out clever and simple “video” tricks like stitching together images to create a video, Pinterest reports that people watched actual videos with story lines 32% longer than they watch a gif or series of animated stills.

Try Something New

There’s also a lot of room for experimenting. This clever Pin with the dynamic background stopped me in my tracks:

There are already quite a few “videos” showing up in the feed that just swap out the color of the text, or move one element. At the top of the feed, this feels a little too obviously a ploy to grab attention, but not for the right reasons, and not in a way that adds much value. Still, if it works (for now), there’s no harm, either!

Start Off Strong

Hook people in fast! My Promoted Video opens with a white screen, which was not intentional (still testing here!), but it still has a great click-through rate. Maybe the blank video made people curious?

Don’t rely on such happy accidents though – make sure your opening scene will stand out in the feed – and choose a good cover image when uploading (hint: you can upload a custom cover image).

This opening scene sucks you right in!

Brand Your Videos

While many small businesses don’t make “awareness” a priority and may not even be tracking their progress in that area, there’s no reason to ignore it – especially when you can get so much for free!

With Pinterest investing in featuring video and encouraging its use by offering priority placement and affordable ads, you can get your brand name in front of people with your videos in a way that might not be possible with still images right now.

Make sure your logo or brand name features prominently, but tastefully in your videos. If it’s practical to leave the logo up for the length of the video, go for it!

American Eagle gets it.

Don’t Count on the Sound

Video plays without sound unless someone clicks on the Pin to enable audio – and most people aren’t likely to do so – especially if they’re browsing Pinterest while standing in line at the grocery store!

If a spoken message is important to your message, use a text overlay.

Short and Sweet Videos

Pinterest reports that shorter videos work best. Since Pinners are accustomed to scrolling and tapping rather than settling in to watch a video, keep it around 20 seconds or so. I’m seeing view times between 4 and 11 seconds, but will be working to increase that!

Easy Ways to Create Pinterest Video Pins

First, let’s get the technical details out Pinterest video of the way:

  • File type: .mp4 or .mov
  • Max file size: Up to 2GB
  • Video length: Minimum 4 seconds, maximum 15 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: Shorter than 1:2 (width:height), taller than 1.91:1. We recommend making your videos square (1:1) or vertical (2:3, 9:16).

Square is easy, since you can simply use what works on Facebook and Instagram, but since the standard 2:3 works so well with regular Pins, give that a try for your video as well.

Tools To Easily Create Video for Pinterest

I asked Manly Pinterest Tips’ Jeff Sieh for his recommendations. No surprise, he had a bunch!

  1. VideoLeap – mix videos, use green screens. There’s almost nothing you CAN’T do with this iPhone app! Pricing starts at $5.99/month.
  2. Promo – one million businesses have used Promo to create stunning video for all kinds of uses! $39/month. Industry-specific templates make it easy.
  3. Wave – with built-in stock video and the ability to upload and resize your own video, Wave makes it easy. Pricing starts at forever free.
  4. Swish – create videos on your iPhone in three minutes! Templates and music clips included. $9.99/month or $59.99/year. (iPhone)
  5. Slider – (wordswag) – create animated stories on your phone. Brand with your logo and colors. Free (mobile app).
  6. Instagram Stories – repurpose your Stories on Pinterest! Free ๐Ÿ™‚
  7. Adobe Rush – shoot, create, and edit – across devices. Free to start, $9.99/month
  8. Filmora – simple, and $59.99 for lifetime access with free trial. Add titles, effects, and overlays.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know!

In Conclusion:

Can video Pins work to drive Pinterest traffic to your site? Absolutely! Following suggestions provided by Pinterest and running your own video Pin experiments can help you take advantage of a standout format on Pinterest for the good of your business.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, either. There’s a video-editing program available for every level of skill and every budget.

Have you tried video Pins on Pinterest? What’s your experience been like? Please let us know!

Pin it for later ๐Ÿ“Œ:

9 thoughts on “Video on Pinterest – What Marketers Need to Know9 min read

  1. Thank you for the insights, Alisa!

    Last week when I started uploading video I got messages that the video had to be less than 10mb and woudnโ€™t upload. Which was yikes because I was having trouble keeping them that small. Will have to revisit that notice again. Hopefully it was a glitch. 2GB is so much more useful!

  2. (video size part 2 ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I went back today and Pinterest let me upload a larger file just fine! That’s a relief.

  3. Now that I’ve upgraded my Tailwind account to Premium, it’s time to go blogging again with full speed… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks Alisa!

  4. Wow, I scheduled video pins to tribes and didn’t know they weren’t working! Also I think videos take a longer time to appear, because when I shared a link to my video pin immediately after the upload, no one was able to see it.
    Thanks so much for sharing this information, Alisa!

    1. You’re very welcome, Alina! Yeah, it takes a couple of business days for videos to be reviewed and start circulating. I started to see notification of that in my “videos” tab on my profile – have you seen that?

  5. Thanks for the extra push! I love using video. Since hearing Kate talk about it on her podcast, Iโ€™ve really been focusing on creating more video pins and testing out various forms of it. I recently started using the Unfold app and itโ€™s been great for incorporating static images and video together, and you can overlay text as well.

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