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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Social Media Marketing for Your Etsy Shop, Truly Rich Pins on Pinterest... or Not

Two days does not valid research make, but the results are so different I think the conclusions we draw will match the longer term research.

Thursday I made some posts to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram of items in my Etsy shop.

Friday I did no social media marketing.

There's just such a huge difference in views, it seems very telling.

It's not even the favorites or the orders (although in the end it IS the orders)... but five times the views!  Wow!

I've only got 50 or so products in my Etsy shop and it's a jumbled mess so I don't expect high views right now.

Once I get the shop sorted out, however, I'd like to go to 200 views per day and then 300.  I have some friends who get 5-6 views a day and I have friends who get 500-600 views a day.  What do you all think might be some of the differences?

Really Getting Rich Pins on Pinterest

This post has been edited because the nice people at IndieMade shared some information with me that may help me understand some of the fluctuations I saw.  Thanks guys!

I've reposted their comments at the bottom of my post.  

You are about to read a stream of consciousness.  What I'm about to show you is how I wasted some good work time trying to figure something out and as you'll see in the end, nothing was resolved.  I'm telling you this ahead of time so you do NOT believe any of the things I say at first... when I *think* I know what's going on.  Follow along on this journey through me trying to figure out rich pins and you'll see what I mean.

So I noticed the other day that not all my pins are equal, so I am going about trying to figure out why.

Both my Etsy site and my regular website are rich-pin enabled.

So here's a screen shot of two items I posted this morning.

One of the first things I notice is that when I choose which image I want to pin from my listing, if I select the main photo, I get the better text (example: "Abstract Hammered Copper Scarf Pin -- Bracken Designs Studio Art Jewelry").

If I select one of the other images, the text that's displayed is whatever I wrote for the jpg description if I assigned it some text... not sure if those are officially called metatags or not (that's on my IndieMade website... we'll discuss Etsy in a minute).  So for the non-main photo selected, we see "ring hand model" because that's the text that I used to identify that image in my listing.  If I don't write any text for a photo while I'm creating my listing, the default is to use the listing title in which case they'd all be identical like you'll see with the Etsy photos.

When I select the main photo, I get a nice bold title beneath the photo.

Another thing about using the "main photo".  IndieMade (my website host) uses a main photo for each listing that is smaller than the actual photo.  This gives the customer the option to click onto that (or any other photo) and see the full size version of the photo only if they wish to.  Etsy does the same thing but for some reason Pinterest interprets it differently.

So here is how it looks when I am about to pin an item and it gives me the image choices (BTW, you can click on any photo in my blog to see a larger version).

Here it displays all the images in my listing (this is from my IndieMade website).  Notice that the first image and the last image look identical.  They are... kind of.  What they are is the main image for my listing and the full size image if someone wants to click on the main image to see it larger.

This is important to note because they make a difference where Pinterest is concerned.  The first image (far left) is the blown up full size version of the image.  I can tell because the text beneath the image is just the metatags I used for the image.  But if you don't add metatags (like our Etsy example coming up), the text is identical on each photo.

So then how you'd know if you have the main photo is by hovering your mouse over the two images.  That brings up the size of the image.  The larger one is NOT the main photo.  So if you want that nice bold title on your Pinterest post, make sure you select the smaller photo.

Here, btw, is what the image options look like if I Pin from my Etsy shop.

Some of the differences:
  1. None of the images are the actual full size... they are all less than 600 pixels which is, I'm assuming, what Etsy shows prior to the customer clicking on the image for a better look.
  2. The title that shows on my pin will be the same no matter which image I select (it's the listing title) because you can't add metatags to images in Etsy.
  3. Pinterest also grabs a couple extra photos... from my ABOUT ME page.
And to further emphasize RICH PINS, here's what it looks like when you click on a rich pin.

You see the name of the website URL, the title of the piece (or metatags associated with that image), the price, and the descriptive name of my shop.

Compare that with the pin that was NOT my main image.

My website URL... that's it.

Okay, that was how to Pin from my IndieMade website.

Now for Etsy...

I pinned that same non-main image but from my Etsy Shop.

For this pin it IS a rich pin (see price, store name, listing title, etc).

So it SEEMS as though pinning any photo from Etsy still gives you a rich pin.  Or so I thought.  Until I saw this.

I ran across a pin where someone else had pinned an item from my Etsy shop.

Why oh why is this not a rich pin? 

To make matters worse, here's the same listing... when I pinned it it became a rich pin.

Oh, but it gets better.  Because it isn't getting confusing enough, now I see this.

This is not a main photo... it is from my IndieMade website... and yet it's a Rich Pin.

What gives?

Where's the rhyme and reason?

Yes, I'm one of those people.  I want an explanation for everything.

I was the "why" kid.

Why are some of my pins rich and others not?  I want to know so I can assure they will always be rich pins.

Well, if you look close at the bottom of the one where someone else posted one of my items, it does have the title and price and name of my shop there... sort of all run together.

BTW, thank you Tara Waters (and others) for posting my necklace to Pinterest.  I'm honored when people take the time to add any of my work to social media.  I'm truly delighted.

Okay, I'm getting that overwhelmed feeling trying to figure out a pattern.  I'll leave it for now and if I ever understand it, I'll come back here.

I'm not one for arbitrariness.

Well, I can't go to bed with this hanging over my head, so a wee bit more experimentation first.

I go to my IndieMade website first and pin the following:
  1. Red enamel earrings -- main (smaller) photo
  2. Red enamel earrings -- same photo but expanded version
  3. Red enamel earrings -- model photo 
The results...

Why on earth does the third one say "from Bracken Designs Studio Art Jewelry" and have the nice bold listing title and the other two don't?  Basically, why is #3 the rich pin?!

When you click on each one, as can be guessed at, the only one that is truly a rich pin (and shows the price of the listing) is #3... the model photo.

So not only am I wrong with my theory of WHICH pins become rich based on which image you select, but now we're immersed in arbitraryness.  A place I'm totally uncomfortable.  I'm a pattern person.  I need things to make sense and this doesn't.

Okay, now I'm going over to my Etsy shop and do the same thing and we'll see what I get.

Dumbfounded once again.

Pin #1 was the main image on my Etsy listing.  #'s 2 and 3 were extra photos on the listing.

Why is #1 the rich pin?

Maybe I can establish ONE pattern... maybe with Etsy listings you only get the rich pin if you select the main photo.  BRB

Well, I *did* discover something.  I ought to scrap this blog post and save myself some embarrassment, but what the heck.  If you don't know by now what I'm like, it's time you did.

So I posted three pins from another Etsy listing... this time out of order (1st was an extra photo, 2nd was an extra photo, 3rd was the main photo).

This time I ended up hitting refresh on my Pinterest board page and guess what... suddenly all my etsy posts turned into rich pins.  Here are the images from before and after refreshing the page.

You can see all three did become rich pins (bottom row) after I refreshed the page.

So it's good to know that if your pin doesn't look rich right away, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a rich pin.

So I still would like to figure out:
  1. Why not all my pins from my IndieMade shop become rich pins
  2. Why it's arbitrary which pins from my IndieMade shop become rich pins.
  3. Why a few of the pins from other people of items in my etsy shop are not showing up as rich pins (it seems most items posted of my stuff by other people ARE turning into rich pins).
EDITED: As promised, here's the comment from one nice IndieMade representative who's trying to help me solve the mystery.

She said: "Laura, thanks for this extensive experiment. I work with IndieMade and they took at look at your questions and here's what I've got. IndieMade includes Rich Pins for every item but Pinterest "caches" versions of a page, to make their software faster. So you might be seeing an older version of the page that didn't have the rich pins. (For example their FAQ on this says "For older Pins, it may take a few weeks for them to appear as Rich Pins.") They're going to run a few tests to see if they can see what's going on."

I very much appreciate their response and I will indeed see if anything changes on my "test pins" a month from now.  As of today, the IndieMade pins made NOT from the main photo are not always turning into rich pins.  These are new pins so... we'll wait and see.

And now I have a date with the third book in the Maze Runner series.  Yes, I'm a huge fan of young adult fiction.


  1. Good post, thanks for sharing your quest- They don't make it easy do they?

    1. If I could figure it out I'd be much happier. :-)

  2. HAHAHAHA - I couldn't even finish reading the POST without my eyes glazing over. I don't know a thing about rich pins and I just don't have the patience you have Laura! I just wish I could pay someone to do all this stuff.....if only I could!

    1. Oh trust me... I was pretty glazed over by the end of writing this. I'm still determined to at least TRY to figure out the randomness.

  3. Oh it's all kinds of fun. I adjusted prices in my shop for consistency, several pieces got raised and one pair of earrings went down. On Pinterest the rich pin showed the drop in price, like it was on sale. Was $ with a slash and Now $. So many things to consider.

    1. Well that's funny! I never would have thought it'd do that. Good to know!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Laura,
    Thanks for this extensive experiment. I work with IndieMade and they took at look at your questions and here's what I've got. IndieMade includes Rich Pins for every item but Pinterest "caches" versions of a page, to make their software faster. So you might be seeing an older version of the page that didn't have the rich pins. (For example their FAQ on this says "For older Pins, it may take a few weeks for them to appear as Rich Pins.")

    They're going to run a few tests to see if they can see what's going on.

  6. Thanks Cynthia! These were brand new pins, but I'll check on them in another couple of weeks to see if they convert to rich or not. Again, it seems to just be the non-main photos of a listing that are not turning into rich pins.

  7. Thanks for all the insight you shared. I have found it’s always worth it to take the time and experiment with different platforms as the results will surprise you. I have also found that you can’t take someone else’s recommendations and just apply them to your shop/business, since niches differ so much and what would work for a jewellery shop might not work for a clothing line.

    Lindsey @ Nosto Solutions Ltd