Pinning videos isn’t just for personal inspiration anymore. Since the social bookmarking site Pinterest  integrated with both YouTube and Vimeo, it’s becoming an increasingly hot space for professional video campaigns. That means now is the time for online video marketers to get serious about a Pinterest video optimization strategy. Follow these tips and examples on how to get started.
Why Pin Videos on Pinterest?
Collaboration and community are both key social business strategies. Pinterest communities thrive on appealing images, and adding video enhances that appeal.
“Video and other media types provide ways for pinners to better express themselves and tell a more complete story,” said a Pinterest spokesperson. “It also allows their audience to have a deeper connection with the content they’re pinning. For example…
- “A user pinning their favorite music can pin music videos instead of album covers to bring their recommendations to life.
- “A car manufacturer can have their followers click on a car to see it in action.”
Need more convincing about video opportunities on Pinterest? Check out these figures:
- Search Traffic. As video content grows on Pinterest, so does Google’s search indexing of those videos at an increasingly rapid rate. In a 6-month span, Google went from indexing 1,170 videos on Pinterest in late March, to now over 114,000 videos in mid-September.
- Consumer Spending. Shoppers driven to sites via Pinterest spend more money, according to an analysis of nearly 700 million shopping sessions on leading U.S. retail sites by e-commerce provider RichRelevance.
The First Definitive Pinterest Video Optimization Guide
Despite these opportunities, most brands and professionals, even those with large libraries of video assets, aren’t using Pinterest to even a fraction of its potential. That’s likely because most existing guides and e-books today shy away from the video portion; and even those that do give some attention do no better than promote a carbon-copy strategy based on static images. That does a disservice to marketers and to the Pinterest community.
Video on Pinterest has it’s own nuances, it’s own opportunities, and deserves special guidance. Fortunately marketers now can follow this first and definitive Pinterest video optimization guide.
Pinterest Content tips
Have videos worth pinning. This sounds obvious but is often forgotten. Don’t just pin for pinning’s sake. Ask this before pinning a video: is it something the audience would like and want to share?
Keep videos short. Pinterest is designed for quick browsing and pinning, so people don’t to feel like they’re going to be stuck watching a long video. Naturally, there will be exceptions, as some video themes, like DIYs or demos, may require more time. In either case, make sure to list the length of the video in the description, since viewers are becoming conditioned to seeing that in YouTube and search engine results.
Customize the video thumbnail images. Video thumbnails that are nicely photographed and appear to be art directed will blend in much better on Pinterest, and typically draw more attention than a video still frame. For those who aren’t YouTube partners, the choice of image thumbnails won’t always look great. Vimeo, on other hand, lets anyone upload a custom thumbnail.
Choose an eye-catching thumbnail image that properly represents the video. If the video is about a product, consider setting it against a white background. If it’s more of an idea, find a visual that provides a unique way of showing the theme. Make sure that the primary visual can clearly be seen at thumbnail size, and is not obscured by the default Play button.
Clearly describe the video’s content. Don’t ever leave the description field blank. Describe what people can expect to see before clicking on the video. Even with an eye-catching thumbnail image and a relevant subject, people still read the description field of to make sure its worth their time.
Put backlinks in the description field. Include a link in the description field back to a web page where the original video can be found. Since all video is embedded from either YouTube or Vimeo, start by selecting the Add a Pin feature, then type the URL of where the video resides online. This will create a hotlink that visitors can click on to go to the website.
Create search-friendly titles and descriptions that include the word “video.” This goes for both video pins and pin boards. Go by what people are likely to search for, which is clear names rather than industry-specific terminology. Try to use an exact search phrase in both the title and the opening description. For example: “How to Set Up Your BBQ Grill (Video).”
Have descriptive names. Pinterest recommends you create at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic. Yet, some brands make the mistake of placing all of their videos on a single pinboard and non-descriptively titling it “Videos.” That makes as much sense as titling a pinboard “Images.” Instead, look for ways to combine videos with static images around pin boards with keyword-rich themes. For example, a product pin can be strategically placed next to an video pin both showing a lifestyle experience or demo of that product. Merchandising images and video together are more influential with viewers than either one alone.
Be a curator. Pinterest works best for business that have well-organized video pin boards based on what people both search and browse for, as well as for different user groups. The best video curation strategy will include self-produced videos, “found” videos, and fan-submitted videos in their own separate pin boards; and have them all included together in both campaign-based pin boards and theme-based pin boards.
Keep video content fresh. Look for the most recent videos for popular news stories that relate to the brand or the business, then pin them. Create unique titles and descriptions instead of duplicating what appears on the original video page.
Include “Pin This” Annotations. For YouTube videos, Brian Honigman,  digital marketing manager at Marc Ecko Enterprises, suggests including annotations with a call-to-action for the audience. Tell visitors to “pin this video to Pinterest” or provide a link to the actual Pinterest profile for them to connect.
Create a Pinterest-tailored video campaign. Some brands are now developing video campaigns to encourage users to follow them on Pinterest and pin their items. Take this Pinterest video  campaign from a U.K. insurance comparison website. Their Driving in Heels  video was part of a contest where users submitted the craziest shoes they have ever worn while operating a car. This turned out to be an effective cross-marketing strategy. It created awareness about a public safety issue, while also generating increased brand awareness through theme-based pinning.
Another example is Whole Foods’ video repining contest “Share the Buzz ” which encourages donations for featured causes and fosters a sense of community.
Follow pin etiquette. Credit your sources anywhere in and around a video, if it isn’t your own.
Don’t self promote. Make it about sharing, not selling. A good example of a pinner that uses a lot of video and mixed media is Yoko Ono . By using videos from YouTube, she’s able to express herself and tell a more complete story.
Look for pin boards with videos that already have good comment activity. Find where the commenters already are, then offer relevant comments alongside theirs.
Share others people’ videos. Pinterest’s best brand practices  page says “repinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers.” Pinners who receive the most traffic to their own pin pages are actively re-pinning, liking, sharing, and commenting on others’ pins.
Follow the influencers. Find influencers who already have Pinterest profiles, follow them, and include their videos on a custom pin board. Make sure to notify them about it on the comments section of their original pins. Better yet, create a custom video that comments on some of the more interesting “Pin-fluencers” in the community. Both of these are acceptable ways of reaching out to thought leaders and brand leaders.
Join communities. Communities allow you to also get good feedback on your videos. A few good examples are these Pinterest boards on crowdsourced action flicks , motion design , and motion graphics .
Add “Pin Me” notices in video outtros
Videos can ask people to visit a Pinterest page and to pin that video on their own Pinterest page.
Put a “Pin It” button on every video on every web page. Video platforms themselves don’t yet provide a “Pin It” button as an option in or around the video player, so have blog pages and other web pages with embedded video include a Pin It button.
The #1 Tip: Support The Pin Culture!
Companies that take this lightly risk getting burned. Pinterest is a distinct social platform with it’s own nuances. It isn’t a billboard, and it isn’t just about visuals. More importantly, it’s a growing culture revolving around many individual and interconnected communities formed by people passionate about more than just their own interests. Success with Pinterest is actually less about content that it is about making a commitment to other people’s efforts.
When it comes to Pinterest, always be sharing. Don’t just promote. Instead, participate on a human level. Collaborate on projects, share stories, join communities, and inspire others — and those Pinterest video efforts will be richly rewarded.