This Is The Story of My Viral ‘Viral’ Pin

How Pins Go Viral
‘How Pins Go Viral’ – A case study of my most successful pin on Pinterest

About 50 weeks ago (at the end of January 2014) I pinned a pin to one of my new boards. The pin didn’t have the greatest image, really it’s not an image that stands out at all, but the catchy article title caught my eye and so, after checking that the link worked and that the article attached actually was something my audience was interested in, I pinned it.

My most viral pin on Pinterest

Often, that is all that I do before I move on to the next pin. More often than not, that also might be one of a handful of times I see a pin. I might see it again when I do a board audit. I might see it again if I was doing research about blogging.

This pin, however, has not left my mind and I haven’t been able to forget the image for 50 weeks. Why?

It’s the most repined pin I have, by far, and it is driving me nuts! (In a good way!) The pin has been repined 1243 times as of today when I write this and 262 people have hit the ‘like’ button on it, too! This means that whenever I login to Pinterest, I see a notification, mostly many notifications, that that pin has been repinned.

It’s been getting my attention already, so today, I am going to analyze that pin and tell the story of that pin, in hopes to gain some insight as to why it is doing so well, especially since no other pin on any of my boards has done this well.

Stats on the Viral Pin in Question:

  • Pinned from this website and this article, using the Pin It browser extension
  • Pinned onto, what was then, a new board
  • Pinned onto a board which now has 18 other pin
  • Pinned onto a board which now has 1483 followers
  • Pinned onto a board called ‘Blogging Tips & Ideas’
  • Pin image colors are black & white
  • Pin image size is 306 x 575
  • Pin image description reads: “go viral – blogging tips. Some great ideas here. Being consistent and knowing your voice are big ones”
  • Pin keywords are ‘viral’ and ‘blog’

I decided on a search for other articles and pins (by searching Pinterest, of course!) mentioning the word ‘viral’. My hunch was that the word ‘viral’ was the key to the virality of this pin. I also wanted to include tips on how pins went viral and I wanted to compare pinning stats.

First up, I found this this pin, from this article with an impressive 162K repins on the article! (No, that’s not a typo.)

5 ways to make your pin go viral

Tips from this article on how to make pins go viral include

  1. Make Beautiful Images
  2. Stay Ahead of the Holiday Curve
  3. Check Your Stats
  4. Pin to Group Boards
  5. Keep Repinning Posts
  6. Add Descriptive Image Texts and Alt Tags

Next up this pin

5 characteristics of a viral pin

From this article!

Tips from this article on how to create pins that go viral include

  1. The post is beneficial to others
  2. The post is simple and actionable
  3. The post provides a small, manageable task
  4. The pinned graphic tells a clear story
  5. The pin in the place at the right time

Lastly this pin from this article with 1.91K repins.

How TO make Your PIns Go Viral

Tips from this article include

  1. Name your boards something simple and most likely to be searched
  2. Categorize all boards correctly
  3. Give each board a good description
  4. Add informative pin description for each pin
  5. Repeat words in your pin description from the board it’s going to
  6. Verify your website URL
  7. Share pins daily

In this third article, I found one of the most interesting charts I’ve laid my eyes on with regards to Pinterest Search Ranking*. It gives insight in board search ranking, pin search ranking and pinner search ranking and it all makes a lot of sense to me!

“An overview of Pinterest search ranking” (chart)

Board search ranking includes:
– Board name and description
– Board categorization
– Repins from the board
– Number of followers and quality of those followers
– How active the board is
– Who the board creator is and his/her profile search ranking

Pin search ranking includes:
– Pin description text matching
– Board the pin belongs to
– Number of repins
– Who pinned it and his/her quality signals

Pinner search ranking includes:
– Name
– Number of followers and the quality of those followers
– User activity (including frequency of pinning)
– Social connection (e.g. if I follow the Pinner, they’ll show up higher)
– Verified domain

*Note: There is no link to the source of this chart. This data was published in April 2014. I can not guarantee the accuracy of this information.

If this information is correct, it gives us a window into to ‘DNA of a Perfect Pin‘, doesn’t it?

So how and why is this ONE ‘viral’ pin on my Pinterest account going viral?

  • Was it the word ‘viral’ in the title?
  • Was it the board I pinned it on?
  • Was it the pin description?
  • Was it the timing of the original pin?
  • Was it the image itself?

Looking at the tips, stats, description, timing and the board I placed it on, I’ve got nothing special jumping out at me beyond the keyword ‘viral’.

The definition of viral being “an image, video, advertisement, etc., that is circulated rapidly on the Internet” and nothing more! Often there’s no reason why one image, video or ad goes viral versus another.

And thus my case study comes to an end!

As for this case study, it also serves as an experiment.

By the time you read this, I will have implemented and continue to implement as many of the above mentioned tips with this one article. That includes (besides adding the word VIRAL to the title!) adding an awesome pinnable image, adding descriptive alt text on my blog, repining the image to several boards and making sure the pin has a great description as well. Let’s see how this article about my viral pin going viral can go viral. You just never know, can you? ;)

One more thing.

Due to technical difficulties, I was not able to embed the mentioned pins and boards into this blog post. I would have really liked to do so for obvious (repinning) reasons. Alas, it was not to be. After spending countless hours in the back-end of my WordPress blog this weekend, I’ve given up and decided to use screenshots.