Beautify Your Content: 8 Image Elements that Perform on Pinterest

by Brendan Lowry on Jul 15, 2013
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In order to better understand how brands can drive consumer engagement with images, Curalate‘s data science team reviewed over a half million images on Pinterest, and examined 30 different visual characteristics — including textures, colors, and presence of faces — to learn how they impact social actions such as Pins, Repins and Likes.

As consumers continue to flock to visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, marketers need to learn to market without words. This type of data is a major first step in helping brands and retailers predict which images will prompt consumer action before they share images across their social platforms.

Below, we’ve included a few important highlights and an infographic with full details on our findings.

People like colorful images, but moderation matters.

  • The most repinned images have multiple colors: Images with multiple dominant colors have 3.25 times more repins per image than images with a single dominant color.
  • Very light and very dark images are not repinned as often. In fact, the repinning rate for images of medium lightness is 20 times higher than for images that are mostly black, and eight times higher than images that are mostly white.
  • Images in the middle between highly desaturated (e.g. black and white) and highly saturated perform better. Images that are 50 percent saturated have four times more repins than images that are 100 percent saturated, and 10 times more repins than images that are totally desaturated.
  • Red images get more repins than blue images. What’s more, images that are red, orange and brown receive roughly twice as many repins than images that are blue.

Get close and personal – people pay attention to details.

  • Images that contain less than 30 percent background (e.g. whitespace) are repinned the most.
  • Repins drop off by 2X to 4X for images containing 40 percent or more of background area.
  • Brand images without faces receive 23 percent more repins. Less than 1/5 of images on Pinterest today have the presence of faces.

The Eyes Have It, Curalate Infographic copy

Now that there’s an understanding of what imagery generates maximum engagement on Pinterest, why not apply these findings to your larger digital strategy? Here are three best practices to go from beautiful photography to a full fledged Pinterest campaign.


Post Author

Founding team at Curalate, the leading marketing and analytics suite for Pinterest and Instagram. Focused on marketing & product. Previously, launched Skillshare in Philadelphia. Always learning....

  • Fascinating. Thank you!

  • Insightful article, would you say the same applies for images all over the web?

  • stephaniemanley

    I love how you explained this. I want to try to incorporate a few of these tips on my own pins.

  • Elizabeth Shugg

    So interesting! Thanks for the tips. I’ll put them to good use.

  • John Demke

    Excellent post! It’s interesting to see how different visual characteristics affect repins. Flickr camera data actually produces some interesting data also. I’ve seen a study done that compares camera models, lenses, settings with composition- basically giving you a formula for taking a great photo.

  • Barbara Ford

    Good article, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t share it with colleagues on LinkedIn or pin it to one of my boards. Perhaps you can provide for that in the future. Thanks.

  • Brendan Lowry

    Thanks for the comment, Barbara. I’ll definitely forward your comment to the SocialFresh team!

  • Brendan Lowry

    No problem, Barbara!

  • Brendan Lowry

    Good luck Stephanie. Hope you see similar results.

  • Brendan Lowry

    I’d love to see this study John. Do you have a link?

  • Thanks for the feedback @ed62d33ac11f3f45029051e2d06ea659:disqus. We have tested, and will test again in the future, share buttons from all the major social networks. Pinterest and LinkedIn, historically, have performed the poorest for us. But I know we have another test coming up soon.

  • Brendan Lowry

    @KarlaCampos:disqus The data will certainly change from platform to platform, but I’m assuming there will be parallels. We’ll be releasing similar studies for other platforms in the near future. Head to to stay updated!

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