Pinterest is the biggest social network for visual content, and that includes infographics. It’s one of my favorite places to browser and discover new infographics. (You can follow us on Pinterest here).
With so much content on Pinterest, how do you make your infographic stand out? What are the characteristics of highly pinned and liked Pinterest infographics?
To answer these questions, we looked at over 200 popular Pinterest infographics and manually evaluated them based on a series of qualitative and quantitative characteristics.
We looked at a variety of dimensions such as topic, type of infographic, dominant style, expected reaction, number of story points, font, colors used, chart types, the ratio of length to width.
Although a few people evaluated the infographics, we did a big normalization process within the team to make sure that all of the infographics were coded consistently on each dimension.
To measure the performance of the infographics, we looked at the number of pins and likes. Which is a better indicator?
For Pinterest, pins are a far better indicator of success as pinning is a combination of liking and sharing and is the main user action on Pinterest.
Based on our research we identified 6 factors for a great Pinterest infographic. You can view the infographic summary and read the details in the writeup that follows below.
Embed this infographic on your site:
<a href="https://venngage.com/blog/6-formulas-for-the-perfect-pinterest-infographic"><img src="https://venngage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/c8c60044-cc24-4da5-9288-c12c40cbb0a6-3.png" alt="6 Formulas for the perfect Pinterest infographic" /></a><br />Source: <a href="https://venngage.com/blog/6-formulas-for-the-perfect-pinterest-infographic/">6 Formulas for the Perfect Pinterest Infographic</a>
1. Choose a popular Pinterest topic
Does the topic or subject matter of your infographic matter? Yes, it does. On Pinterest, the top topics were travel, food and marketing. This is not really surprising if you use Pinterest regularly. Travel and food images do extremely well on Pinterest given the demographic of their users. These three topics performed a lot better than all the other topics.
Topic in (Travel, Food, Marketing) = Higher Pins & Likes
Here are some examples of top infographics from the travel, food and marketing categories (click to see full image)
2. Be Funny, Challenging or Useful
One of the most important aspects of any content is the reaction is garners from its audience. Did the content leave an impact on the person, whether it was a good laugh or something useful they could use in life? We looked at our sample of Pinterest infographics and coded each one with what we thought would be the reaction the infographic produced. The reactions and what each means are below:
- Funny or cute – the infographic gave us a good laugh or an “awww” like when you see a cute kitten
- Challenging – the infographic made us a bit uncomfortable as it took us out of our comfort zone, similar to how you would react when seeing a chart with the number of deaths caused by Malaria.
- Useful – the infographic gave us practical information and made us feel like we learned something we could use in real life.
- Aspirational – the infographic was motivational, and made us feel like we could achieve something we want.
- Surprising – the infographic gave us a pleasant surprise, either because the information was counterintuitive or was completely not what we expected.
- Interesting – the infographic was informational (though not directly practical for our own usage), similar to learning some interesting fact (ie, 65% of Coffee drinks like instant coffee) on a news article.
I admit, the reactions are subjective. Something “useful” to us could be merely “interesting” to others. For example, our team found most of the infographics on marketing to be quite “useful”, while I can imagine non-marketers would not.
The results are consistent with a lot of other literature and research on content. The winners are infographics that are funny, challenging or practical. These infographics have the highest pins.
Information is Funny OR Useful OR Interesting = Higher Pins & Likes
Here are some examples from our research of funny, useful and challenging infographics:
3. Create Simple Informational Infographics
One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that you need to have a lot of data and a complex infographic for it to be shared and liked a lot. Our research shows that simple infographics, such as informational and text based infographics, perform the best.
Simple = Win
We looked at two characteristics to come to this conclusion. One was the type of infographic (we classify infographics into 10 different types – you can read more here). Informational infographics, which include list based infographics, posters and summaries performed the best. Surprising (to us, at least) was how badly statistical infographics (chart & data based infographics) performed.
The other characteristic we looked at was the dominant style of the infographic. We classify style into one of 5 styles – text based, image based, illustration based, or a combination. I would’ve thought that illustration or chart based infographics would’ve performed the best. The results were the opposite – text based infographics clearly did better.
There is something to be said for simple text based infographics. Take a look at some of these very successful mostly text based infographics:
4. Use Serif Fonts
To be honest, this one stumped us a bit. You’ll be hard pressed to find most designers agreeing with this one. While the majority of infographic fonts were sans serif types (the more modern looking font), serif fonts perform better. Why? Here is one plausible reason: people believe text written in serif fonts more than those written in sans serif. There was a popular study highlighted by the New York Times about how people tend to find statements written in serif fonts more credible.
Serif > Sans Serif
5. Stick to a Few Colors in the Red or Yellow Spectrum.
Colors have an effect on people. Marketers know this and have been using it to increase sales and conversions for a long time. It turns out when we looked at the number of colors used in top infographics and which primary colors are dominant, we see a very distinct pattern.
Count (Red, Yellow) <= 5
Less is more. Infographics with only 2 colors performed the most. Infographics that have more than 5 were the worst.
Red and yellow hues had a distinct advantage on Pinterest. Incidentally, there are dominant hues in other industries. For example did you know that movies are usually in the blue and orange spectrum? Don’t believe me? Take a look at popular movie posters and see if you can pick out the blue and orange hues. Or check out these popular infographics with dominant yellow and red hues.
6. Longform Infographics Rule
Size does matter. Infographics tend to be long. Too long, if you ask me. (We’ve never been big fans of super long infographics. You’ll notice that many of our templates are only one page long.) But what does our research show on Pinterest? If you group the infographics based on their length to width ratio (a ratio is used since infographics have varying dimensions) and chart the distribution, you’ll notice that while shorter infographics do well, the ones that performed really well had between 5-9 length to width ratio (the infographics’ length were 5-9 times longer that its width). I guess that is consistent with other longform content such as blog articles. But too long is not necessarily a good thing – as you go beyond the 9x ratio, the performance drops. So don’t over do it.
5 <= Length/Width <= 9
In case you can’t visualize the different ratios, below are examples of an infographic with a length to width ratio of 9 (left) and 5 (right).
Hopefully that was useful. We’ll be doing more original research as part of a new initiative called Venngage Labs (more on this later, but it involves experiments, myth busting and a bit of explosions)