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To Brand or Not To Brand – Pinterest Marketing Tips for Your Profile

5 min read

Pinterest Marketing can be very tricky.  Your Pinterest profile picture might be your biggest opportunity to gain exposure for your brand, but we’re going to show you exactly why you shouldn’t do it.

What do you think?  Which makes the best kind of profile picture for a brand on Pinterest?
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Several folks disagreed with our advice in the Perfect Pinterest Profile Guide about what to use as your Pinterest profile picture (see the awesome infographic by our Pinterest marketing gurus Jessica Howe and Melissa Megginson).

What’s our Pinterest marketing advice for your profile picture? Unless you’re a very recognizable brand, your Pinterest profile picture should be a face of the company and you should avoid using just your logo if at all possible.

“based on the data we see, users are much less likely to visit profile or boards if they’re not well known and are using a logo as their image. Research shows people react much more positively to human faces on social networks (from profile images to ad placements), and that seems to be true on Pinterest, as well. Logos are generally received well only when it’s a brand the user knows and likes, which cuts off avenues for new customer acquisition. It’s a trade-off, but our data suggests only large, well known companies benefit from using a logo.”

-Danny Malony

For growing brands, the Profile Picture plays a different role on Pinterest than it does on other social networks

Content is king, no matter what social network you’re on.  However, while Facebook and Twitter start with WHO is sharing, Pinterest all but de-emphasizes the individual and puts content front and center more than any other platform.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see how the Pinterest profile picture is really a supplemental touch point – one that ADDS to the experience of a user as they browse a profile’s content.  For a growing brand trying to win new fans and build a larger audience, this is the most critical time to make your best possible impression as this is precisely the moment when the decision of whether or not to follow will be made.

Studies show that the majority of these decisions are highly impulsive.  What do you think people look at right before they consider hitting that big red “Follow All” button at the top of your page?  So why not put your best foot forward and give it your best shot?  Chances are, you won’t have another.

 How Potential Followers Actually Look at Your Pinterest Profile

The following images are from an extensive eye tracking study done for Mashable (click on the images for more from this Pinterest marketing goldmine):

Pinterest Marketing - Pinterest Eye Tracking Study Results
Pinterest Marketing - Pinterest Eye Tracking Study Results


Take a look on the left where Better Homes and Gardens uses their logo, and then take a look on the right where The Beauty Department uses smiling faces.   Look at how much more attention the one of the right gets!  And it’s not just the profile picture that demands attention here.  You’ll notice that increased attention is being paid to a larger breadth of the page as well.  Consequently, a better profile picture may actually prime users to be more interested, stay longer and explore more content.

Let’s take it one step further – I believe  that even if you are a large recognizable brand, this rule still applies.

Here’s an example: if you were managing Tommy Hilfiger’s Pinterest page, which would you choose to be the most engaging and effective profile photo?

Pinterest Marketing - Tommy Hilfiger Pinterest Logo
Option 1 (current Tommy Hilfiger Pinterest Profile Logo)
Pinterest Marketing - Choosing a Profile Picture
Option 2
Pinterest Marketing - Choosing a Profile Picture
Option 3


Options 2 and 3 exude confidence, elegance, style, class and beauty. The logo, not so much. If I had to pick between the two on the right, Option 2 would take home the gold in my book because of the added effect from Rebecca Romijn looking right at you.

Granted, it may be true that not every type of brand has the same ability to personify themselves, but this is exactly why brands develop things like mascots.  In most cases, logos in and of themselves are simply not engaging or memorable.

Priming: the Understated, yet Essential Impact of a Pinterest Profile Picture

I believe that the profile picture is essential in priming or instructing a viewer on what kind of content they might find, and how they should interpret the actual content.

To demonstrate – imagine you had 2 identical hypothetical profiles that each represented an iPad game for children, but each had different profile pictures:


Pinterest Marketing - Choosing a profile picturePinterest Marketing - Choosing a profile picture - Kids Playing on iPad







Now ask yourself the following questions – if you were a parent…

  • which profile’s content would you trust more?
  • which profile do you believe is more dedicated to creating a fun and educational experience for your child?
  • which profile would you more strongly associate with children’s apps?
  • if you were generally interested in children’s activities, which profile do you think you’d spend more time browsing through?

From a Pinterest marketing standpoint, the answer of which profile picture would be most effective is quite clear to me.  That said, I invite you to decide for yourself.


The Best of Both Worlds

Can’t live without a logo?  Here’s a compromise for you.  Actually, it’s more like letting you have your cake and eat it, too.

Take a page out of ShoeMint’s book and use a face AND your logo together.

Pinterest Marketing - ShoeMint Pinterest Profile Picture

Now we all win.


Which kind of Pinterest profile picture do you use in your profile?  Link to your profile in the comments below and show us! 



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