The Pinterest Contest Guidelines: Does your Contest Comply?

The latest Pinterest marketing and promotion guidelines aim at providing quality content for the users and to protect Pinterest legally.

It has been months since Pinterest changed its contest guidelines but a quick look at running Pinterest contests showed that many big brands (or their agencies) didn’t get the memo. If there is one thing that I have learned thorough all my years doing social media is to always check the rules before launching a contest on a social network since their rules can change anytime.

A big Don’t is to require people to pin from a selection—Pinterest wants that you let them pin their own stuff.
This is what Kraft, in collaboration withWeber, asks the participants to do for the Kraft Cheese Recipe for Summer contest or World Market does for their Movie Night Giveaway.

kraft cheese recipe for summer pinterest contest
world market movie night giveaway on pinterest

Spammy behaviours that became the norm of so many Pin It Win It contests are no more acceptable. This means that you can no longer request participants to repin only from the company’s boards, request many pins, or ask participants to copy the same comments or the contest rules over and over. Like Facebook does with actions that happen on the walls, Pinterest doesn’t want that an action of the Pinterest boards represents an entry or that your contest relies on their voting functions (pins, repins, likes). You can read the Pinterest contest rules here.

I welcome these changes. They will make the contests more interesting for all parties. To show you an example, look at the hue design challenge contest organized by Grandin Road.

hue design challenge invitation to participation

Pinterest is all about people discovering things that inspire them. Grandin Road embraced the fact that a Pinterest contest should be inspiring, fun and useful for all users.

hue design challenge winner board

Not only did their contest produces inspiring content for all Pinners interested by home decor, I am sure that the contest provides a ton of valuable information to Grandin Road about the tastes and likes of their followers.

Having said that, I have a word of caution about the Hue Design Challenge. Try to imagine a concept that requires less pinning. Grandin Road targeted a group of women who have the time and the passion to pin a lot of images but it is not the case for every market. Like Pinterest mentioned in their guidelines, requesting one pin is plenty.

Food for thought

Now that it is official that a Pinterest contest should never be about pinning your promotional product pictures and your marketing messages, think about how your next contest can be fun and add value to the pinners. You will increase the number of entries and its chance of success by remembering the KISS formula. How to participate should be simple to understand, it should let people talk about themselves (or what they care about) and be quick to execute.

There are many technical aspects for running a Pinterest contest. You will need more than Pinterest to do it. I will address how to track participants and to select a winner in an upcoming post.