How to Completely Automate the Process of Creating Pinterest Pins

January 2020

Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash

In this tutorial we will learn how to use Bannerbear to auto-generate Pinterest pins each time you publish new content on your website.

Why create Pinterest pins anyway?

Great question! You don't have to create Pinterest-specific banners for your content to be shareable on Pinterest. When a user decides to pin one of your pages, Pinterest gives them the option of choosing one of the images on your page to pin:

However, a lot of marketers and content creators go the extra mile and create attractive, Pinterest-sized banners for their content to give themselves an edge and to drive more traffic to their websites. These banners often incorporate titles and other information to make them more informative to users who are scrolling past on their Pinterest feeds.

Consider the difference between these two scenarios, for Ecommerce and Publishing:

The added context of the righthand images makes them much more effective at informing the user what the pin is about, which will drive higher quality traffic.

Therefore, creating eye-catching, clickable Pinterest pins for your content is a great, low-maintenance way of building your brand while you sleep. Add them to your page once, and reap the benefits thereafter.

The problem

The only problem with this is… now every time you create a new blog post or upload a new product to your website… you have to create a companion pinterest banner.

For big companies this isn't a problem - they will have a design team dedicated to making these sorts of marketing assets. But for smaller companies this can be a big overhead in terms of effort.

How to do it manually

Manually designing Pinterest pins is fairly simple for a designer to do - it just takes time. You can find awesome designs to edit with your own content on design communities like Canva and Sketch App Sources. Or get inspiration from other designers at Dribbble.

Automating the process

But what if you want to create Pinterest pins for hundreds of pages? Or you need to create new ones every day? Or you just don't have the time to do any manual work?

Well the good news is we can automate this process with Bannerbear.

As an example scenario, lets say we've just uploaded a new page to our site and now we want to create a set of banners.

Step 1. Add the new page to Bannerbear

You can set up various ways to auto-import new pages into Bannerbear but for now lets just add the new page manually via the Import menu.

Step 2. Wait a few seconds…

Bannerbear will scan the new page and grab the relevant data according to your Import Settings, and assemble new banner designs according to your Design Settings.

Step 3. Download your assets!

Download the newly-generated Pinterest pin and add to your page. Most of the time this can be accomplished simply by adding it as you would any other image, via your CMS.

Bannerbear Pinterest pins are generated at the optimal size for Pinterest so even if you have other images on your page, when a user adds your page to Pinterest quite often the first option is the Bannerbear-generated pin.

However… this still requires a bunch of clicking around. Can we automate this even more so that we don't have to do anything at all?

Going fully automated

One of the keys to getting the most out of Bannerbear is understanding the Image Request URL. By using a special URL you can request Bannerbear to generate a new image for you, and after the image is generated, that same URL serves the image.

By using the Image Request URL we don't need to manually "add" the new page in the dashboard. We simply call a URL, which results in an image being generated after a few seconds.

So lets rewind the clock to 5 minutes ago. Instead of manually adding a new page to Bannerbear via the Import menu, lets just add the Image Request URL directly into our page in an img tag, maybe somewhere at the bottom after the text content.

The format for the Image Request URL looks like this:

https://cdn.bannerbear.com/api/v1/image/YOUR_API_KEY/YOUR_SITE_ID/image.jpg?type=TYPE&url=YOUR_URL

The URL requires some parameters:

  • YOUR_API_KEY replace with your API key from the Bannerbear dashboard
  • YOUR_SITE_ID replace with your Site ID from the Bannerbear dashboard
  • TYPE replace with one of: pinterest, opengraph, instagram or square
  • YOUR_URL replace with the URL on your site that you want to create a banner for

When you load the page now, you'll see this where you put the Image Request URL:

Wait a few seconds, then reload the page… and boom, an auto-generated Pinterest pin:

So what just happened?

When you call the Image Request URL, Bannerbear scans the url in YOUR_URL, generates a banner and saves it. The next time you hit the same url, Bannerbear serves up the image. From this point, that Image Request URL behaves just like an image URL!

Once you understand the principles of the Image Request URL, you can add Pinterest pins to every page of your website just by adding one line of code to your page template. The trick is to replace YOUR_URL with a dynamic piece of code that outputs the current URL of the page being browsed. This code will be different depending on your platform but might look something like this:

https://cdn.bannerbear.com/api/v1/image/YOUR_API_KEY/YOUR_SITE_ID/image.jpg?type=TYPE&url={{current_url}}

Bannerbear users with the Wordpress plugin or Shopify app can add this in one click from the admin panel :)

Note: the Pinterest pin you see below was generated using the workflow from above!

Author
Jon Yongfook@yongfook

Jon is the founder of Bannerbear. He has worked as a designer and programmer for 20 years and is fascinated by the role of technology in design automation and design efficiency. Jon is a digital nomad and can be found riding a motorcycle around Asia, lives out of Airbnbs and works from coworking spaces.

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