V&A Pinterest, 2.0

Digital media
November 18, 2015

I’m not a crafter, a fitness guru, or a paleo-vegan-gluten free baker, but I’ve probably spent more time on Pinterest in the past month than the best of them.

At the beginning of October, the V&A pinterest was a bit neglected. There were a number of boards and 1.2 thousand wonderful pins, but we didn’t have any consistant pinning or repinning to keep us on followers’ radars so our content was getting a bit overlooked.  We also only followed 6 other pinners, meaning we missed the crucial interaction and dialogue needed to use Pinterest successfully. It’s not a platform to just post material and let it lay – we knew we needed a constant stream of new content, pins pulled from the V&A collections and shared from other cultural institutions.

So, on October 13th, we decided to begin a major overhaul of our boards, our content, and the way we interact with other users on Pinterest. We started easy, with a revamp of our existing Halloween board. I spent two days combing through our Search the Collections pages for the best objects that were interesting, topical, and – most importantly – tonally matched to create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing board. One of the biggest concerns with our ‘old’ Pinterest boards were that they were a bit mish-mashed; there was no unifying theme, colour, or style that united them in a visually striking way. With the Halloween board 2.0, we decided to go with a monochromatic colour scheme and eerie images, saving our sillier pins (like this adorable Count Duckula stuffed toy) for another day. To top it off, we found an incredibly handy extension that enabled pin rearrangement, allowing us to create a gradient moving down the page that gave it the extra oomph.

Getting spoopy up in here.
Getting #spoopy up in here.

After getting a good mix of spooky, scary, and spectacular items from our collection and finding a few good ‘uns from our friends at SFMOMA, the Tate, and the Getty, the board went live on the 15th. I wish I could say I wasn’t obsessively checking the notifications every few minutes, but I absolutely was, so I can tell you that the response to the board was a little slow to start – but soon the likes and repins came pouring in. Encouraged, we added new boards on Jewellery and Wallpaper – each more popular than the last. We pinned long and we pinned hard, and by the end of the week, we had increased our average daily repins by 31,550%.  No, really; check out that immensely satisying slope:

Check that line graph.
As Aubrey Graham once said, “Started from the bottom now we here.”

Unfortunately, that kind of stratospheric increase is only sustainable for a short time and requires pinning every single day. On the days we can’t update our boards, the numbers fall dramatically, reinforcing what we already knew: much like children and puppies, Pinterest requires constant love and attention. If we look at a graph of repins for the first three weeks the new boards have been up, it’s easy to see rise and fall pattern from mid-week active pinning, peaking on Thursdays and dropping sharply when we’re inactive over the weekend.

Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low...
Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low…

Even with these soul-crushing dips during off days, we’ve still managed an average  20,850% increase in average daily repins, which isn’t too shabby at all.

The look of our page has changed dramatically as well; taking a cue from Pinterest favorites Urban Outfitters, we made shiny new labelled covers for every new board and alphabetized them at the top of the page.

The first two rows before our changes...
The first two rows before our changes…
...and after.
…and after.

It’s a small change, but it really gives our profile a bit more cohesion and helps visitors find exactly what they want without having to scroll aimlessly for ages.

Looking to the future, we’ll continue to create new boards for our exhibitions and collections to keep content flowing and maintain the dialogue between our followers, other museums, and ourselves. We’ll also be exploring collaborative boards, guest pinners, and visitor-centric boards, so make sure to keep an eye out and let us know what you think of the V&A Pinterest, 2.0!

2 comments so far, view or add yours


Congratulations on those increases! The labelled (and alphabetised) board covers are a very good idea.

Go on – what is the “handy extension that enabled pin rearrangement”?

Thank you! The extension we’ve used is Pin4Ever for Firefox – it allows you to rearrange your pins as well as back them up, find broken links within your boards, and get rid of any duplicates on your page.

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