Newbie's Pinterest Post Crashes Site ... But it's all Good
By Ken Magill
As if marketers didn’t already have enough social-media options to consider, suddenly there’s a rocket called Pinterest, the pin-board style image-sharing site.
For marketers with the right demographic—women who like to share decorating, cooking, arts-and-crafts and style ideas, among other things—it is simply growing too fast to be ignored.
In January, comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.
The site had 18.7 million unique visitors in March, according to comScore.
In any case, one merchant recently scored such a hit with Pinterest users that the resulting traffic crashed its web site.
The culprit: a relatively new employee at Scarves Dot Net, a unit of Greenwood, IN-based One Click Ventures, who posted a graphic on 50 ways to tie a scarf.
The graphic was based on more than 50 videos Scarves Dot Net already had available.
“We had the videos and they’ve drawn a lot of traffic and done well, but we didn’t have anything that was easily sharable on a site like Pinterest,” said Haley Drummond, director of organic search for One Click Ventures.
So a new employee set about creating something more Pinterest friendly.
“It’s basically a page with a visual representation of all of these videos,” said Drummond. “You can click on each scarf knot and go to the video. We put it up on a Thursday and we expected it to do well because we had already seen some success with graphics like that.”
And boy, did it do well.
“On Monday, I got the call that it had crashed the site,” said Drummond. “We found one person had [driven] 10,000 repins when they pinned it. We were already at 90 percent capacity and we were talking about getting new servers, but this pushed us up over 300 percent capacity.”
Drummond added: “It was all in a matter of minutes. If it had been spread out, we probably would have been fine, but because it was a burst, it knocked out the site for a little bit.”
Drummond added that the 50-knot graphic wasn’t a shot in the dark.
“We had already had some Pinterest successes,” she said. “We had pinned some content that did well and we had pinned some that did not do so well.
“We found, for example, that people like to see numbers in pinned content, such as 50 ways to tie a scarf or 40 ways to tie a scarf,” said Drummond. “People also like how-to content. If you give them something they can immediately apply, that’s going to take off. Visually appealing graphics help, too. So this was not just a burst of luck.”
Stacie Grissom, the writer who created the graphic, said she had been experimenting and had an idea her new graphic might succeed, but not quite as well as it did.
“The first one I did was a little graphic on 12 ways to wear a scarf, and that one was a major surprise,” said Grissom. “I think it got 100,000 views on StumbleUpon. So I had an idea that this would be successful, but I didn’t think it would crash the site.”
Grissom said she learned of her Pinterest success when Drummond called her at home.
“At first, I was like: ‘Why is my boss calling me at home at nine thirty at night?’” said Grissom. “Then when she said: ‘Stacie, your Pinterest thing crashed the site,’ it was kind of exciting and kind of ‘oops.’”
Added Drummond: “Obviously, we don’t want our site to go down, but it was a good problem to have in that it showed we can create good content that can go viral, and that Pinterest is a medium through which we can reach that particular audience.”
So what do the folks at One Click Ventures intend to do as a result of Scarves Dot Net’s Pinterest success?
“First, we’re upping our server capacity,” said Drummond. “And we learned that that kind of content can do well. That [50 knot] pin is still doing well for us, so we’re going to try and repeat it. If you develop content that is suited to that [Pinterest] niche and is easily sharable, it will take off.”
The knot idea is also being integrated into Scarves Dot Net’s email marketing, said Alessandra Souers, director of email marketing for One Click Ventures.
“We have 50 ways to tie a scarf and we can develop more,” she said. “We have 52 weeks in a year, so I thought that was a great opportunity where we could send women a different knot at the beginning of the week when they’re planning their outfits. Along with that, we can feature a scarf that goes with that knot that we can sell.
“So we’ll have a deal on that scarf and then send you a different knot each week you can use to tie that scarf,” said Souers.
She said the program should launch in a little over a month.