What’s the Deal with Pinterest Idea Pins?

Hello, fellow Pinterest lovers! Every once in a while I see that something about Pinterest is causing confusion for business account owners. I consider it my personal duty and pleasure to clear things up if I can! I’ve heard some questions about Idea Pins lately, so let’s talk about those!

First, I’m going to explain the history and evolution of this Pinterest feature. Then we will discuss the difference between Idea Pins and standard Pins (or static image Pins), whether or not Idea Pins still exist on Pinterest, and what this all means for new content creation ideas. So, if you’ve ever wondered, “what’s the deal with Idea Pins?”, this post is for you! Now here’s the funny thing. This blog post was drafted in June 2024 and in fact, while we were writing the blog post, we saw a “change” happen to the appearance and language of the “upload a Pin” function on Pinterest. I often refer to this as the upload a Pin interface. It is essentially how we add a Pin (which can look different based on your country, whether you are on a mobile device or computer or if you have a “beta” feature). It’s common for Pinterest to roll out changes slowly and isolate some “features” to different countries. So let’s try our best to breakdown the evolution of Idea Pins on Pinterest.

promotional blog post Pinterest Pin by Pinterest expert Meagan Williamson about Idea Pins on Pinterest

What is an Idea Pin on Pinterest?

Every so often, Pinterest, just like any other platform, launches new features for users to keep them engaged. Pinterest launched Idea Pins globally for this reason in the year 2020. Only then, they were called Story Pins. The thing is though, I personally knew several United Kingdom (UK) based Pinners who got access to Story Pins as early as 2019. (If this is part of your confusion, just know that Story Pins and Idea Pins were pretty much the same thing but they gave them a new name.) Story Pins were first launched as Pinterest’s answer to Instagram and Facebook stories and other video content being introduced on other social media platforms. They were first rolled out in beta in the UK. As their purpose and function evolved, the name was changed to Idea Pins (in 2021). This was because their format was perfect for step-by-step guide tutorials, recipes, and other “idea”-based content. Ideally, the concept that was tested in the UK was a collage type Pin where you could upload say, 5 recipe blog posts with strawberries – share a image for each and a link – and it would be stitched together as a Pin with 5 image and 5 separate links. When it arrived in North America, we saw the ability to add links vanish. And so appeared, a type of Pin that was “no click” content on Pinterest.

The evolution of Story Pins

These Pins offered a whole new world of new features like adding music and text overlay to multi-page content. Pinterest marketed them as a fantastic way for content creators to engage with their audience in the app in an interactive format. They offered an exciting array of new publishing tools like video-first features, fresh editing tools, and other updates. Initial audience engagement stats for these Pins were phenomenal. They were in fact, pushed out widely by Pinterest as an attempt to really incentivize creators to make them. Some business owners reported thousands of impressions in a number of hours! They allowed creators to share a mixture of videos and / or images – including using the Pinterest camera to record videos and publish directly to Pinterest. With a strong focus on visual storytelling in app, Story Pins were a great way to share your ideas.

Another thing that set Story Pins apart from similar formats on other social media platforms is that they never disappeared/vanished. Story Pins could be saved to boards for later and were discoverable over time (which is what we expect on Pinterest as a search engine). Once Story Pins were out of the beta testing with a small group of creators, they were indexed and shown in search results. This was very exciting! We have many a story of creators and clients who had Story Pins skyrocket in growth again and again. Which was a nice contrast to the shelf life of other video based content on social media or Instagram Stories which expired after just 24 hours.

This all seemed like really good news for Pinterest users and small businesses alike. Pinterest preferred Story Pins and pushed them extensively across the platform (they were shown on the most surfaces). This happened not just in the home Pinterest feed but also in other parts of the Pinterest platform. More importantly, Pinterest showed Story Pins not just to your followers, but also to new users. This content format was highly engaging. So, Story Pins were distributed quickly across the platform and became a large part of most people’s Pinterest marketing strategy. Business owners reported increased levels of visibility, engagement, and an uptick in all their key metrics and statistics. Pinterest decided to rebrand Story Pins as Idea Pins – to really push the idea that they were a dynamic method to inspire and give Pinners in app ideas.

promotional blog post Pinterest Pin by Pinterest expert Meagan Williamson about Idea Pins on Pinterest

If they were so awesome, then what was the problem?

It was not all roses. Idea Pins provided an “in-app” experience, so there was no option to include outbound links when the feature was rolled out globally. This meant that users could not visit the websites of food bloggers or DIYers for recipes or full renovation explanations. They were unable to click through to online stores to purchase products that interested them. In short, Idea Pins kept users strictly on the Pinterest platform. This did not work well for artists, craftsmen, digital content creators, or anyone involved in brand collaborations. And, because engagement with this novel type of Pin was so high, the Pinterest algorithm flooded home feeds and search results with them. Static Pins (with links!) were nowhere to be seen. This marked a huge change in the algorithm that had a lot of well established, big “Pinners” upset (and for good reason). They struggled to adapt and figure out how to create content that allowed Pinners to get all the “goods” in app without an invitation to leave and go to their blogs/websites.

As a result, users whose main goal was finding a blog post to read or a product to buy and business owners who wanted to convert engagement into sales or follows elsewhere suffered (and rebelled!). In 2022, Pinterest backed off pushing these Pins almost exclusively and regular Pins appeared in people’s feeds once more. 

In 2023, Pinterest introduced more radical changes that dramatically changed the way we all create and interact with the platform. These changes had to do with the way Pinterest differentiates between Idea Pins and other kinds of Pins. In short: Pinterest amalgamated all forms of Pins so that Pins were just…Pins. So, what does this mean? Well what we did see from our side was that depending on where you were and your account, you may have “seen” a different “upload a Pin” Pin builder appearance. Just a few months ago, I logged into three accounts, and each had a slightly different appearance. Confusing to say the least. To make matters more complicated to advanced Pinners, we saw that Pins were being coded differently in the Pin source code. For my beginners, just ignore this aspect of the blog post as you don’t need to be bogged down by the engineering aspects. What I will say is depending on your Build a Pin appearance, the Pins were being coded differently. Did we see major differences is how they were distributed? Not really from our side of things but we did hear anecdotal reports from others. More recently, what we saw is that when you used the “organic” upload a Pin feature, Pins were coded as Idea Pins. When you used the “upload a Pin” via the “paid” section, it was coded as a static image. This paid section also had the ability to upload an “idea pin ad”.

Idea Pins allow us to write a Pin title, Pin description, add a link, board and tag topics (or tagged categories).

What is the difference between an Idea Pin and a Pin?

As of 2023, there was really NO difference between an Idea Pin and a Pin of any other kind. They appeared to be different (for example, image based Pins, just looked like a static image and video content was dynamic). They all have the same features though. Pins incorporated the best of all worlds: the creative features we loved about Story Pins plus the ability to add links and tag products. This is a wonderful time to be on Pinterest, friends! All the features were combined. My understanding was that having so many “formats” and methods of uploading was confusing to beginners to Pinterest – which, is 100% correct. So Pinterest wanted to make it simple.

There was even word a few months before the writing of this article that Idea Pins will disappear entirely. Really it was just the term “Idea Pins” that was going to “vanish”. Because all Pins are the same, Pin creation has never been easier. From Pinterest, we heard “All Pins are good Pins”. You can create Video Pins or Pins with static images with text overlay, music, and all the other features that made Idea Pins such a great innovation. And of course, you can include links in any format too. This is a great opportunity to reach as many people as possible with the highest chances of conversion too! 

This also means that any multi-page high quality content you might have considered turning into an Idea Pin in past Pinterest days will also become a Video Pin. Maybe you have an Instagram carousel post that you want to turn into a Pin. Carousels could be added on mobile and were transformed to be a similar experience to video. Or an Instagram story with great content that you want to share with your audience in new ways. Or any short-form content you created for TikTok, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn. Video Pins are the way to go for all of it. I think one thing hasn’t changed, video content is great for visibility, images are great for conversions.

Here is 3 different looks I have seen being tested in North American based accounts in spring 2024 on Pinterest. Here is what my own account had looked like up until a few days ago (June 2024). There was a separate area for “paid” and “organic”.

And this is what it looked like in April 2024 on a brand new account I created… (the menu if flipped to show organic Pin first).

Then of course there is what it looks like on your Pinterest app. This is what it looks like on my iPhone.

Do Idea Pins still exist on Pinterest?

So, where are we currently sitting with whether Idea Pins are a thing of the past or if they exist. Well as of late June 2024, Idea Pins are officially back on my account.

Any old Story Pins that you previously created will still be discoverable in search. Whether you uploaded Story Pins, Idea Pins or Video Pins, they all still exist on. Pinterest. There are no plans to delete Story Pins, so you don’t have to worry about losing content you have created OR content from other creators that you have saved to your own Pinterest account. 

As of this moment, we are seeing upload an “Idea Pin” on desktop but not on mobie.. It is no longer an option in the mobile app. An Idea Pin is the same size as any other Pin and it has all the same features as a regular Video Pin. Pinterest likes it when you use their publishing tools, so there is no harm in making Idea Pins. Just know that there is no real advantage either.

You could now ask, “Should I delete my old Idea Pins?”. After all, if part of the problem with these Pins was flooding users home feed and preventing regular Pins from having their day, is this not still an issue? The answer is…maybe. There is some anecdotal evidence that deleting old Story Pins or moving them to secret Pinterest Boards might help with engagement with the rest of a business Pinterest account’s content. That is, once people delete these Pins they see more clicks on the rest of their accounts. This information is mostly from bloggers who have been on Pinterest a very long time and are using their own accounts as an experiment but we haven’t seen these Pinterest tactics work for a wider audience. You need to be careful when you are reading Pinterest “hacks” and tactics and take them with a grain of salt. What works for a long time blogger/creator who works full time as a content creator isn’t necessarily going to be beneficial to a new business owner just getting on the platform.

promotional blog post Pinterest Pin by Pinterest expert Meagan Williamson about Idea Pins on Pinterest

However, other users have reported no change after taking the same action. Like so much on Pinterest (and really, any social media platform), you may need to play around and see what works for your particular situation. If you have old Idea Pins hanging around and are struggling to grow your account, try deleting or moving them. If your account is growing by leaps and bounds, leave them alone! 

In summary

So, what have we learned? Story/Idea Pins were introduced globally in 2020 as a great way for creators to further engage with their audience using videos and interactive features. These Pins struggled to maintain their popularity over time because of inherent flaws (no outbound links and an algorithm take-over). A short few years later, Pinterest listened to their users and creators! They did away with Idea Pins and instead of making creators choose between the features they loved about either Idea Pins OR a regular Pin, they combined all these features into one single Pin function for a short period. You can read more about this change here, but it looks like now, we have the ability to add a “Pin” – this is where static images and videos are uploaded AND we have the ability to add an Idea Pin (on desktop) as of June 2024.

Video Pins are now a huge deal in the Pinterest world, and you have many ways of including them in your marketing strategy: 

  • New original content 
  • Old Video Pins (keeping in mind you need to make sure they are not preventing your account’s other content from growing) 
  • Instagram reels 
  • Instagram stories 
  • Instagram carousels 
  • YouTube shorts
  • TikTok videos 
  • Etc., Etc. 

No matter whether you call them video Pins or Idea Pins, video on Pinterest is important for growth. Of course, you can optimize old content from different platforms to get the most out of your content rather than simply re-posting, but you get the idea that nothing you create is ever wasted. Including those old Idea Pins you weren’t sure what to do with. I suggest you experiment uploading as video Pins and idea Pin and see what performs best for you! Both have their advantages.

We may continue to see things change when it comes to Idea Pins because clearly, folks are confused at Pinterest how best to proceed. While not all new ideas are bound for greatness over time, Idea Pins were a huge part of the evolution of the Pin as we know it today, and for this we should be grateful. Because of Idea Pins blazing the trail we can now add music, tag products, use stickers and links, schedule our Pins, and do post-publish edits for any Pin we choose. So, stop wondering what Idea Pins are and just know that they are a piece of Pinterest past. All you need for the present day Pinterest world is a regular Pin with all available features. 

For more questions on how to make Pinterest work for you, check out my blog or join the waitlist for my much loved, highly reviewed Pinterest course –  online membership program + community, Pin Potential! Let’s set you up for even more Pinterest success.  

Happy pinning until next time! 

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