Pin To Win Contest Marketing Social Media Marketing

Pin To Win Contest Guidelines: What You Need To Know

May 24, 2013
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Just as Facebook has in the past, Pinterest recently updated their contest guidelines for the popular Pin to Win or Pin It To Win It style contests. P

Pinterest has made it clear that they no longer want these contests to continue, and they have implemented a set of guidelines that people need to follow. Here’s what you need to know:

Pin To Win – The “Dont’s”

Before Pinterest introduced their new guidelines regarding promotions, it was basically a free for all with no regulation.

The new guidelines are a way for Pinterest to cut back on the overwhelming Pin To Win contests in order to force people back to the roots of Pinterest, which is all about having people discover things that inspire them.

This information is taken from the promotions and marketing section of Pinterest’s Brand Guidelines page:

Dos and Don'ts

Don’t #1:

  • Suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses your brand or the contest.

This is pretty self-explanatory; Facebook requires the same thing. Make sure you never suggest in your contest copy or contest rules that Pinterest endorses or sponsors the contest.

Don’t #2:

  • Require people to pin from a selection—let them pin their own stuff.

This new rule is a big one because almost all of the Pin To Win contests require people to pin a specific image or piece of content or choose from a selection of things in order to enter the contest.

Under the new guidelines, you can no longer require people to pin specific content for your contest.

Don’t #3:

  • Make people pin or repin your contest rules. This is a biggie.

This makes sense: Pinterest doesn’t want its users’ pinboards flooded with contest rules from all the different contests they are entering.

Re-pinning contest rules bring nothing creative or interesting to Pinterest, and it can technically be seen as spam.

Don’t #4:

  • Run a sweepstakes where each pin, repin, board, like, or follow represents an entry.

This is another big hit to the many brands and bloggers that run Pin To Win contests. You can no longer use these actions as a method of entry or as a form of awarding entries to contests being run directly on Pinterest.

Don’t #5:

  • Encourage spammy behavior, such as asking participants to comment. 

Again, this goes back to Pinterest wanting to keep their service clean of spam. They want to steer clear of anything that doesn’t bring creativity and value to the Pinterest community.

Don’t #6:

  • Ask pinners to vote with pins, repins, boards, or likes. 

This restriction basically eliminates any other type of contest that you can run on Pinterest since you can no longer use Pinterest as a voting platform where the most pins, repins, likes, or comments wins.

Don’t #7:

  • Overdo it: contests can get old fast.

This needs no explanation: don’t use Pinterest solely to run contests. Run fewer contests and giveaways that focus on a higher value proposition (with more meaningful and significant prizes).

Don’t #8:

  • Require a minimum number of pins. One is plenty.

You can no longer require people to pin a minimum number of items in order to enter. Again, Pinterest wants people to pin based on inspiration and creativity and not have users pinning multiple pieces of content just because a contest requires it.

Pin To Win – The “Do’s”

Do #1:

  • Remember that Pinterest is all about people discovering things that inspire them. Reward quality pinning over quantity.

This goes hand in hand with many of the dont’s mentioned above. Pinterest is all about sticking to its roots, and they want people to remember that.

They don’t want it to become a hub for spam, so they want people to stay creative, especially when it comes to choosing your winners.

Do #2:

  • Make it easy to get involved with clear and simple instructions.

I’m glad they mentioned this one. Too many people are stumped as to why their contests fail (a post coming on that later), and the main reason is that they create such a high barrier to entry.

People want a quick way in and a quick way out; they don’t want to jump through hoops in order to enter your contest. Follow the KISS method when running a contest, and you will see an increase in participation.

Do #3:

  • Read Pinterest’s anti-spam measures to keep your contest fun and useful.

As Pinterest grows, the population of spammers within Pinterest grows as well. Be sure to check out their blog post on fighting spam.

Do #4:

  • Check out their branding guidelines if you’re going to reference Pinterest in any way.

The Pinterest branding guidelines are very specific, so if you plan to use the Pinterest logo or badge in any way, be sure to use them properly.

Choosing Winners

With Pinterest’s new guidelines, you can no longer choose winners of your contest at random. Pinterest wants to keep everything focused on creativity, so you will have to come up with judging guidelines when creating the rules for the contest.

Remember, you can’t have others vote on a winner either by using pins, repins, boards, or likes.

Contest Rules

Now that you can no longer run a Pin To Win contest where you choose a winner at random, your contest rules will have to be extremely clear on the judging methods and criteria of how a winner will be chosen.

Goals With a Pin to Win Contest

As we consistently say, you need to have a set of predetermined goals in mind before running your contest.


If you want to run a Pin To Win contest on Pinterest, your goal is probably going to be getting more followers and pins to grow your reach on Pinterest.

Though with the new guidelines, this will be tougher, and it will require a lot more creativity on your part—which isn’t always a bad thing.

All Roads Lead To Your Website

Ultimately, all roads in social media should lead back to your website.

There is a current trend around growing a following on all social networks in order to grow your business, but you don’t have full ownership of your social media profiles.

However, it is great to leverage these networks in building your own audience on your website or mailing list.

This is what we preach at ViralSweep. Contests should be hosted on your website, and you should be utilizing social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to drive traffic to your website in order to grow your audience.

A simple way to start is by utilizing the available Pinterest buttons on your website and in your contests to grow your following.

Avatar for Giancarlo Massaro

Giancarlo is the co-founder of ViralSweep, the viral marketing platform for businesses. Connect with him on Twitter.