The Day We Rick Rolled Pinterest

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Last week marked an overlooked holiday: the anniversary of the Rick Roll. Yes, Tuesday May 15th marked the 5 year anniversary of the internet meme we've come to know and love, courtesy of Rick Astley's musical genius. As a team at Engauge, we saw it fit to pay tribute to hoodwinked links that let people down by directing to a song that talked about NOT letting people down (irony huh?).

How did we do it?

Recently, I signed up for a Pinterest analytics service called Pinerly. As a platform, Pinerly allows me to upload any image file that I want to and link it to any URL that I see fit, whether that image lives on the URL or not. Pinerly sets each image up as a "campaign" and tracks metrics such as likes, comments, repins and most importantly...click throughs.

Aggregating several photos that looked very Pinterest friendly, we (being @nicola_smith22, @ktmel and @richardpaulguy) uploaded several images linking to this Tumblr blog. The post not only auto-played Rick Astley's classic hymn but also listed several Pinterest-friendly images for viewers (i.e Ryan Gosling, Paris, quotes and babies) to pin themselves and try to hoodwink their friends. In addition, we had copy written by Engauge copywriter Brandon George explaining the holiday and asking people to try and fool their friends.

What were the results for that day?

  • 10 pins
  • 533 clicks
  • 934 likes
  • 2,424 repins
  • 3,954,575 people reached

Those numbers only reflect pins that we posted through Pinerly. If one was to track how much traffic we garnered through user-generated pins.

We learned a lot that day. One: Rick rolling still hasn't gotten old to people. Also, we learned how to use Pinerly from a campaign perspective. Sure, their platform is meant to be used in a more "honest" perspective. However, their analytics and pin performance reporting is the best I've seen out there so far. In addition, we learned that a call to action in the description portion of a pin really drives engagement versus a very generic description.

We most likely helped facilitate the rick rolling of a few thousand people in one day while testing out a new platform and Pinterest user behavior. Research and development is fun :)