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What’s in a pin?  Why do people pin certain images over others and how can that information help a brand market their products?  Visual analytics company Curalate’s latest study showed that Pinterest users are more likely to repin an image that contains lots of colors, doesn’t contain a face and is in portrait shape.

Curalate evaluated more than 500,000 Pinterest images, examining 30 different visual characteristics, including color, texture, lightness and saturation.  What they found was that brand images on Pinterest are 23 percent more likely to receive a repine if the image doesn’t contain a face.  It should be noted, however, that Pinterest has 4.25 times more images without faces than images with faces, the study said.

What’s interesting is not the findings, but what companies can do with the findings.  Brands are still trying to figure out how Pinterest can help drive sales and Pinterest studies, like the one by Curalate, can help brands decide what images they should post on their sites to attract pins and potentially drive sales.

“This type of data is critical to brands and retailers, as it helps them predict which images will prompt consumer action before they post on visual sites like Pinterest and Instagram,” Curalate said.

The study also found that images with lots of color are preferred.  Specifically, red, orange and brown images are twice as likely to be repinned over blue pictures. Images of medium lightness are 20 times more likely to be repinned versus mostly black images, and eight times more likely to be repined than white images.

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Pinterest users also prefer vertical “portrait” style images over long or landscape images.  They also prefer less background over more background.  The study found that images with less than 30 percent background are repinned the most, while images containing 40 percent or more of background space are repinned two to four times less.

Users also prefer smooth over rough, saturated color over desaturated color, and multiple colors in images over a single color.

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