Feb 4th 2021: Pinterest and IFTTT have suspended the ability to make new applets using RSS Feeds that pin to boards. You can edit existing applets just fine (for now).
So if you already have these types of applets, when one runs out of things to pin you can change the feed url and board.
For this tutorial, if you want to follow along you’ll need:
- A Pinterest business account
- An IFTTT account
- A Zazzle collection with plenty (40+) of products
- Your Zazzle referral / associate id
Start the Nifty Promo Control Panel
First off, open the Zazzle Nifty Promo Control Panel (opens in new window) and put in your referral id (associate id), if you have one. If not, leave the default.
Getting the collection identifier
Next, get the identifier for your collection from Zazzle. Visit the collection you want to use as the source and copy it from the address bar as shown:
Paste it into the CPanel
…then paste in the collection identifier and hit enter. After a short pause, you’ll see the contents of the collection appear at the bottom.
Now choose the nIFTTTy Scheduler option in Step 2
First open the panels as shown:
Ready to launch the nIFTTTy Scheduler
With the panels showing you can now launch the nIFTTTy Scheduler. First give a tracking code to be used on all links. Whatever you put in will have the date appended whenever the scheduler shares/pins something.
We’d recommend using an abbreviation of your collection name together with something for the board you intend to pin to. A good example might be:
Setting up the nIFTTTy Scheduler
Now choose the days of the week you want for your pins and the times for them to pin.
Get the feed url for IFTTT
Here’s a schedule set to pin on all days using the ‘spread evenly over 24 hours’ default
Get to IFTTT and click the button to make a new applet
Once you’re logged in, look at the top right for your user icon. When you click it you’ll see that create is one of the options. Click it to start making your new applet
Once you’ve clicked the create option you’ll see the screen where you start creating your applet.
The If This part
IFTTT phrases its applets like this “if this (some input condition) then that (some action down a channel)”.
For our applet, think of it as “If a new feed item appears on this feed url then pin to Pinterest on this board these details from the item”.
So go ahead and click the If This
Next you’re going to select the RSS Feed service – but first you have to search for it.
Start typing rss and you’ll see it.
Now you’re ready to choose it…
Click the button and you’re ready to choose the trigger.
Finishing off the If This part
After choosing the RSS Feed service you tell it to trigger on a New feed item:
Pasting in the Feed url
You’ll then be able to paste in that feed url you copied from the nIFTTTy Scheduler:
Note that IFTTT have changed their user interface (July 2019) to a black and white theme. All the above screenshots have been retaken. From this point forward, other than the colours, the screenshots are pretty much identical. For this reason (and laziness) we haven’t bothered to redo them.
Finish off the IF This part
Almost ready to start the Then That part. Click the Create trigger button
On with the Then That part for the pinning
Now that the IF This part is complete, we’re ready to tell it about the action we want carried out when the input condition is met: pinning to a Pinterest board
Choosing Pinterest for the That part
There’s a lot to choose from, so rather than scrolling through them all to find Pinterest just type pin into the search box:
Choose Add Pin to board – the only choice
Fill in the Pin details
Give a board name to pin to. It’s case sensitive so make sure of your typing! If you give a name of a board that doesn’t exist, a new one will be created automatically behind the scenes on the very first pin.
Finally, name your Applet
Give it a meaningful name so when you come back to it later, you’ll know what it does.
Done! Your new applet summary screen
Once you click the Finish button you’ll be taken to your new applet’s summary screen.
It looks different in the new IFTTT user interface so we’ve taken a screenshot of a different one (the one we worked through above has long since been deleted)
🤓 Useful to know for geeks…
The feed url produced by the nIFTTTy Scheduler does something very special – it always produces an empty feed unless a timeslot is active. Active means that it’s one of your chosen days, the timeslot start has been reached and 60 minutes haven’t yet passed since then.
If one is active, then the item that appears in the feed is the ‘next due’ one.
How does it know which one is due?
It’s a matter of sums:
- It knows when the feed url was first made because it’s (encoded) in the feed url
- It knows what days of the week it’s scheduled for because they’re (encoded) in the feed url as well
- It can work out how many scheduled days have elapsed since then
- It knows how many timeslots you’ve chosen, again because they’re in the feed url
- Doing the sums on those details gives an item number to use, and it’s the item at that position in the collection that then appears in the feed
So when a timeslot is active, the next due item from your collection is picked and will appear in the feed if it’s requested. During an active timeslot, when IFTTT checks (requests) the applet’s feed url, it doesn’t get an empty feed, it gets a feed with that one item in it.
As long as the applet’s not seen that item before, IFTTT will pin it where you told it to.
⚠️ Be aware that if you make your schedule after some timeslots have already passed for the day, your first pin won’t come from the start of your collection.
For example, if I make a schedule at 11:00am and
- I’ve set the schedule to all days
- I’ve set timeslots of 6:30am, 8:00am, 9:30am, 1:00pm and so on
then here’s a surprise – the first possible item to be pinned from the collection will actually be the fourth because the first three timeslots have already passed.
If I’d made the schedule at 5:00am (and finished making the applet soon after) then the first item to be pinned would be the first in the collection.
The internet’s not perfect and sometimes glitches occur while one service is trying to communicate across it with another. It’s a fact of life.
IFTTT doesn’t know about active timeslots, all it does is keep checking the applet’s feed url every so often. If it fails when a timeslot isn’t supposed to be active. No worries just ignore the fact. No harm done.
Eventually, when your collection has had all its items pinned, the feed url will never again produce an item. At that point you’ll see nothing but failures and it’s time to delete (or switch off) that applet.