Design: Inserting a live feed from an Instagram or Pinterest account

Posted on January 8, 2018 at 3:00 pm Written by

In this third and final part of my re-review of NiftyImages’ tools for email marketing, I’m going to do the impossible by magically putting a live feed in an email – without the need for any knowledge of HTML or code that could effect your campaign delivery.

Granted, the Personalised Images and the Countdown Timers I blogged about were kinda live aspects for an email campaign… but this is live, live data in the form of either an Instagram or a Pinterest feed, and with practically zero effort!

To re-cap for those who were nodding at the back…

Read part one here Pulling personalised data into email images
Read part two here – Adding a Countdown Timer to an email

Don’t tell me…. you don’t “get” Pinterest or how to use Instagram?

Even if you don’t get the thrill of partaking in a twitter feed during the Eurovision Song Centest, you must be aware of the lure of these other two social platforms by now?

Instagram and Pinterest are huge for any one who realises that images more than anything else, are what draw people in. Images inspire, images promote loyalty and let’s face it …. images sell. Images make people want stuff, want adventures, and want a lifestyle that will make them happy and popular. So if you sell or promote anything that can be made to look good in a photo, you’d be well advised to be present on these platforms.

So after getting down off my soap box, and apologies if i’m preaching to the converted, here’s the deal and here’s the easiest thing you’ll see this year (I’m peaking early, I know!)

Using my NiftyImages account, I’m going to illustrate how you can include a live feed to your account so that at the moment your email is opened by a subscriber, they will see images of the very latest posts. We’ll also see how it’s easy to use a trend as your feed rather than a single account.

Step 1 – Pick an account or a trend

Having logged into your account on (please refer back to the first blog in this series of 3 for the lowdown on this application) click to create a new image.

Choose ‘Live Instagram Feed’ or ‘Pinterest Live Feed’.

Your Instagram options are:

  • Type your account user name into the Search box, starting with an @ symbol or
  • Type a hashtag to make a collage of a trending word/phrase

The predictive search results helps greatly if you want to see which hashtags are most popular (how many posts have included them). This one seems quite popular!…

Previewing 3 x 3 grid created from a live Instagram trend feed

Previewing 3 x 3 grid created from a live Instagram trend feed

Your Pinterest options are:

  • Type your Pinterest User name into the Search box, or
  • Type a Board name

Previewing 3 x 1 grid created from a live Pinterest account feed

Previewing 3 x 1 grid created from a live Pinterest account feed. Sizes will vary so a single image or just one row might be easier to cater for in your email

Step 2 – Set your grid size

Pick how many columns and rows of thumbnails you want, up to a maximum of 4 x 4. When the preview loads there’s a handy reference on screen of how many pixels in size this grid will be.

Choose options with grid, thumbnail, background colour and border settings

Choose options with grid, thumbnail, background colour and border settings

Step 3 – Set your thumbnail width

Within the grid, set how wide do you want each of the thumbnails in your grid to be. Again, the pixel reference on screen helps you get just the right dimensions that works with your email campaign layout.

If it’s an Instagram feed then you’re assured of each thumbnail being square. With Pinterest, the heights could (and probably will) easily vary as there’s no hard and fast rule with this platform.

Step 4 – More options

Time to get really pernickety. I love this kind of detail:

  • Background colour (hex value)
  • Image padding (in px)
  • Image border style or spray or dropshadow
    • Dropshadow colour (hex value)
    • Dropshadow size (px)

Step 5 – Adding the feed to your email

After saving your live feed image, just like the steps for making a new personalised image or a countdown timer, you will be given the HTML for your  image. No matter how many thumbnail images in your grid, it will still be just the one image that you create and add to an email. A few tips for this part of the process:

  1. The prompt on screen will have advised you regards the pixel dimensions of your feed so make sure you pick an area in your email where is room for the image to display. Unlike the way your NewZapp template scales an oversized image down to fit the size of the image block you dropped onto, your live feed image will display at the actual size you saw when creating it.
  2. Although I’ve talked about, and shown, shots of image grids there’s no reason not to pull in just one image. This could be a regular part of your emails which constantly updates itself.
  3. The feed won’t include a link, so if you’re featuring a particular account (rather than a trend) you’ll need to include one to lead your subscribers to the account to view more posts and to follow and share. Pop a link on the image feed itself, as its likely that a subscriber will simply click on an image.

g a single Instagram feed to an email

Setting just a single Instagram feed in an email which will automatically update to show the latest post each time the email is opened



I hope so! As you can tell I’m really impressed with the advances with this application and I’m really looking forward to seeing what our NewZapp users create. Oh, and I video’d my screen when I used the NiftyImages app to add a countdown timer to an email, so you might find it useful to watch how easy it is.

Have fun!


Follow Annette West on Twitter

Annette West

Project Manager at NewZapp


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