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The Step-By-Step Guide to Pinterest Advertising

The Step-By-Step Guide to Pinterest Advertising

If you have some ad spend in your marketing budget and you’re not sure which is the best channel for your business, I have some compelling reasons for why you should consider running Pinterest ads.

For example, did you know that Pinterest users are 47% more likely to discover new brands on Pinterest over other social media platforms?

There are a number of reasons for this, but it’s mostly due to how users consume content on Pinterest and the way they engage with the right images.

This is something other social media platforms can’t match, despite having much larger audiences.

In this step-by-step guide to Pinterest advertising, I’m going to explain to you why you should use Pinterest ads, which businesses they work best for, and how to maximize your ROI.

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest Branding, logotype & Visual Identity


Pinterest is a social media network that enables users to share images — called Pins — that link back to the web page they are from.

The platform launched in 2010 and the founders called Pinterest because the idea was that users could build their own virtual “pinboards” full of their chosen images.

Pinterest had astronomical growth over its 9 years. It was the fastest site ever to break the 10 million unique visitor mark after just 2 years, and as of 2019, has more than 291 million active users.

If you have a digital marketing strategy, you should always consider Pinterest as a marketing channel. With the right images and strategies, any type of business can find its audience on the platform.

Why Should You Advertise on Pinterest?

Although it’s technically a social media platform, Pinterest operates very differently from other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Users don’t look to share personal stories, updates, or their holiday snaps. Pinterest users want to find, save, repin, and share content that’s of interest to them and people with the same interests as they have.

Pinterest users are highly engaged with the content they find and pinning content is the cornerstone of how the platform works. So, if you can serve up content that meets the needs of an audience on Pinterest, you could experience high clickthrough and conversion rates.

With millions of Pins uploaded every day, it’s hard to cut through the crowd organically. Paid ads give you the most direct path to putting your content in front of your target audience.

Image result for pinterest analytics

What Types of Businesses Do Best on Pinterest?

The easier question to answer is, what types of businesses will not do well on Pinterest?

This is because as long as you can create beautiful pins and there’s search volume for your keywords, you can tap into your audience.

It’s less about the nature of your business on Pinterest, and more about whether or not you can create shareable images that meet search intent.

To give you an idea of what niches have the largest audiences are on Pinterest, according to Statista, the most popular categories for US-based Pinterest users in 2017 were:

  • Arts and hobbies: 48%
  • Flowers, food, drinks, and gifts: 47%
  • Home, garden, pool, and spa: 45%
  • Health and beauty: 45%
  • Clothing and apparel: 37%
  • Entertainment (books, music, etc.): 34%

As you can imagine, all of these categories are very visual. They all have a wide range of products and services that images can help promote, and the engagement proves that.

If you’re in an industry that doesn’t fit into one of the above categories, don’t despair. Hop over to Pinterest and start doing some keyword research. See what’s already popping up for the keywords you want to target and take it from there.

Examples of Businesses Utilizing Pinterest Advertising

Pinterest shares dozens of success stories across almost all of the industries represented on their platform.

Here are some examples of businesses that grew their brand awareness and generated new business using Pinterest advertising:

John Lewis: The homeware giant saw a 33% increase in purchase intent and 20% increase in brand awareness.

eBay: eBay wanted to increase awareness and shopping intent heading into the festive season. They saw an 8.9-point increase in brand lift favorability and a 13.2-point increase in shopping intent.

Honda - With a new model due for release, the Japanese car manufacturer turned to Pinterest to raise awareness via paid ads. They saw a 10% increase in purchase consideration and a 15% increase in brand favorability. 

Purple Mattress - To demonstrate how effective Pinterest ads can be for smaller businesses, Purple Mattress launched in 2016 off the back of a Kickstarter campaign. To raise awareness of their brand as they entered a crowded marketplace, they used paid ads. They saw a 34% drop in cost per click within the first four months.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Help You Get Started Advertising on Pinterest

Assuming you have a business account and experience using Pinterest, here’s a step by step guide to help you set up and run your first ad campaign:

Step 1: Click on the “+” sign at the top right of the page, then click “Create ad” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Now you’re in your Ads Manager. From here you can create a campaign based on all the parameters you set.

You will see options to customize the following:

  • Campaign objective
  • Campaign name
  • Daily spend limit
  • Audience targeting (interests, keywords, demographics)
  • Budget and schedule
  • Pins for your ads

Step 3: If you promote multiple Pins, you can group them into Ad Groups. This makes it easier to assign budgets per group of ads, segment and test ads to different audiences, and so on.

That’s all there is to it as far as the steps to set up an ad campaign goes. Pinterest made it as quick and simple as possible — it’s in their best interests to do so, after all.

If you want to know about how to make the most of the options you have to target your audience, I cover this in the best practices section below.

Pinterest Advertising Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices to make sure every dollar you spend on Pinterest is going as far as it can:

Know Your Demographics

The success of your ad campaign largely hinges on you reaching the right audience first, then showing them the right content. Starting with the right audience, it’s important you understand your target demographic.

Pinterest allows you to narrow down your audience based on characteristics like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Language
  • Device

You can also select interests based on the types of Pins your target audience engages with.

Nail Your Keywords

Pinterest recommends you use a minimum of 25 keywords to help them serve up your ads to people searching for these keywords. This is a very important part of the process. The better you can understand what your ideal customer searches for, the better you can match up your ad with their search.

Using a variety of very specific to fairly broad keywords will help you cast a wide net while still targeting people interested in your content.

Create Actalike Audiences

Creating an actalike audience on Pinterest gives you the chance to target a group of people in a niche or demographic you would otherwise never find.

Pinterest creates this audience based on your source audience. They then group people that are likely to engage with your Pin based on their previous behaviors.

Optimize Your Pins

This is a big one. Your Pin is your ad, so the better optimized it is, the better it will perform.

How can you best optimize your pins for a good click-through rate?

Well, who better to ask than Pinterest! They share some tips on the business section of the blog, advising you to:

Make your Pins beautiful: Enlist the skills of a graphic designer if this isn’t your strong suit.

Make your Pins interesting: As with any ad, you need to give the user a reason to click it.

Make your Pins useful and relevant: Use Rich Pins to enhance certain types of pins, such as recipes, movies, products, and apps.

Use a Clear and Concise CTA

Finally, you need to include a clear call to action on your Pin that connects with the user and makes them click your Pin if they’re on the fence. If you ran previous ad campaigns on other platforms, you’ll have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

How to Analyze the Performance of Your Pinterest Ads

You can monitor the performance of your ads in your Pinterest Ads Manager. I have to say, their ad manager is a joy to use and it gives out as much information out as you probe for.

The dashboard is really well designed, their graphs give a good visual of how your ads perform, and they have plenty of tools to help you optimize and measure your success.

The main metrics they use are:

CTR: Clickthrough rate, representing the number of clicks to your site.

ER: Engagement rate, showing you the total number of engagements for your Pins.

Conversions: This tracks the number of actions completed on your website.

CPA: Cost per action, showing you how much each conversion is costing you.

ROAS: Return on ad spend, which is the important metric showing you how much money you make per spend.

With these performance metrics, you can see which ads work and which don’t, then drill down and make some tweaks or pull the ad.

TIP: If you are an Improvado user, you can load your Pinterest data into your visualization tool. This gives you even greater insight, enabling you to marry up the data with the rest of your marketing channel data to analyze it all and generate real-time reports. Powerful stuff!

In Summary

Congratulations! You now know everything you need to know about Pinterest advertising and how to get started.

With more than 290 million users, it’s an understatement to say there are a lot of opportunities for businesses of all sizes looking to advertise on Pinterest.

The best way to learn how to use the platform is to experiment. Set a low daily budget to get started, promote you Pins in front of the right audience, and measure how successful your campaigns are. The more you experiment, the more successful can be! 

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