How to Use Pinterest Advertising to Promote Products and Attract Customers
Pinterest is often undervalued by social media marketers and considered an unnecessary component of a marketing strategy — unfortunately, if this isn’t the case for your team, you could be missing out on a major source of traffic and income.
Pinterest offers plenty of unique opportunities for marketers to reach leads and influence consumer purchasing behavior. In fact, Pinners are 7x more influential than any other platform along their purchasing journey.
If you’re interested in exploring how Pinterest advertising can help you attract customers, keep reading.
With over 442 million monthly active users, Pinterest is a great place for businesses to advertise products. Ads show up on users’ feeds and searches in the same format as a regular Pin, making the experience unobtrusive for users while putting your content right in front of them.
There is a large potential reach when you create ads for Pinterest audiences — and, best of all, users are also actively searching the site for products like yours to buy.
Why Advertise on Pinterest
The reach can be incredible. If your content is engaging and valuable, it can be re-pinned again and again to different users’ boards and continue to drive consumers back to your website.
Pins have a much longer lifespan than Tweets or Instagram posts. This longevity makes them a particularly powerful asset. Pins can show up in a user’s feed months after initially posted.
Pinterest drives purchases. According to Pinterest’s Feed Optimization Playbook, 83% of weekly “Pinners” have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest.
All of which is to say — a paid advertising strategy for Pinterest isn’t such a bad idea, and could help bolster your organic presence by gaining traction with potential buyers, and improving brand recognition.
Pinterest Ad Types
There are a few ways to promote your content on Pinterest. To determine which ad format is best for your business, it’s important to know the goals of your campaign and the attributes of each Pinterest promotion format.
Accessory and beauty businesses have a new way to interact with users through Ads. Pinterest’s Try on feature uses augmented reality to enable users on the app to virtually try on products using Pinterest Lens. This feature will combine your content with their technology to create a virtual fitting room for users.
Businesses will need to go through their Pinterest account manager to get set up and must already have a product catalog uploaded.
2. Idea Pins
Idea Pins are Pinterest’s multi-page video format that allows creators to make their video content shoppable. Creators can partner with brands to utilize affiliate links and sponsored content.
These are similar to Instagram Stories, but with a bevy of publishing tools. Ideal Pins come with:
Video recording and editing for up to 20 pages of content
Voice over recording so creators can add their own personal voice
Ghost mode transition tools (for before & after videos)
Detail pages for instructions or ingredients
Multi-draft save feature
Topic and user tagging
The new feature has already proven to be a standout for Pinners garnering 9x more comments than traditional pins. Pinners are 89% more likely to exhibit shopping intent on products tagged in Idea Pins than on standalone Product Pins.
At first glance, Promoted Pins look and act just like a regular static Pin, but they have a small “Promoted” label to set them apart. Promoted Pins are boosted and targeted to reach more people. Users can even pin your Promoted Pins to their boards, share them, and comment on them.
Once a user shares a Promoted Pin, the “Promoted” label disappears, and subsequent re-pins are considered earned media — meaning, after the first pin, organic exposure to the content is free.
Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a Promoted Pin advertisement:
- The file has to be PNG or JPEG.
- Your content cannot go over 10 MB.
- There is a description copy limit of 500 characters.
- Your aspect ratio must be 2:3 and should be vertically oriented.
4. Video Pins
Promoted Video Pins are exactly like Promoted Pins — except the static image is replaced with a video.
Seven out of 10 Pinners say Pinterest is where they go to find new products, making video a great medium to reach and engage potential customers. Therefore, just as with Idea Pins, Pinterest and video advertising go hand-in-hand.
Pinterest offers two options for video sizing: max-width, or standard. Standard videos are the same size as regular Pins and cost less than a max-width Pin, which spreads across a user’s entire feed.
No matter what size you choose, Pinterest videos auto-play once they’re 50 percent in view. Plus, the Promoted Video Pins have a conversion optimization option to better serve advertisers with traffic or conversion goals. This new option brings the user to a landing page on the advertiser’s website, as well as a close-up of the video.
Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a Promoted Video Pin advertisement:
- The file has to be either an MP4 or MOV.
- Your video cannot exceed 2 GB.
- The video must meet a minimum of four seconds, and cannot go over 15 minutes.
- Your aspect ratio must fall between 1:91:1 and 1:2.
- There is a description copy limit of 500 characters.
- Make sure to create a video that’s not dependent on audio for greater accessibility and for those who scroll with sound off.
Promoted Carousels contain up to five images that users can swipe through. Carousels are used to give a deeper brand story within one Pin.
This feature behaves the same as other Pins, except it will have dots beneath the images that signal additional content. Each carousel image can be different and have a different title, description, and link to another landing page.
Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a Promoted Carousel advertisement:
- File type: PNG or JPEG
- Ideal aspect ratio: 1:1 or 2:3
- File size: Max 10 MB
- Title copy: Max 100 characters
- Description copy: Max 500 characters
Collection ads appear as a combination of one larger, hero image (or video) followed by three smaller, secondary photos. When a user taps on a collection ad, they’re taken to a full-screen experience where they can view the hero image and up to 24 secondary images.
They’re a great way to showcase a variety of products in one ad. Plus, they are easy to create using the catalog feature. Just select the product groups you’d like to feature from your catalog and Pinterest create an ad that displays the most relevant products for the user from your product feed.
Currently, collections ads can only be created on desktop and are targeted to users on the mobile app.
Pinterest shopping ads let you target customers early while they’re just browsing. Like Collections, these ads are created by pulling from your product catalog. When a user clicks on your image or video, it takes them directly to a link where they can purchase the product.
Simply set up your product groups in catalog and Pinterest will use your product data to show relevant products to users. With this feature, there’s no need to set up any additional targeting.
Curious about how to advertise on Pinterest? We’ll walk through all the steps next.
1. Create a business account.
First you’ll need to create a Pinterest business account. This will give you access to all of their ad tools and features. You also have the option to convert your personal account to a business one once you’ve logged in.
2. Choose your campaign objective.
Each of your Pinterest campaigns starts with an objective. Choosing your campaign goal is what determines what ad formats are available to you. There are several categories to choose from — Build Awareness, Consideration, Conversions, and more.
If you’re not sure what you need, you can select one of the goals listed in the short questionnaire pictured below to get started.
Conversion optimization is a campaign objective that optimizes your advertisements for specific actions outside of clicks. Now, advertisers have a way to directly inspire people to take action — like leading a user to an online checkout or newsletter sign-up with no extra steps.
If you want people to discover your business, choose Brand awareness for standard Pins or Video views for Promoted Video Pins as your campaign objective. For these two objectives, you can set a maximum cost for every 1,000 impressions your ad receives.
If your Pinterest goals are to drive qualified leads to your website or improve traffic, choose Traffic or App install for your campaign objective.
For these campaigns, you set a maximum cost-per-click — which means you are only charged when people click through your Promoted Pin to visit your website.
3. Set your campaign budget.
If you want to spend your campaign money evenly over a specific time period, select lifetime. Select daily to choose the amount spent each day. You’ll have to automatically adjust the budgets based on how long you want your ad to deliver.
Next, you’ll set a maximum bid. A bid determines the highest amount of money you’d like to pay for an action, like an engagement or click, on Pinterest. Pinterest will recommend an amount for you depending on your target audience, and what competitors are spending.
Make sure your budget for Pinterest ads reflect your overall marketing goals and the importance of the platform for your business.
4. Create an Ad group.
With Ad groups you can lump together related ads within the same campaign and track them.
For example you could create a beauty campaign with one ad group for “women 35 to 45” and another for “women under 30” and see which performs better.
5. Choose your target audience.
Targeting allows you to reach people who are searching for your content and who are ready to actively engage. Targeting is an important part of promoted ads because, without it, you’ll have less interest.
Pinterest has several targeting options that you can use singularly or combine together for a unique targeting approach.
- Audiences combine your customer knowledge with behavioral insights from Pinterest. If someone has recently bought something from your site or engaged with your Pinterest content, this allows you to target that person for an ad.
- Keywords show your ad to someone who is searching for that kind of content. If you set specific keywords like “tropical vacation” or “apple pie recipes”, your ads will target people searching for those things.
- Interests target people based on the types of content they regularly engage with. Your apple pie recipe ads would most likely be served to people who have an interest in baking or preparing for Thanksgiving.
- Expanded will provide you with additional interest and keywords based on your ad’s content and who you’re trying to reach.
- Demographics allows you to select a specific location, language, device, or gender.
- Placements gives you the option to choose where your ad is delivered. If you don’t want your promoted Pins to show up when someone is browsing, and only appear in search results, you can specify that here.
6. Design your ad.
Now it’s time to create an ad. For this you can use an image that you have already pinned or start with the template below.
7. Maximize your SEO efforts.
By adding an interest and keywords to your descriptions, they become more relevant to people who are actively searching for that content. Keep in mind that hashtags don’t add any ranking value.
On Pinterest, categories of interest are already sorted and categorized. You should explore the available topics that are relevant to your business and target those queries — if you need inspiration, check out the seven categories that do exceptionally well on Pinterest.
Your boards also provide an opportunity for SEO. Boards inform Pinterest’s search engine on how to categorize your Pins, which improves visibility. Focusing on both will support your SEO efforts.
8. Add value.
Endless product promotions on a Pinterest feed aren’t the best way to get an audience’s attention — and keep it. More than likely, you’ll just become a disruption and get unfollowed. You have to add value to every touchpoint with your customer for them to engage with your content.
To add value on Pinterest, try adding Pins that your audience will want to engage with that don’t include your product or business. You might offer added value by showcasing services or interests that compliment your own.
For example, if you sell cars, share content about upkeep or car accessories. Alternatively, if you’re running a Pinterest page for a coffee shop, try Pinning playlist ideas for people to listen to while they work. There is plenty of content available to curate for your audience’s benefit.
9. Mix up your content.
If you’re busy targeting your content to a persona, you’ll miss out on the organic connections and interests of your audience. While helpful for first steps, personas don’t give you everything you need to know about the people who are interacting with your ads.
Keep your content seasonal and relevant. Yes, it is good to make evergreen content — but don’t miss out on pop culture or holiday opportunities to spark interest.
10. Monitor campaign performance.
Finally, you need to keep an eye on your campaign performance to determine the success of your ads, or why they didn’t perform as you expected.
When you’re in Pinterest Ads Manager, click on Analytics and you’ll be shown an overview of all your campaigns and key metrics. These metrics include impressions, total clicks, earned cost-per-impression, effective cost-per-click, and more.
Every campaign has the opportunity to increase brand awareness or inspire purchases. After looking at your analytics, you can determine whether or not you need to widen your audience, increase your budget, or try a different ad format. Pinterest advertisements are not an exact science, so experiments are key to being successful on the platform.
Now that the logistics are out of the way, check out the Pinterest ad examples below for inspiration.
Pinterest Ad Examples
Each of these ads is an example of Pinterest advertising done right with actionable tips that you can take away as you create your own:
Pinterest is an excellent platform for beauty brands to showcase their products. This video ad from Ulta takes advantage of seasonality in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, creating an ad that is captivating and timely.
In this ad, the image speaks for itself, which lends well to the visual nature of the Pinterest platform. The rug is front and center in an attractive home space that draws the eye (and probably triggers the shopping tendencies of those who like decorating). It does come with a catchy tagline: “Back to Homeschool.” Because who needs a back-to-school sale to buy cool stuff?
A big audience on Pinterest is the foodies who love to find and share recipes. Love Sweat Fitness, a fitness brand, is appealing to that crowd with easy and healthy holiday sides. The best part of the ad is how it combines high-quality imagery with attractive typography.
One thing to take away from this ad is that Pinterest advertising isn’t just for home goods, recipes, and ecommerce. Those in the B2B space can definitely take advantage of the advertising opportunities… and who knows, your audience might be browsing for home goods, too.
This ad sets up the value proposition in a text format and gets right at the heart of the audience’s pains: “Stop scheduling time to schedule clients.” They then pair it with a call-to-action: “Start Booking Now.”
In this Pinterest ad, Torrid is using retargeting options to put their products in front of people who already visited the Torrid website. After visiting this product’s page on torrid.com, the ad “followed” me to Pinterest to stay top of mind and earn the sale.
Create Your Pinterest Campaign
Now that you have seen what Pinterest ads can look like, take the inspiration from the examples above and put it to action on your own advertising efforts.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.