Pinterest Advertising For Business Owners

Although Facebook is currently leading in sales conversions produced by social media services, recent updates to Pinterest advertising methods are placing the site in a better position to stand as a prominent sales channel.

There is no doubt that Pinterest is growing and integrating more robust advertising features in 2017. According to Hootsuite, in September 2015, Pinterest reached 100 million users. Now, the site has over 150 million users.

Historically, Pinterest has been viewed as a top resource for shoppers seeking gift ideas, DIY projects, and product inspiration.

FREE GUIDE: The Retailer’s Guide to Social Commerce Channels

But with the introduction of Promoted Pins and Buyable Pins, Pinterest is no longer just a browsing site. This article was created for business owners and advertisers who are interested in learning more and potentially expanding to Pinterest’s advertising channel.

pinterest advertising

With the rapid expansion of social media platforms, businesses in e-commerce are continually being met with an ever-growing list of marketing and advertising strategies to utilize. New Pinterest advertising methods are looking to offer the same.

In the following article, we share the fundamentals and best practices for Pinterest advertisers including:

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Pinterest Advertising: Ad Types

The first question you should ask yourself before advertising on Pinterest is: Will my product be a good fit for Pinterest? Of course, an obvious resource is to look at which categories Pinterest currently features including:

  • Animals & Pets
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Cars and Motorcycles
  • Celebrities
  • Design
  • DIY & Crafts
  • Education
  • Film, Music and Books
  • Food and Drink
  • Gardening
  • Geek
  • Gifts
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Healthy and Fitness
  • History
  • Holidays and Events
  • Home Décor
  • Humor
  • Illustrations and Posters
  • Kids and Parenting
  • Men’s Fashion
  • Outdoors
  • Photography
  • ProductsQuotes
  • Science and Nature
  • Sports
  • Tattoos
  • Technology
  • Travel
  • Videos
  • Weddings
  • Women’s Fashion

Another consideration: Is my target audience on Pinterest?

Although Pinterest is notorious for it’s popularity among female users, you might be surprised to learn almost 40% of global signups are men.

Other statistics?

  • 67% of Pinterest users are slightly younger than 40.
  • 75% of people now registering Pinterest accounts are from outside the US.
  • 75% of these people are browsing Pinterest on their mobile devices.

Of course, every company must evaluate if their users are active on Pinterest.

For example, if you sell jewelry or yoga apparel – there’s a good likelihood your target market is already on the platform, but if you manufacture car parts, Pinterest probably isn’t going to drive a whole lot of return for you.

Rich Pins

If you decide to move forward with Pinterest advertising, one of the first things you should do once you have your account set up is to install Rich Pins.

According to Pinterest, Rich Pins show metadata right on the Pin itself, giving Pinners a better experience and increasing engagement. Information in a Rich Pin is independent of the Pin description, ensuring that important information is always tied to the Pin.

As of now there are 6 Rich Pins types including:pinterest advertising

  • App
  • Article
  • Movie
  • Place
  • Product
  • Recipe

Rich Pins work by displaying metadata from marked up pages on your website. Once you’ve applied for Rich Pins, any content on your site with metadata will turn into a Rich Pin when a user saves it.

According to Meghan Parsons, Retail Search Manager, Rich Pins automatically pull in information to your pin like price and product title.

“In that sense, it’s kind of like a feed-base where it’s pulling the information directly from the product detail page on your website. In general, we’ve seen stronger conversion rates for Rich Pins – due to the additional upfront information available to shoppers.”

“The one caveat with Rich Pins is that you need to double check them. As seen in the Pin below, the description says something about a wedding dress but the image displayed clearly has nothing to do with a wedding dress.”

pinterest advertising

“Just be sure you’re double checking those kinds of details because your image could be different than what’s on the landing page. You want to make sure you have consistency and the text should match the image with the appropriate pricing,” she said.

Promoted Pins

Advertisers also have the opportunity to participate in Pinterest’s paid advertising program called Promoted Pins.

Retailers can use Promoted Pins to:

  • Raise Brand Awareness
  • Promote Engagement Campaigns
  • Drive Traffic Campaigns

pinterest advertising

Promoted pins are similar to organic pins, with the exception that retailers must pay to have them seen by more Pinterest users. Typically, these native ad units perform just as well, if not even better than organic pins, expanding visibility to relevant search results, category feeds and the home feed.

Pro-Tip: Promoted Pins are created through the Pinterest Ads Manager. Within promoted pins you can have standard pins but we recommend installing the pixel and meta tag to create rich pins.

BLOG POST: “Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest Promoted Pins

Buyable Pins

Pinterest also offers Buyable Pins which allow users to browse and make a purchase without having to leave the Pinterest app and the web as well.

When a customer spots a Pin with a blue price, that indicates the item is buyable. Buyable Pins are located across the platform in the search results, related pins and on specific business profiles.

pinterest advertising

If they are searching for something specific, (including color) they can also filter to hone in on the right pin.

When users are ready to make a purchase, they simply click “Buy it” and pay with Apple Pay or a credit card. Once a user has entered their personal info, Pinterest will store it so they don’t have to punch it in again.

BLOG POST: “Announcing Pinterest Buyable Pins for Desktop

Pinterest Advertising: Pinterest Introduces Bulk Upload Tool

In November 2015, Pinterest introduced a bulk upload tool – another advancement in their efforts to promote buyable pins and encourage retailers to invest in their social commerce platform.

stephen-kerner“We now have the ability to create multiple promoted posts from scratch without having to use pins that have already pinned,” Stephen Kerner, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy said.

“It gives us the ability to build an excel doc with the info available in the feed and increase the amount of pins uploaded at one time.”

Below is how to find the bulk upload feature within Pinterest:

1) Click on Bulk Editor located within Tools section:



2) The next page will give you the option to create the template or edit your existing Promoted Pins data:


3) If you opt to create promoted pins, you will be able to upload, fill in the CSV template on the following page:



What The Pinterest Bulk Upload Tool Means for Retailers

Before bulk uploads, retailers and marketers had to promote one pin at a time (loading in keywords, bids, etc. on an individual level), now with the latest tool – retailers can do this in masse.

It’s likely if large retailers are already using buyable pins they are probably going to utilize the bulk upload tool. But for retailers not already advertising on Pinterest’s paid platform – we anticipate this tool might be too complex to dive into just yet.

It’s important to note Pinterest can’t upload a feed, instead you can use bulk upload tool – which is the closest thing to it.

“They do have conversion tracking now, but there is no revenue associated with it,” Kerner said.

According to Pinterest, when a user spots a pin with a blue price, that is a signal they can buy it directly from the app. If they are searching for something specific (including color) they can also price filter to hone in on the right pin.

When users are ready to make a purchase, they simply click “Buy it” and pay with Apple Pay or a credit card. Once a user has entered their personal info, Pinterest will store it so they don’t have to punch it in again.

Pinterest Advertising: Campaigns & Ad Groups

Earlier this year, Pinterest introduced an update to the way their advertising campaigns are structured. Previously, Pinterest advertising campaigns only had two elements including the campaign, and the Promoted Pins within it.

Now, they’ve upgraded this structure to include ad groups. Which is great news for advertisers who’ve been craving additional functionality within Pinterest’s paid advertising program.

According to the announcement, the ad group works as a container for Promoted Pins and gives the advertiser more control over how to budget, target and organize campaigns.

Benefits of Pinterest Ad Groups:

Assign budgets and targeting to ad groups – Since each ad group can contain multiple Pins, this allows for better control when testing your performance against various targets and objectives.

Align campaign budgets with marketing initiatives – Want to set a budget for a certain geographic region, product line or audience target? Ad groups make it easier to manage specific budgets within a single campaign, while still maintaining lifetime spend caps at the campaign level.

Streamline your campaigns across platforms – You may already be using something like ad groups on other platforms, so it may be easier for you to plan and manage all your campaigns in a familiar way.

pinterest advertising

“It makes it a lot easier to organize your campaigns and be more granular with your Pinterest advertising strategy,” Parsons said.

“For example, now we can see how all of your gold jewelry performs in comparison to all your silver jewelry.”

“The idea behind all of this is to allow advertisers to get much more robust with their Pinterest advertising strategy and that’s been a longtime coming.”

“Within the scope of paid social, ad groups was definitely the next logical step. Especially being in the Shopping realm, I want to see Pinterest get to a point where it’s a feed based system.”

“Of course, I have a feeling they will have issues with that because they only want very pretty, magazine type images not necessarily ‘Google type images’ – so there’s definitely a discrepancy there.”

“I can see Pinterest advertising evolving into a feed-based channel but I can also understand why they’ve been hesitant to do something like that. They definitely want to maintain helpful, beautiful, and actionable ads (similar to what you would find in a fashion or home magazine). Pinterest wants to stay true to their original layout – but in a digital way.”

pinterest advertising

“From testing, we’ve seen that having one pin per ad group performs better in comparison to having 2 or 3 pins in each ad group,” Parsons said.

One reason for this is because Pinterest automatically picks the best clicked-through Pin. So if you have multiple pins in one ad group, then it’s likely some of those pins are getting little to no visibility because Pinterest is choosing to only feature the Pin with the best CTR.

According to Parsons, having multiple ad groups (with one pin in each ad group) not only helps with the architecture of the campaign but it also makes it easier to A/B test.

“You also have the ability to change out your targeting too. For example, if you want to target certain keywords with one pin and different keywords with another – you can. It provides you with the ability to raise or lower bids based on those keywords and in general, you have better control and a more robust strategy.”

Pinterest Advertising: Targeting

Once you’ve created your Promoted Pin, Pinterest will prompt you to select your targeting method. Advertisers have a couple options including: targeting based on keywords or targeting based on interests.

Keyword Targeting: With keyword targeting, you can reach people when they are looking for specific things to make, buy or do within the search results and related pins.

Interest Targeting: With interest targeting you can reach people based on their affinity for certain things, such as vegan recipes or kickboxing.

pinterest advertising

“We’ve seen that keyword targeting is much better than interest targeting because you actually have control over the search terms you want to show up for,” Parsons said.

“It almost goes back to how we advertise with Google’s platform, there is intent and purpose within the search. Interest targeting is more for browsing – which is better for building up your brand awareness on Pinterest. Interest based targeting probably works great for style or food bloggers too but not so much for a retail brand,” she said.

“If your objective is to increase conversions and drive ROI on Pinterest, than keyword targeting is the way to go rather than interest based targeting which is better for brand uplift.”

In addition to keywords and interests, advertisers can also target based on locations (state & city level), devices, languages, and gender. Your bid will get higher or lower based on how many targeting options you choose.

New Pinterest Retargeting Features:

Last year, Pinterest also introduced better ad targeting / retargeting options with the goal of improving its commercial appeal to e-commerce businesses. The addition of these features allow retailers to combine what they know about their customers with the data Pinterest has on its user base.

1) Customer List Targeting – The customer list targeting tool allows businesses to reach existing customers using email or mobile ad IDs. These companies will also be able to take existing customer lists they may already have in place, and compare that information to new potential users on Pinterest.

2) Visitor RetargetingWith the visitor retargeting tool, businesses are able to place Pinterest conversion tags on their sites. These tags will allow businesses to follow their users onto Pinterest, track their behaviors and movements, and ultimately provide them with the data needed to place more relevant advertising content in front of interested audiences. The addition of this new tool is important, as it will allow businesses to focus their ad spend on individuals that are already familiar with their brand and products.

3) Look-A-Like Targeting – The look-a-like targeting tool allow you to reach a larger group of people who look and act similar to your current audiences. Essentially, businesses and marketers will be able to take data from their own resources, as well as from Pinterest, and use that information to construct consumer groups comparable to existing and former customers.

Although the inclusion of these Pinterest retargeting tools is far from new or groundbreaking in the realm of digital shopping, Pinterest’s expanded retargeting options definitely aid in making the site a more appealing marketing tool for businesses to capitalize on.

Pinterest Advertising: Creative & Ad Copy

Pinterest creative should be lifestyle focused and engaging.

According to Parsons, “you want something that tells a story about the product or company.” For example if you’re pushing a brand awareness campaign, you probably want to opt for an image that encompasses everything you have to offer.

pinterest advertising

Retailers are also encouraged to showcase multiple products that will display a wide range of styles to attract Pinners with different tastes.

Additional detailed descriptions and calls to action are considered a best pinning practice. According to Pinterest, tasteful branding shows Pinners you’re trustworthy, and text makes your Pin more helpful to browsers.

Pro-Tip: Large images with CTA text over lays are the best “Pinterest quality” ad and will likely garner higher CTR organically.

The Expert Takeaways:

Final thoughts from Parsons – “Pinterest advertising is definitely worth testing out – especially if you’re brand fits all the requirements.”

Her advice is to invest in a few campaigns, set a daily budget (or a campaign spending budget) and see how you perform for 30 days or so.

“It’s worth testing because there is potential for so many different outcomes. It may be successful (on an ROI basis) or it may not –  but you will gain valuable insight from it regardless and it will be able to provide an additional layer for how your customer finds you.”

For more on Pinterest advertising, email

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.