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Increase your ROI with Pinterest Advertising

 Why use Pinterest Pinterest advertising?

  • Pinterest brings in BIG results, average increase of 20-30% in traffic and coverage
  • Pins last forever, and 80% of Pinterest content is repinned
  • Ideal to sell a product by featuring visually
  • Works when you know your target demographic
  • Pinterest users spend on average $80 per purchase, more than twice that of some other platforms

Pinterest is bringing in huge results for businesses that know how to use it well, with average increases of 20-30% in traffic and coverage. It’s no joke when you read headlines such as “$41,254.34 in sales made from $775 investment” on Pinterest blog posts.

As a business user, you also have the option of running a competition, collaborating with other bloggers or popular Pinterest accounts though, so it’s important to be clear on your reasons for wanting to advertise specifically. To understand whether your business can benefit read more about Pinterest demographics. Some key details are explained below to help.

Pins last forever and are repinned frequently (80% of content is repinned content) so promoted pins are a great way of drawing attention to an individual product, special article or event.

Once you understand the main objective of your business or team, and the main features of Pinterest discussed here, you’ll know if there’s serious ROI to gain from Pinterest advertising for your business. Think about how Pinterest users measure up with your target demographics before doing any bigger strategy work.

Campaign strategy, Pinterest Ads

  • 150 million active users
  • Pinterest user numbers grew 120% month on month during 2015
  • 135% more users came from outside the US that year
  • Users are 85% female, under 40 (62%), and they do plan purchases with Pinterest (80% of millennials who use it do). It could be time to analyse your business and target audience. If millennials are your target audience Pinterest is perfect for you

campaign strategy

We know there are now well over 150 million active Pinterest users, and that users grew 120% month on month during 2015. Pinterest also attracted 135% more users from outside the US the same year, so as a platform it’s definitely active and growing.

Overall users are 85% female, only 6.6 million are male, and more than 42% of US users are female.

Most Pinterest users are under 40 (62%) and more than 80% of millennials who use Pinterest use it to plan purchases they will make.

Pinterest users are more often looking to buy or learn, not sign up to a cause or program, as they might on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and spend on average $80 per purchase, twice as much as other platforms in many cases.

That doesn’t mean you can’t direct users to a great article about your product or service, but conversions might not be as effortless as if you have an attractive e-commerce site ready to go, where users can click through and buy what they’ve seen or pinned to their own board and saved.

Users buy to a theme; it could be weddings/events, interior design, fashion or food, but this can be anything visual – unique nail polish designs, animal products or a lifestyle product – like a car brand, health supplement or activewear. Pinterest is used for vision boarding, collecting ideas and getting inspiration for purchases.

So where does your business fit into that blueprint? If you don’t offer a ready-to-ship (or buy), visual product, can you use images that represent the service you offer and create a desire to feel a certain way in potential customers?

Campaign structure: Ad Set up on Pinterest

  • First set up a business account – takes 15 seconds
  • Get confirmed (may take up to 48 hours)
  • Follow the four-step ‘Promote’ process on Pinterest Ads
  • Use Pinterest analytics to help you select pins to promote
  • Strategy is important – follow the guidelines below and work with your marketing and sales teams together

Before you do any promoted pins, you’ll need a business account. Sign up for a business Pinterest account on www.business.pinterest.com and click on ‘Join as a Business’ to use the features, or convert your personal account to a business one (you won’t lose any of your old pins by doing this). Fill out the details as in the second screenshot (should take 15 seconds) and you’ll be able to start pinning.

You’ll need to make sure you’ve confirmed your business on Pinterest, which you do by clicking on profile settings and copying a line of meta tag text. Once it’s done, you’ll have a tick saying ‘site confirmed’ like this:

Once you’ve confirmed your business your logo will appear on pins that are repinned, and you’ll have access to analytics for pins from your website, usually within 48 hours.

When you’re ready to create ads, visit www.ads.pinterest.com and make sure you’re logged in.

  1. Click on the red ‘promote’ button in the corner, which takes you through to the 4-step process for creating a campaign.
  2. Choose whether you want to increase engagement, or conversions (visits to your website). This is THE most important decision in the process. Getting this right should make a successful campaign.
  3. Name your campaign and fill in the relevant details
  4. Pick the pin you want to promote by selecting the red button at the bottom

Campaign strategy, choosing pins to promote

  • Pinterest users are unique, they tell you what they want
  • Use Pinterest analytics and repurpose content that already gets traction to increase ROI
  • Teach people how to use your product/service or the one you’re featuring
  • Show context and place the product within a complete lifestyle package
  • Do AB testing with different pins
  • Ads are viewed differently on different devices, between 75-250 characters of text visible
  • Use all the available features – Keyword, Interest, and Database Remarketing (where you can remarket to your existing database)

Pinterest users literally tell you what they want, through what they pin to their boards. When you also use Pinterest analytics to promote and repurpose content that already gets traction organically or on Google, your ROI will increase.

Content that gets noticed on Pinterest usually teaches people how to use a product or service, describes it and shows context for how it fits in with certain lifestyles. You can

  1. Use Pinterest analytics to select pins you want to promote,
  2. Choose the ones that already have traction with your followers to reach a wider audience, or
  3. Create pins based on what competitors are using and what’s popular in general.

You can also save and create multiple campaigns, so you can do split/AB testing, or promote different products or pins at the same time, in different ways. View and monitor these from the campaign dashboard:

Images and text

It goes without saying that images need to be high quality and eye-catching on Pinterest, and descriptions need to be telling a story with more than just a list of hashtags. Blocks or tiles of four images and vertical lines do very well, with products and brands featured heavily within the image.

You can look at examples from Pinterest ‘success stories’ and see exactly how successful businesses have used eye-catching images, and increased sales, via the success stories business page.

For iPhone and iPad

On an iPhone grid, there should be about 4 lines of text when users view your promoted pins. On the iPad, it’s around 250 characters or 10 lines.

For Android

The text shows up as truncated at around 3 or 4 lines, or 100 characters.


Just like with Facebook, Pinterest users can refine the target audience based on age, gender, location – including city and/or region within the US, language, and device for displaying your ad.


  • Pinterest does most of the work for you, but you have to know what you want to select
  • Target using keywords for your pin to show up in search results
  • Choose from more than 450 interests
  • Target your existing database for remarketing using Pinterest Ads
  • Use softer calls to action, such as ‘Discover More’ or ‘Learn More’
  • Bidding aggressively during the CPC process can work well
  • Tailor campaigns for different audiences, bespoke targeting

Pinterest does a lot of the work in reaching your target audience for you, making audience selection easy. You can currently target three ways:

1) Keyword – if you want your pin to show up in search results

2) Interest (choose from a list of more than 450 interests, from baby food to fashion, weddings or shoes)

3) Database remarketing – you can target your existing database using Pinterest Ads

To reach your audience, it’s important to:

  • Be creative
  • Monitor in real time, replace underperforming keywords not generating clicks
  • Engage with soft calls to action (eg ‘discover more’) on the image to stay within Pinterest guidelines – keep it creative and inspirational
  • Create bespoke campaigns for specific audiences
  • Don’t be afraid to bid aggressively in the CPC process, if you do it yourself. You only pay for clicks on your ads


It has to be said that because Pinterest users are already focused on buying, and actively looking for inspiration, they’re more likely to respond to retargeting as well.

Retargeted customers are 70% more likely to purchase, and there are multiple ways to get a customer’s interest the second time, through e-mail, serving up ads to similar content from your website, or creating new offers that you know will appeal. Using a digital marketing agency will help you do effective retargeting.

Analytics – How will I know if my ads are performing?

  • Judge for yourself what a reasonable ROI is
  • Do research using tools available: AdWords, Keyword Planner etc
  • Generally at least 20 promoted pins
  • Take advantage of ‘related terms’ suggestions
  • Bookmark Pinterest Ads to have easy access to your analytics

It’s ultimately for you to judge what’s a reasonable ROI for your spend on Pinterest ads, but you shouldn’t be disappointed if you’ve selected the right campaign objective in step 2 under ‘Ad setup for Pinterest’ above.

Pinterest emphasizes keywords and interests, so do some research by using a tool such as AdWords, Keyword Planner or Keyword Spy. Generally, we recommend as many as 20 promoted pins.

Pro tip:
 Pinterest now offers related terms, suggestions for other terms to include when you enter your keywords, so take advantage of it when setting up your ads.

To have easy access to your Pinterest analytics, bookmark www.ads.pinterest.com, it is your dashboard screen to how well promoted pins are performing, and what you’re spending:

You’ll see analytics for three things in your Pinterest dashboard, and weekly e-mail:

  1. Click through to your website page
  2. Pin engagements, when users view and enlarge one of your pins
  3. Views, when someone sees your pin in their feed, similar to how many people are served a Facebook ad post

You can easily sort and filter the rows, and view up to 100 campaign rows at a time.

Conversion Tracking

To have any understanding of how well your promoted pins are performing, and to compare campaigns, pages or offers, you’ll need to create a conversion tracking tag. This is easily done, and a short piece of code just needs to be pasted into your website on the page you want to track.

  1. Go to the campaign dashboard page
  2. Select Conversion Tracking from the ‘Tools’ menu
  3. Click on ‘Create Tag’ and fill in the required details
  4. Paste the code into the relevant page on your website

Promoted pins vs running a competition

  • Competitions can be time consuming, no results guaranteed
  • Costs can be high to run a competition properly
  • Rules and regulations are different for each state/territory and for Pinterest Ads
  • Pinterest promoted pins are relatively low cost compared to other platforms

It can be tempting to just try running a competition or teaming up with bloggers and users who have a large following, but the costs of doing a competition can be high, and if you’ve done competitions on Facebook you’ll know it can be time-consuming, and results are not guaranteed.

There are also rules and regulations you’ll have to keep in mind, and they might be different in each state or country where your business operates.

Promoted pins to grow your e-mail list

  • Promoted pins can be used to gain you new subscribers
  • CPC cheaper than on other platforms
  • Pinterest tries to stay ‘spam free’ so create a blog post instead of an obvious landing page
  • Promoted pins are done on Pinterest Ads
  • Decide based on your ultimate goal, more conversions or more engagement?

Promoted pins are easy to use, with tracking and results that make sense straight away and they are still very cost effective. CPC is generally cheaper on Pinterest than on other platforms.

You can also create a blog post that includes an opt-in offer and pin to that, instead of directly to a landing page (still a no-no while Pinterest tries to keep the platform spam free). See this useful guide for more, but remember that promoted pins are done on Pinterest Ads now, not by hovering directly over the pin.

Pinterest uses a simple Cost Per Click (CPC) bidding system that usually works out cheap because you only pay what you would have to, to beat the next highest bidder. The biggest consideration is your ultimate goal – more engagement or conversions – and daily budget. Plenty of businesses see low costs per click get big returns, so it’s worth giving it a try.


Statistics from the first part of this chapter are from Expanded Ramblings.

Ilan Shabad
Ilan Shabad
Ilan is the Co-Founder & Head of the SEO team at One Egg Digital. He has over ten years’ experience in delivering business growth across start-ups to multi-national enterprise-level clients.

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