$2,000 Free Audit

The Ultimate Pinterest Ads Guide (2021 Edition)

In this guide to Pinterest, we’re exploring the many doors this social platform could open up for your brand. From paid advertising to organic traffic, learn how to collect a new audience base for your business and turn them into loyal, engaged customers for the future. It’s time to get Pinterested. (We like puns.)

Rising to popularity, Pinterest continues to take the social media advertising world by storm, allowing users to delve into a world of visual wonders and creative feeds.

Most notably, the social site gives you the power to collaborate and build your own virtual pinboards, sparking a journey that inspires new hobbies, provides plenty of how-to content, and the potential for brands to reel in a whole new audience base. 

In this guide to Pinterest, we’re exploring the many doors this social platform could open up for your brand. From paid advertising to organic traffic, learn how to collect a new audience base for your business and turn them into loyal, engaged customers for the future. 

It’s time to get Pinterested. (We like puns.)

What is Pinterest?

Well, the most fabulous part of this social media giant is that it takes the traditional ‘bulletin board’ to the next level. We’re talking about nifty communication features, bookmarking, copy additions, and the best part of all: its native search functionality.

Explore infinite realms of cooking adventures, business side hustles, crafty tutorials, and more – all with the capacity to learn as an audience, or be the brand to reel them in. Users of Pinterest can follow each other to keep up-to-date with the pins, as well as interact with their communities through the typical like and commenting features.

pinterest board

Source: Pinterest

While the platform doesn’t stray too far away from the basic functionalities of Instagram or Facebook, it does bring a unique take on using visual content as a form of social collaboration – think Instagram but with a more organized touch.

The challenge is that Pinterest is still somewhat of an ‘underdog’ in the industry. While giants like Facebook and Instagram dominate a majority of the space, its creative competitor is often left to the wayside as a marketing tool.

Until now.

Pinterest at a glance

Not sure how this social network works? While our wider guide to Pinterest will focus on using Promoted Pin campaigns to drive traction, here's what you can expect from the platform in a quick glimpse.

  • Create boards: Organize your pins according to interest. Collect ideas, inspiration, how-tos, and wish lists in one simple location. Gather pins in a logical order that’s visually appealing and entirely functional. You can even divide your boards into sections if you love next-level organization.

  • Save pins: Curate your favorite pins from other users that you follow or discover. They may be individuals or brands – the choice is yours. As they update their boards, you’ll receive notifications of their new content. You’ll also get a glimpse into what they’re liking so you can do the same.

  • Explore: Think Instagram scrolling but better. See everything that could pique your interest in one place. Discover what followers are looking at and what Pinterest thinks you’ll love (based on your own activity). You can even search for specific keywords to track down inspiration for a project or to research users who could be target prospects for your brand.

  • Website traffic: Funnel traffic from a pin to your site in one click. Users that engage with a pin directly will be transported to your website. Win-win.

pinterest inspiration

Source: Pinterest

Undeniable reasons for using Pinterest Ads

The modern world is shaped by the internet, we all know that, and the challenge for any brand is being seen and heard among all this action and activity. Every day, companies fight for the attention of their audiences on Facebook and Instagram, trying desperately to reinvent the wheel to gain new audience bases, engagement, and potential for conversions. 

But what if you didn’t have to reinvent the wheel at all?

Incorporating Pinterest into your marketing strategy means you’re able to tap into a user base that thrives on visual content and community-driven interaction. There are also these sweet advantages to enjoy: 

1. Explode brand awareness

Choosing to splash a few dollars behind a specific pin (also known as Promoted Pin), powers up your brand awareness, allowing you to be seen by as many interested users as possible.

If you’ve put the effort into creating compelling ad copy and attractive graphics for your pin, combined with competitive keywords, you’ll gain even more exposure for your brand. 

Pro tip: Approximately 95% of user searches on Pinterest are unbranded. This means that those looking for particular answers to their pain points or questions are not always looking for a brand to solve them.

When you build out your content strategy, you need to keep this fact in mind. Create pins that provide value, ideas, and solutions, rather than hard-selling your business. 

2. Increase website traffic 

More than two billion searches funnel through Pinterest every month.

Did that number get your attention? It should have.

The great news for businesses – just like yours – is that you can directly target this activity through Promoted Pins. Powering up the campaign with attractive,  hyper-relevant content that meets the needs of your target audience almost always results in a stream of website traffic clicking through to your landing pages. There’s also the organic factor for long-term, evergreen traffic – which we’ll dive into later in this guide. 

Have we got a statistic for you!

Advertisers are able to reach up to 200 million people on Pinterest – a 6.2% increase over the last 12 months. 

3. Dominate conversions

If conversions are a challenge for you right now, Pinterest users are proven to contribute more engagement and purchase intent than users on other social networks. It’s for this exact reason that Pinterest ads are so hugely beneficial, giving you the ability to easily increase sales.

4. Back your marketing with data

If you’re a numbers person, you’ll like this one.

Pinterest’s Ad Manager comes with in-depth insights on how users find your pins and how they engage with them. It’s the how that’s the big winner here, giving you all the information you need to then build out your next campaign. You can even use this data to drive your entire marketing strategy; knowing how people find you online is the key to winning the online game.

5. Target niche audiences

Not all social platforms come with a clear-cut demographic. For example, Facebook and Twitter are broad – all ages, genders, and backgrounds frequent the platform.

In comparison, Pinterest offers something a little more outside the box. It’s well-known to host a massive audience that’s predominantly adult, of a decent salary bracket, and actually mostly comprised of females. 

pinterest audience overview

For brands in the fashion, craft or parenting categories, this is particularly useful, especially as competition online becomes more fierce. 

We’ll explore these demographics in the next section, but for now, just take our word for it.

 

Pinterest audiences and demographics

When it comes down to the audience of Pinterest, it’s a marketer’s dream. The data sets available through Ads Manager, complete with its extensive search capabilities means learning about your demographics is a simple process. 

So, let’s talk numbers.

Gender and wealth

The audience of Pinterest isn’t doing it tough financially. In fact, 10% of the user base earns more than $125K a year.

Active pinners are also known to have a 9% higher income on average, compared to those that don’t use the platform (Wordstream).

So what does that mean for you?

Well, it means a bigger conversion potential.

If you target your Promoted Pins appropriately, you’re more likely to convert these users than if you were to try and attract a different audience elsewhere. 

Meanwhile, 71% of the user base is female. So like we said previously if you’re trying to nurture or convert an audience of this demographic, utilizing its advertising features is almost impossible to argue against. 

Remember: this female-dominated user base is also affluent, meaning they’re above-average income earners. High-end brands are more likely to gain success on this channel than any other niche – we’re looking at you, interior decor stores. 

Preferred content formats on Pinterest

Not all users like the same type of content and most people have their preferred channel to consume their material. For Pinterest users, video is a big hit. In fact, users watch up to one billion videos a day on the platform. 

Additionally, a majority of the social network’s content is consumed on mobile devices (82% of users). 

 

Geographical location

The U.S dominates the Pinterest landscape, with 100,750,000 million users residing here. That’s more than 50% of the total audience that advertisers can tap into. Behind the U.S is Germany (17,560,000), France (12,220,000), U.K (10,750,000) and Canada (10,255,000). 

 

pinterest reach rankings

 

In terms of how fast these figures are changing, well, they’re not. They’re pretty stable, giving marketers or brands like you the chance to create consistent, hyper-targeted strategies. 

Age groups

Unlike other social networks, Pinterest has a clear-cut age range that’s consistently active across the platform. That bracket sees 40.8% of its users reside between 25 and 34 years old. Meanwhile, 24.8% of users are older than 45. Remember that a majority of these active users are female.

pinterest age groups

Source: Hootsuite

Devices and platforms

The most convenient part of any successful social network is its ability to adapt and evolve as new devices dominate the market. Pinterest is one of these, with 14.34 million monthly active downloads stemming from iOS and Android.

Pinterest collects approximately 16 million downloads of its apps every 30 days – the latest data reflecting February 2021 . Of that figure, 11 million are from Google Play Store alone.

But if you’re wanting the all-time figure, well that’s a whopping 500 million downloads from the Play Store.

Pro tip: Ensure your pins are mobile-friendly and optimised for readability on these devices. Why? Because 85% of users access Pinterest from its app, rather than desktop.

 

Pinpointing your audience for Pinterest ads

So we know a majority of the social network’s users are female, are within the 24-35 age bracket, and are affluent. They’re also more likely to use the app over its desktop counterpart and are known to buy directly from their personal Pinterest feeds.

With that knowledge in tow, brands can create powerful ads that are highly strategic and designed to engage the most interested audiences possible. All it takes is a visually attractive pin, evergreen value, and some quality ad targeting.

In this section, we’ll guide you through the steps of getting started with Pinterest’s paid advertising channel – Promoted Pins. From here, you’ll be able to set up your own campaign and amplify your website traffic, conversions, and visibility.

So let’s dive in.

 

How to set up a Promoted Pins campaign 

Like any social platform, you have to take the time to properly set up your ads in order to reach an audience that’s most likely to engage with them. You'll need a Pinterest Business Account to start, which can be accessed by the main menu.

Once you've got that handy, it's time to define your Promote Pin objectives, campaign type, target audience, ad groups, landing pages, and other crucial details.

Pinterest Ads campaign Structure

Source: Hootsuite

 

Creating your first Promoted Pin

After highlighting your campaign objectives through your business account and setting up your Pinterest tag, you’ll then need to nominate your budget and payment options, as well as narrow down your ad group.

Pinterest tag

Source: Hootsuite

 

Essentially, an ad group allows you to categorize your Promoted Pins according to budget and targeting options. When you set up your ad group correctly, you can manage your various goals within one campaign – e.g. targeting a certain demographic in a particular location but with a strict budget.

The nifty thing about Pinterest Ads Manager and making use of an ad group is that it gives you lots of ways to target a user. Complete with the tag you installed earlier, you’ll be able to zoom in on age group (remember 24 to 35-year-olds are the most active), gender, location, device, and more. 

From there you’ll pick your ad placement. Like physical real estate, the better the land, the higher the price.

When you first create a new ad, we recommend going with the ‘all placements’ targeting option, but you can also pick between ‘Search’ and ‘Browse’ – the first being placements associated with keywords and the latter for home feeds or related pins.

High-quality imagery is your key to Pinterest ad success

At the end of the day, visuals are what makes Pinterest the winning platform that it is. When you tie this in with your brand’s essence and storytelling, you’re given an explosive opportunity to engage an active audience.

pinterest pins

Source: Coschedule

 

A few Pinterest ad image tips:

Okay, let’s let you in on a few key guidelines we’ve discovered recently:

  • Shots featuring lifestyle content has an 18% higher engagement rate

  • Home decor content dominates the platform. These shots stand out when the imagery is focused on the product, not the person.

  • If you’re using fashion photography, it works best when the clothing is worn by someone.

  • Plain backgrounds are most influential for hair and beauty images

  • If you’re shooting DIY products, ensure the photography provides context

  • A text overlay is your best friend; you’ll see more engagement when you use this feature from a tool like Canva.

Additionally, remember that images you use to raise awareness are largely different from those you’d use to drive engagement. Both conditions sit at different ends of the buyer’s cycle, so it’s only natural that your images will have various features too.

We’ll dive more into this in the next section.

Getting to know Pinterest ad formats

The best part about Pinterest advertising is its flexibility with ad formats. Self-titled to be ‘visual-first', these placements showcase your products and content in a clean, minimalistic format.

But just like an apartment overlooking an ocean view, or a cottage nestled away in the hinterlands, every piece of Pinterest real estate has its own pros and cons.

In the next bit of this Pinterest guide, we’ll run you through the ad formats available for your chosen Promoted Pin.

Ad type #1: Standard Pins

The most popular Promoted Pin format, this option is basic in nature but also the most influential. The Standard Pin puts your products under the spotlight in a clean vertical square image or video. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, which may be why it works so well.

Standard Pin example

 

Standard Pin specs:

  • File type: .PNG or .JPEG

  • Ideal aspect ratio: 2:3

  • File size: Max 10 MB

 

Ad type #2: Carousel ads

Not unlike Standard Pins, these Pinterest ads are based on users swiping through multiple images or videos (known as cards) in one single pin. This is similar to the deck-like feature on Instagram, where multiple swipe images are included in one post.

The best part about Pinterest's Carousel ads as a Promoted Pin is that they work great on both desktop and mobile, with the ability to add up to five cards. The card also includes a title, description, and embedded link.

This Pinterest ads format is most appropriated for brands looking to showcase multiple products or one with several notable features.

Carousel Pin specs:

Images:

  • No. of Images: Up to 5 images per Pinterest ad Carousel

  • File type: PNG or JPEG

  • Max file size: 32 MB per image

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 2:3

Character count:

  • Title: Up to 100 characters. The initial 30-35 characters are what people will see in their feeds.

  • Description: Up to 500 characters. The first 50-60 characters are the priority.

  •  

 

Ad type #3: Video

Not every brand is up for creating video content, but if you can make good use of it, it’s explosive for brand awa – especially when using it for your Promoted Pin through Pinterest ads.

Remember that impressive fact from earlier? One billion video views are collected every day on Pinterest. We had to remind you.

Essentially, video pins work the same as Standard ones. 

Here’s a hot tip for you: Format how-to content as a video and watch the magic happen. Additionally, always ensure your video content is optimized for those watching it on Pinterest with the sound off; text overlays are your best friend here.

A screen capture of a video pin by Dior.

 

Video ad specs:

  • File type: .mp4, .mov or .m4v

  • Encoding: H.264 or H.265

  • Max file size: Up to 2GB

  • Video length: Minimum 4 seconds, maximum 15 minutes

  • Aspect ratio: Shorter than 1:2 (max width:height), taller than 1.91:1

 

Ad type #4: Shopping Pins

Ah, retail therapy at its finest.

This format of Pinterest advertising is perfect for brands that are trying to promote specific products through their ad campaign. Simply upload products from your catalog and transform them into pins that show up in the feeds of those looking to actively buy. 

These Pinterest ads also come complete with indicators that let users tap on the brand or product information and see more.

shopping pin

 

Ad format #5: App installs

As the most straightforward Pinterest ads, these placements are designed to increase downloads of your brand's app.

All of your App Install pins link directly to your dedicated spot on the Apple Store or Google Play. When someone clicks on it, they can download it without even leaving Pinterest – nifty.

app installs pinterest example

Source: Later

 

Pro tips to make killer Pinterest ads

If you need to grab a coffee after all this, we understand – there’s a lot to getting started with Pinterest ads.

But hey! It’s fun, exciting, and extremely results-driven. So hear us out. We’re almost there.

Now that you’ve become a pro at setting up your own Promoted Pins campaign on Pinterest, and you know exactly who to target, we’re going to back you up with the best tips to keep up your sleeve.

 

Try these best practices when you’re ready to go live on your Pinterest ads:

  1. One pin per campaign: You don’t need to go overboard on Pinterest. A/B testing exists for a reason, so once you know what pin format works best, use this to your advantage and stick with it. You also want to drive your impressions and results to one pin, not a million with lack-luster results. 

  2. Categorize each ad group by keyword and theme: When you’re gearing up, create buckets or themes that have their own keyword targeting. If you’re not sure how to get started with the most competitive ones for your topic, use a simple tool like Google Keyword Planner to pinpoint these opportunities (it’s free). 

  3. Understand the Pinterest algorithm: Just like Google, Pinterest works hard to get exact matches on search results. Use the ‘related keyword suggestions’ feature that’s accessible via Ads Manager for the best possible performance.

  4. Experiment with vertical pins: They’re known to work best and are much longer in terms of space – that means they take up more and stand out against those that are itty-bitty. 

  5. Repurpose powerful Pinterest content: If you find a pin that is dominating organic traffic on the platform, run it through Promoted Pins as well. Use Pinterest Analytics to located this content.

  6. Separate your device-specific campaigns: Create separate Pinterest ads campaigns for mobile vs. desktop. The behavior on each of these differs greatly, so it makes it easier to analyze and manage costs accordingly.

  7. Use data as your weapon: Pinterest Ads Manager gives you a plethora of data. Use this to your advantage and optimize future brand awareness campaigns on any platform with this knowledge at hand.

 

Measuring the success of your Pinterest ads

When all’s said and done, obviously all that matters is the numbers behind your ads.

If you’ve incorporated all of the tips we’ve mapped out for you in this guide, you should be tracking positively for your Pinterest Promoted Pins campaigns. 

Let’s talk numbers.

How to measure your Pinterest ads performance

Your Pinterest Promoted Pins campaign will have been running for some time now, so you will have accumulated enough information to get your hands dirty with data. 

To get started, head on over to your Pinterest Ads Manager interface, then click through to the ‘Ads’ section. From here you can select what kind of reporting you want to check out – just take your pick.

One of the awesome parts about this suite on Pinterest ads is that you can get an in-depth look at your followers' behavior, even down to category or interest targeting.

Pinterest ADs Reporting

 

There are a few metrics you’ll want to keep tabs on here. For starters, your Pinterest impressions reflect how many times your pins appeared across the feeds of your relevant users. Meanwhile, closeups define when a user is interested and further expands the pin for more information. 

Most obviously, link clicks are a big performance factor, showing how many users clicked from your pin and through to your website. However, you can also sift through total reach, engagement, saves, return on ad spend, keyword targeting, app install figures, and top pins.

Pinterest ad example

Okay, we like to talk a lot, but let’s face it – nothing speaks louder than putting it all into action. So let’s look at the number #1 Pinterest ads catching our eye.

Source: Highspot

 

IKEA

According to Digital Marketing Institute, IKEA USA dominated Pinterest ads (no surprise there, being home decor) with its whopping 10 million monthly viewers.

A lot of its Pinterest ads success can be attributed to its follower base being actively engaged in the decor space, so they’re already well and truly warmed up to brands like this giant. However, the U.S branch of the Swedish icon used shopping ads to create a lower cost-per-click. 

In 2019, the retailer used back-to-school trends to launch an ads campaign targeting the demand. With 50% of millennials using Pinterest, that targeting essentially hit the nail on the head (i.e. college students).

They started by funneling traffic directly from Pinterest to their website, directing users to college dormitory furniture and design accessories. From there, they used Promoted Pins for targeting Pinterest keywords sitting at high volume - i.e “dorm ideas”.

The proof is in the pudding with its massive 72% increase in click-through rates and 37% decrease in cost-per-click, all gained through their ads.

 

IKEA USA pinterest ads

 

Organic Pinterest marketing

Paid promotion and ads on Pinterest is a turning point for a lot of brands in 2021, but when you combine these efforts with your organic strategy, you end up with an undeniable force to be reckoned with. 

Ultimately, organic campaigns focus on naturally and authentically driving engagement with your followers through relevant, value-driven content on the platform. You’re not directly paying to promote your pins as an ad, but instead focusing on building content that positions you as a trustworthy, credible source. 

organic pinterest marketing

 

Keep these organic pro tips up your sleeve

Match your Promoted Pins and ads presence with your organic one to establish a holistic, consistent stream of business messaging on the platform. You can start by using the following steps as your guideline:

1. Remember that organic pins and promoted ads work together

First, create a strong organic community on the platform that prioritizes fresh, valuable content through your organic pins. Use top-performing content to then flesh out and build your Promoted Pins ads campaigns. 

2. Post regularly

The algorithm favors users that post regularly and consistently. It also builds quality engagement with your audiences, so aim for daily activity. Avoid posting in bursts and then abandoning it for a long period.

3. Organize your boards

There’s no slap on the wrist for having chaotic feeds but placing your pins in boards will ensure your followers know how to build a relationship with your business.

4. Post inspiring content

Consider mid-funnel content that inspires your audience with inspiration and ideas that solve their problem – i.e. don’t hard sell.

5. Include subtle branding

Subtle is the primary word here. Simply place your logo in a corner of your image and leave it at that. 

6. Drive organic traffic to a target landing page

Prioritize a landing page on your website that provides the most relevant information. The aim is to feed your audience the answer right then and there, not make them search for it across your website.

7. Jump on trends early

If something’s happening in your space or across the world, take advantage of it (appropriately). Create high-value content for your Pinterest advertising that incorporates this topic; it’s all about that viral factor.

 

Conclusion – connecting the dots

This guide on Pinterest ads is designed to give you a head start into the massive world of marketing using Pinterest ad campaigns. But while there are so many moving parts, remember that all advertising campaigns still come down to data and insights.

Take the time to build out your campaign in the beginning and understand your audience. Combined with an organic feed that’s been consistently updated historically, your Promoted Pins will drive more conversions, awareness, and traffic than you could have ever dreamed of.

At Online Marketing Gurus, we have worked hard to become a specialized, evidence-based digital marketing agency. Spanning across SEO, SEM, and social media ads, we’ve gotten pretty darn good at it all. 

So with that said, if you’re looking to dive into Pinterest advertising but are feeling overwhelmed, our 100+ specialists are always here to help. We thrive on partnering with in-house teams, just like ours, and genuinely care about the results you’re after. 

Put us to the test now to get a FREE Digital Audit and Strategy Session and walk away with:

  • 30-minute strategy call with a Growth Guru

  • 50+ page audit covering SEO, PPC, Facebook & more

  • 6-month multichannel game plan.

Let’s make your ads Pinteresting (sorry, we had to).

New Call-to-action

Let's increase your sales.

Claim your $2,000 Audit for FREE by telling us a little about yourself below. No obligations, no catches. Just real, revenue results.