Written by Caroline Cox on Jul 23 , 2020

Your leads could be browsing on Pinterest — here’s how to get their attention on the popular platform.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What Pinterest Ads are
  • Steps to create a Pinterest Ads account for your business
  • Best practices for creating ads 
  • Why these paid social ads are worth exploring

More than any other social media platform, Pinterest is where people go to be inspired. What’s more, with 300 million people active on Pinterest each month, 89% of Pinners in the U.S. use the site on their path to making a purchase. 

Anyone can publish content on Pinterest by uploading images or videos. As a brand, you can also connect a product feed that’ll turn every product into a Pin, or publish from your site by linking your RSS feed to have the platform automatically create new Pins. And with all that purchasing intent, it stands to reason that Pinterest Ads are worth a second look.

pinterest ad manager

A look at creating an ad from an existing Pin on Pinterest (Image via Pinterest)

Using Pinterest Ads Manager to promote your content

Pinterest has made it pretty easy to get up and running on their ads platform. Once you create a business account, you go to the Ads dropdown menu on ads.pinterest.com and select “Create ad.” From there, you’ll choose a campaign goal based on the action you want people to take from your ad.

Next, you’ll enter your ad group details and make selections for things like your budget, targeting, and the run dates of your campaign. After that, you’ll select the dates for your campaign, add your budget, and set a maximum bid. 

Next, you’ll decide which Pin you want to promote in your campaign (make sure the Pin’s name is accurate and that it links to the proper URL). Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your ad. 

Pro tip: All ads are reviewed by the Pinterest team to ensure ad policies are being followed — this process can take up to 24 hours, so don’t panic if it takes a day for your ad to be live.

pinterest ads in feed

An example of how ads look when browsing the Pinterest site (Image via Pinterest)

1. Prioritize the visuals

Much like Instagram, Pinterest is all about the visuals. If your image isn’t high quality and engaging, you risk getting lost in the shuffle. Some experts recommend keeping images simple and vertically aligned so they’re easy to see on mobile. The recommended ratio for Pins is 2:3, or 1,000 by 1,500 pixels.

For Pin titles, you can up to 100 characters, with the first 30-35 actually showing in feeds. (It’s wise, of course, to use keywords in your title.) For description, you get up to 500 characters, but Pinterest advises prioritizing the first 50-60.

With the limited amount of characters you get for your image description, some brands add text to the image itself to maximize the amount of words you can pair with your visual.

2. Determine the right format for your goal

There are five main ad formats you can choose from when it comes to your Pinterest ad. The one or ones you opt to use will depend on your overall goals. These formats are:

  • Standard – A basic ad that allows you to showcase your products and content via a vertical or square image format
  • Video – Use a looping video clip to grab viewers’ attention and tell a story
  • Shopping – Easily convert Pins of your products into their own ads that can be clicked on to take the user right to the purchase page
  • Carousel – Lets you showcase multiple images in a single ad that viewers can swipe through
  • Collections – A stylish way to mix individual products images with a larger image showing the items in context (like a living room image above individual photos of a lamp, couch, and coffee table)

Depending on your offering, you can play around with various ad types to see which ones resonate most with your audience. 

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about what format to try, consider video. Later Media reports that video content is thriving on Pinterest in 2020, “with Video Pins quickly becoming one of the top creative tools for brands, businesses, and creators.”

pinterest ads budget

How to enter your Pinterest campaign goals and details (Image via Pinterest)

3. Figure out your budget

When it comes to pricing, Pinterest makes setting your budget pretty simple. You can determine how much you want to spend daily, the duration of your campaign, and which audience action you want to pay for. These actions could be views, engagement, or clickthroughs. 

Plus, it’s easy to turn your ad off anytime if you’re worried about blowing through your budget too quickly. As a reminder, your ad groups are where you determine things like targeting, your schedule, and your budget.

For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for TwitterInstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn.

4. Take advantage of the targeting options

Speaking of targeting, you can choose one or multiple segments from the following targeting options:

  • Audiences – Combine your own data with Pinterest’s to reach those who have previously made a purchase on your site or have engaged with your Pinterest content in the past 
  • Demographics – Allow you to reach users by specific location, device, gender, or language
  • Interests – Targets users who have created boards, engaged with Pins, or have shown interest in a relevant topic
  • Keywords – Allow you to reach people who are searching for a specific topic on Pinterest 
  • Placements – Choose if you want your ads shown in Pinterest search results, while users browse, or both
  • Expanded – Pinterest populates additional interests and keywords based on the ones you’ve already chosen along with your ad content and audience

All of the ad decisions you make should take your target audience into account, from the language in your copy to the visuals you choose. Once you’ve nailed down your ideal client persona, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine what’s bound to appeal to them most.

pinterest promoted pins

How to add existing Pins to an ad group (Image via Pinterest)

5. Keep an eye on performance

You may be surprised by how much success you find through Pinterest ads. Alternatively, you may find that the platform simply isn’t used by enough of your target audience. The only way to know how successful your ads are is to track their performance.

Pinterest encourages brands to promote Pins they’ve created that are already popular, as it’ll be easier to get these Pins more exposure. From there, you can check out the Analytics section in your account to gauge performance. And, of course, you should test a few different strategies and ad elements to ensure your campaigns are optimized. 

E-commerce brands with active accounts can take things a step further by enrolling in the verified merchant program, which adds a verification check symbol to your account and allows you to have a “Shop” tab on your profile page. 

Pro tip: Pinterest offers two ways to create ads: one is more automated, while the other is more manual and customized. Once you get familiar with the platform, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the advanced tool settings that let you build and edit campaigns, ad groups and custom targeting in Ads Manager.

create pin

Pinterest offers tools to create the most effective Pins for your audience (Image via Pinterest)

The takeaway

Pinterest is where people go to find inspiration — whether it’s for their home, career, wardrobe, or next meal. Take advantage of this visual-centric platform to target those who are browsing or searching the site for something that aligns with your product or service.

By being mindful about your content, properly targeting your audience, setting the right budget, and leveraging the proper ad format, you could gain access to a whole new segment of your audience. 

Need a bit more help to get going on Pinterest Ads? You’ve come to the right place. 


Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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