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 business Pinterest Ads account
  • Best practices for creating paid social ads on Pinterest
  • This social platform’s latest business features

More than any other social media platform, Pinterest is where people go to be inspired. 

With 400 million people reportedly active on Pinterest each month, a reported 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 connect a product feed that’ll turn every product into a Pin, or publish from your site by linking your RSS feed to have Pinterest automatically create new Pins. 

With all that purchasing intent, it stands to reason that Pinterest Ads are worth exploring.

pinterest ad manager

A look at creating an ad from an existing Pin on 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 and select “Create ad.” Then 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. 

From there, 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 advertising guidelines 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 feed with promoted pins

An example of how ads look when browsing the Pinterest site (Image: 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. 

It’s wise to keep images simple and vertically aligned so they’re easy to see on mobile. Experts recommend an aspect ratio of 9:16, with a minimum size of 1080×1920.

For Pin titles, you can enter up to 100 characters, with the first 40 actually showing in feeds, depending on device. (It’s wise, of course, to use keywords in your title.) 

For description, you get up to 500 characters, but know that “descriptions do not appear when viewing the Pin in the home feed or search feed,” according to Pinterest. “Additionally, descriptions do not appear for ads when viewed up close.”

The platform explains that descriptions are used by its own algorithm to determine relevance.

Pro tip: With the limited amount of characters in mind, 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 Pinterest ad formats. The one or ones you opt to use will depend on your overall goals. These formats are:

  • Static – 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 (these ads come in standard and max width options)
  • 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 – 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. 

Fun fact: In March 2022, Pinterest announced the addition of $1.2 million to its Creator Fund specifically set aside for people from traditionally underrepresented groups: people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

pinterest ads budget

How it looks to manage your Pinterest ad budget (Image: 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.

Pro tip: New to terms like “flexercise,” “pearlcore,” “barkitecture,” and “nailscapes”? Pinterest’s 2022 trend forecasting report will loop you in.

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 
  • Actalike audience – New people who have similar habits or interests to one of your existing audience segments
  • Demographics – Allow you to reach users by specific location, device, gender, age, 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.

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

pinterest promoted pins

How to add existing Pins to an ad group (Image: 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, since 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. 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: 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, targeting your audience, setting the right budget, and leveraging the proper ad format, you could gain access to a whole new segment of future customers. 

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

This article has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

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