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  • Writer's pictureSarah Butler

Pinterest: A Guide To Advertising Your Business

Pinterest is a quiet, underrated social media platform that is often ignored by marketers. I don't know why because Pinners (those on Pinterest) spend twice as much shopping as non-Pinners!

So what exactly is Pinterest?

According to Pinterest...

"Content isn’t chronological – it’s personal. Your content shows up right as people are looking for something to try, buy or do. People are here to find new ideas and take action, rather than simply liking other people’s posts or scrolling through the latest news. This means that they’re actively seeking content from brands, merchants and creators."

Pinterest is essentially an electronic scrapbook where people can collate visual content for ideas and inspiration. Think people planning a wedding, home renovations or holiday destinations. Pinners pin images to their boards which can be categorised or theme'd.

You can connect with others to share Pins and boards and also comment on others' Pins. There is a search bar at the top to look for specific types of images or brands. Often images on other parts of the internet such as blogs have the option of Pinning them to your Pinterest board.

Content is all imagery with only a caption as a description. The site is visually appealing - it's not a headline that pulls you in but rather colours and creativity. Once you understand this then it also makes sense that 86% of Pinners also use Instagram.

Pinners are actively looking for new trends and products and with nearly 500 million active users and one of the lowest cost per click (CPC) advertising rates, Pinterest is well worth considering as part of your marketing strategy. Brands that use a combination of an organic presence with paid advertising receive 3x the conversion and sales lift, and twice the positive incremental return on ad spend.

So who is using Pinterest?

Overwhelmingly females in the United States although Pinterest claims it is experiencing an influx of men.

Source: Hootsuite

Pinterest users are in the mood to shop with people who use Pinterest weekly are 40% more likely to say they love shopping and 75% more likely to say they’re always shopping.

According to Pinterest, 97% of the platform's top queries are unbranded. The most popular searches tend to be very concise (about two to three words). Because of this Pinterest is a very effective channel for reaching consumers. Pinners are still undecided about which brand to purchase next, therefore you can seize this opportunity by capturing them during the decision-making phase. Brands can seize the moment by producing content that is beneficial for the target audience and shows how it may be the answer to a pain point that they have.

Pinterest is therefore perfect for brands with highly visual products such as travel, events, clothing, and design. Men on the platform are also pinning funny images, anything sports-related, gadgets, and the outdoors.

Create a Pinterest Business profile

Now that you are convinced that Pinterest can be a cost-effective, highly targeted marketing channel for your brand the first step is to set up a business profile here

Enter your email address, a password and your age and click 'Create account'.

Add your business name, website address, country/region and language.

From the dropdown select your business focus and then a goal from the options offered.

Describe your business from the options presented.


Just like any other social media platform, your profile is incredibly important. Here users find out more about you, what matters to your business, and what sets you apart from competitors. Ensure you upload a profile image (that is consistent with your other digital platforms) noting the size specifications to avoid any unfortunate cropping.

Fill in your business name, username (try and secure one as close as possible to your brand name), email, about section, location, and phone. All information entered here is public.

Here you can claim your website. This allows you to get access to analytics about customers who have been directed to your website from Pinterest and lets people know where they can find more of your content. Your profile picture will also show up next to Pins that come from your website.

The Business Hub can be reached in the top left drop-down menu under 'Business'. This is where you manage all of your activity including organic Pins and advertising campaigns. At a glance, you can see information on your top-performing Pins and ads or click the relevant buttons to take a deeper dive into the analytics. The Resources section at the bottom is a knowledge base for further information on key areas.

Creating a Pin is super-easy by clicking on the 'Create Pin' button.

What sort of images should you create?

Unsurprisingly you should use the absolute best, most visually appealing images in your library. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure the images are consistent with your brand story, If you are a boutique hotel don't post images about a car unless it has direct relevance.

  • Images should make people feel something - ideally positive and uplifted. Your image should compel an action (like finding out more about your brand) or a reaction (like, share etc).

  • Make your images eye-catching, engaging and unique. Make your content stand out - you only have moments to catch people's attention.

  • Images should support your brand goals and objectives. If you want to create brand awareness make sure your logo features somewhere. If you are going for sales, then choose images that showcase your products or services at work. However, make sure there is a mix of promotional and non-promotional images though as people will not respond to always being sold to and certainly not Pin any of your overtly sales'y posts.

What sort of images are wrong for Pinterest?

The wrong sort of image will not only result in a lack of engagement and Pins, but you could also lose followers. Avoid these mistakes:

  • Images that are out of focus.

  • Images that have no clear purpose or relation to your brand.

  • Repins that everyone else is already pinning. Focus on creating your own shareable organic content.

  • Anything rude and offensive., Be mindful that this is an international platform and what is considered humorous to one culture can be rude and offensive to others. When in doubt play it safe.

  • Spammy sales messages - just don't. Your images should sell themselves.

  • Click-bait images. Ensure that when Pinners click on your Pin it takes them to a place of value that fulfils the promise the Pin made. Remember people on social media should either be informed, educated or entertained!

What can you do to create more engagement?

Use these tips to compel Pinners to engage with your Pins:

  • Appeal to emotion - if your Pin does make you feel something whether it be laughter, shock or tears, then think again.

  • Stay on topic and post Pins that your audience can relate to and make sense to your brand story.

  • Don't post anything negative but there is nothing wrong with posting content that sparks healthy conversations.

  • Stand out from the crowd - find and post content that is unique to your brand that can't be easily replicated.

  • Take note of trends - find out what people are responding to or trending content and take inspiration.

Content ideas

If you are stuck for content try some of the ideas following:

  • History - history of your organisation, history of your products or moments in history that impacted your brand. Go back to where it all began and show how you have evolved. Dig out old products or promotional material for a shot of nostalgia. When people see how long your brand has been around it shows longevity and helps to instil trust.

  • Demonstration - show people how they can use your product or your service being used. Better yet show your customers using and reacting to your products or service. You might give some pro tips for usage or share some little-known or uncommon uses. Ask your audience to share theirs.

  • Tell them who is behind the brand - introduce the audience to your employees, show how you live your mission and values. Give people a behind-the-scenes look - they love it!

  • Ask your audience what they want to see!

Best practices for increasing your followers

Hubspot recommends the following:

Promote through other channels

The quickest way to boost your Pinterest presence is to promote it through other sites. Include the Pinterest follow button on your website. Publicise your presence on Pinterest through your other social networks.

Make the best on a board specific topic

Creating boards based on a few core keywords that you already use in your SEO strategy can help you attract board followers who are passionate about a specific topic. In order to create the best board on a subject, you must be ready to promote other people’s pins in order to enhance your collection.

Engage with others' Pins

Begin following users who you believe would be interested in following you back. In addition to liking and commenting on their Pins, engage with their content. When someone views your account and sees you interacting with their content, they may be interested and follow you.

Avoid faces in your visuals

Images without human faces are shared 23% more than those with.

Be picky with your colour choices

According to data, images containing dominant colours (such as red, dark green, and pink) are shared three times more than those that do not. In addition, red or orange pictures are repinned twice as often.

Create a user-generated board

By letting other users contribute their own pins to your boards, you open up a great chance to involve fans and customers in your marketing.

Highlight your customers

Grow positive feelings about your business by encouraging your satisfied customers to share their experiences (or take photos of them at your next event).

Promote your blog content

Start using clear, beautiful images that could be successful on Pinterest in your blog articles. You should be using images in your blog articles anyway! Pin visuals that best highlight your written content.

Add a Pin button to your website

Adding a Pin It button to your site will make it simple for website visitors to share your visual content or images on Pinterest. This will help expose your brand to a new audience in the same way as other social media sharing buttons.

Add links

Include links to your website and landing pages so that you can track referral traffic and leads generated from Pinterest. Such insights will let you know how effective this platform is in relation to your other efforts.

Leverage keywords

Using keywords throughout your profile, posts, Pins, and boards will help you appear in users’ feeds and searches organically.

Advertising on Pinterest

Pinterest claims that

  • 2.3x more efficient cost per conversion than ads on social media

  • 2x higher return on ad spend for retail brands, compared to social media

It is clear that Pinterest absolutely can and does work for businesses with products and services that are a good fit for the platform.

Your results, however, will vary based on your products, your target audience, and how you approach Pinterest advertising.

Types of adverts

1. Promoted Pins
Promoted Pin

These are the same as organic Pins but have the word 'Promoted' tagged to them by your business name.

You can add your logo, a link and text overlay, which is indexed by the search function. You can also add longer text (up to 500 characters) when someone clicks on your Pin to expand it.

This is a simple, straightforward way to promote your brand and products in an unobtrusive, native way.

2. Video Pins

The Pinterest video pin ad is an especially appealing type of advertisement. It not only allows for more creative freedom and attention-grabbing visuals, but it allows you to convey more information—for example, a range of products rather than just one. The recommended length is 6-15 seconds and although enabled with sound, make the first priority to be the visual appeal of the video for when people are viewing with the sound off and ensure the message can still be conveyed without sound.

Video ad

3. Idea or Story Pins
Idea Pin

These are similar to Instagram Stories. They are short video segments, or a series of up to 20 graphics, designed to draw Pinners in with immersive educational content. They’re typically used for short how-to videos, demonstrations, and other educational content.

You can record multiple videos, adding images, lists, and custom text to a single pin. You can flip through their “pages” like you would in an Instagram story, and they’re great for “how-to” guides or product demonstrations.

They’re one of the more creative, densely packed types of Pin, and you can promote them as an ad in the same way you can with other pin types.

5. Carousel Pins

These look the same as standard Image Pins with your business name under a 'Promoted by' label but can be swiped or clicked to reveal 2-5 more images. They are a great way to showcase a product range, including different variations of a certain item, different items within a category, or action shots of the product in use.

6. Shopping Pins

These Pins can be clicked on to immediately make a purchase via a Buy button that keeps you within the Pinterest app or takes you to an e-commerce site. According to Pinterest, “When brands add Shopping ads to their Pinterest mix, they see 3x the conversion and 2x the positive incremental return on ad spend (ROAS).” So get on this - pronto.

7. Collection ads
Collection ad

These appear as one hero image or video with three smaller images below. They only appear in the mobile app feed. It goes without saying that the hero image or video should be the star of the show - the best showcase of your brand with the three secondary images offering more detail or different perspectives.

NEW! Try on product Pins

Try on product Pins and combine your content with augmented reality to create a virtual “fitting room” experience on Pinterest. Especially powerful for beauty and accessories brands, it allows users to see how a product will look on them by using their phone’s camera.

Try on Pins aren’t available in all countries yet, and you’ll need a Pinterest Business account and an uploaded product catalogue. Additionally, creating a Try on Pin is currently only possible by working with a Pinterest account manager.

Try on ad

How to create an ad campaign

These are the steps to setting up an ad campaign on Pinterest.

In the Ads menu go to Create Campaign in the drop-down. Select from an automated or manual campaign. Pinterest recommends that you choose automated unless you have experience in creating ad campaigns on the platform.

Choose a campaign objective. The options are:

  • Brand awareness - the goal here is to have your pin seen by as many relevant users as possible. You’ll be charged per 1,000 impressions.

  • Video view - this is closely tied to brand awareness, and the goal is to build awareness through video. You are charged for impressions as well.

  • Consideration/traffic - these campaigns seek to drive traffic to your site, though it’s important to note that all objectives still let you do this. With this option, however, you pay per click.

  • Conversions - here, you’ll drive people to take a particular action on your website.

  • Catalogue sales - this is where you create specific shopping pins to promote your product inventory.

Name your campaign, set your budget and decide whether you want your ads to run continuously or on specific dates.

Now set your targeting strategy with options to retarget users who have already interacted with your brand, new prospects who haven't interacted with your brand or choose your own without guidance which is recommended for experienced advertisers only.

If you do decide to choose your own you are given the following targeting options:

You then have the option of doing keyword targeting which makes your ad appear when a user searches these terms. When you enter in the keywords you want to target, Pinterest will show you a long list of related keywords and their monthly search volumes. This will give you an idea of the potential audience size you could reach.

You have the option to set up a frequency target and cap. The ad group frequency target is the number of times you want users to see your ad on a weekly or monthly basis (between two and 20 times). The cap is the upper limit for monthly views. Finally, you’ll either let Pinterest automatically bid on your behalf to get the maximum impact for your budget, or you can set a target rate per action. For example, if you’re going for awareness, you can set an amount you’re willing to pay per thousand impressions (CPM).

Lastly choose the Pin for your campaign, enter the Pin's name and the URL you want to send traffic to.

So how much does it cost?

Pinterest stacks up as being very economical being the third cheapest after Twitter and Facebook and ahead of YouTube, Instagram and Linkedin as evidenced by the 2021 average cost per click (CPC) data below.

Wrapping up

Pinterest is an important social network if your brand aligns with their demographics and can be shown in a highly visual way.

It's a great way to promote your business and gain exposure. Get your team on board (bad joke 😂 ) and start using Pinterest!

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