Social media has become one of the most effective ways for businesses to connect with their ideal audience when selling products or services. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have recently introduced new advertising features designed specifically for businesses to promote their products.

Pinterest is now looking to throw its hat into the advertising ring with its new advertising tactics. We’ve been waiting for advertising on Pinterest to arrive, and a couple months ago Pinterest delivered in the form of Promoted Pins. In order to use this advertising tactic, businesses must first request access by joining the waitlist.

Now that we’ve had the chance to test and manage Pinterest’s new Promoted Pins, we had some helpful guidelines for you to improve your Pinterest business account and expand your brand name using both paid and organic features on Pinterest.

Part 1 – Promoted Pins Insights

Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the most popular platforms for businesses to gain new customers, and Promoted Pins is increasing its popularity by giving you more opportunities to reach new customers. This new advertising feature helps brands build awareness, gain engagement with their content, and drive traffic to their website. It allows access to top placements and the ability to target desired audiences.

Promoted Pins are similar to regular pins, however, you can promote them to be seen by people outside of your brand’s following. They act in a native advertising method where they show alongside other pins in users’ feeds. Which means they perform just as well as organic pins with an average engagement rate of 2-5%.

Engagement and Traffic Campaigns

As of right now, there are two types of Promoted Pin campaigns. Engagement and Traffic Campaigns are designed to achieve specific objectives for your business. Knowing how each one operates can help you create a custom Pinterest campaign that improves your business.

Engagement campaigns:

  • Objective is to gain interactions with the pin (closeups, re-pins, likes, comments)
  • Charged on CPE

Traffic campaigns:

  • Objective is to have people click through to the website
  • Charged on CPC

Pinterest Targeting Methods

In my opinion, this is where Pinterest is lacking. At the moment the targeting opinions are very limited on this platform. Fingers are crossed that as this platforms increases as an advertising option for marketers and businesses, Pinterest will expand on how we can target audiences.

Targeting Options

Terms – you can select different terms to target your pins to relevant audiences. Similar to picking keywords in Adwords, but think more as topics. If I was advertising oil change services I may choose to target the term “Cars” or “Automotive.” I would start with broad terms and as you evaluate how your campaign is doing, narrow down on more specific terms. This targeting method is also nice because Pinterest will suggest similar terms to also target. Giving you help to think of more possible ideas.

Location targeting – this method is a bit strict on this platform. There is only specific locations to pick from. Not only is it limited to the US, but you can only pick from select large cities. There is also no option to input radius targeting to expand or decrease your reach in these areas.

Language – for only being able to target the US there is actually quite a range of different languages you can target.

Device targeting – this lets you select from Web, Mobile Web, iPhone, iPad, Android Mobile, and Android Tablet.

Gender – you can choose from female, male, or unspecified.

The best part of advertising on Pinterest is the lifetime of a promoted pin last long after a campaign is over. The organic engagement will continue to promote material with an average of 5% boost in earned impressions 30 days after a pin is finished being promoted.

As of now, there is no ground breaking news about Promoted Pins. I do believe there will be a lot of improvements in the upcoming months to enhance the features, but for now with so few advertisers on this platform at the moment, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to jump in while the water is calm before everyone else joins in.

Part 2 – How Businesses can utilize Pinterest

Pinterest can drive the most referral traffic to websites and is yet one of the most underutilized platforms by businesses. The platform is highly used as a search engine by people who are looking for inspiration and items to purchase. No other social media platform has users that are that close in the purchasing process.

Multiple companies have shared that Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. It’s also been said that Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, and on more items than the average buyer.

Paid and Organic Tips

Just like all other social media platforms, there are paid and organic benefits you can reap when utilizing the platform with a business presence. Here are some tips to use while optimizing your Pinterest account. For more information about Pinterest rules, visit the Advertising Rules guide.

Paid Features

  • Promote new or best-selling products.
  • Advertise sales or discounted times with full dates* within the Pin description through Promoted Pins. Edit the description once the sale is over or prices have changed. Don’t place promotion information in the image since pins are evergreen and will be on the site longer than the promotion.
  • Promote a brand awareness video to pull in a new audience from Pinterest.
  • Promote tutorials, articles or blog material. Use a relevant image and write a summary of the material as the description to encourage people to click through to your website for the full information.
Organic Features

  • Give in-depth descriptions explaining the product. The better the description on the pin the more relevant the pin will be to users searches.
  • Always brand the photo with your logo.
  • Add links in Pin Descriptions whenever possible. The pin should already link back to your site but adding in the link to your description will increase brand awareness.
  • Pin videos as well. Most people think Pinterest is only for photos but videos actually earn a great engagement rate as well.
  • Utilize hashtags to make your content more search-friendly. If you have a branded hashtag, utilize this on all of your brand’s pins as well. Don’t over use hashtags though, Pinterest looks down on this. *
  • Include a CTA whenever possible. Give users a reason to click through instead of just pinning to a board.
  • If you run a client based business encourage your clients to message over pins they find inspirations. Such as, for a wedding planning business clients can send over décor, flowers, table settings, etc. This helps build a better relationship and overall customer service experience for you to have a better idea of what the client likes.
  • Insert the Pinterest ‘Pin It’ button on photos on your site to encourage viewers to share your material on Pinterest, just like Facebook and Twitter buttons.

Part 3 – Consumer Insights

Another nice feature is the ability for additional insights into your audience. Pinterest gives you great insights into what other products your audience are interested in.

Facebook and Twitter tell you what business pages your customers like or follow, but no other platform gives a more detailed look into what exactly your potential customers like.

Pinterest users are pinning the exact products that caught their eye. And not only can you see what your audience is pinning, but also which of your pins they are interacting with the most.

Just think how your website works. It shows you which items sell the most and generate the most profit. With Pinterest, you can see the largest ratio of which items are pinned the most but aren’t purchased. This information can lead to finding out if certain items are priced too high.

Consumer Testing

If you have a business with a high volume of website traffic, you should consider the potential of Pinterest. Utilizing organic pins is one of the best way to test elements like colors, images, discounts and sales. Through this testing you will find a better understanding of which elements get the most interaction. This is the best FREE way to test for future ads and website content!

Imagine, you post multiple shots of a product in different settings, colors, and angles and see which one gets the most interactions. Then use that image like crazy everywhere else.

In the End

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which form of advertising works best for your business. More familiar social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may feel more comfortable, but taking the next step and trying Pinterest could potentially lead to more business if it is the right platform.

Organic benefits from Pinterest is not new news for businesses and marketers but Promoted Pins are. In the time that I’ve spent researching and testing this new advertising tactic, I’ve found that combining the new and the old can reap great benefits for businesses that are not yet using this platform.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about advertising on social media, download our free whitepaper below or reach out to me at