Pinterest Ads: The Essential Guide

Pinterest Ads The Essential Guide

When companies think of social media advertising, they think of the massive platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. With all of these to worry about, other platforms are easy to ignore. But what brands need to realize is that social media platform Pinterest has a growing global audience, with 416 million monthly active users as of August 2020. It’s becoming a popular site for consumers and is, therefore, a powerful tool in the hands of marketers. Using Pinterest ads could be the next step in perfecting your social media marketing strategy.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a visual discovery engine that allows users to create image boards for different interests. You can find tips and ideas for recipes, home decoration, fashion, and much more through the site. Users save “Pins” that they like to their boards and can refer back to them at any time. Consumers often turn to the site when they are looking for inspiration and information before they decide to make a purchase. This means it can be a huge resource for brands, as most users are already prepared to spend their money; they’re just looking for the right product or service. That’s where you come in!

Pinterest is a great platform to add to your social media strategy, as there aren’t as many brands to compete with as of yet. Only around 1.5 million brands use Pinterest to reach users every month, compared to 3 million on Facebook. This means more advertising space for your company.

In this guide, we’ll give you everything you need to incorporate Pinterest into your marketing strategy. We’ll cover the what, why, and how of Pinterest ads, and at the end, we’ll go over some expert tips and strategies.

In this guide:

What are Pinterest Ads?

As mentioned before, Pinterest makes use of “Pins” on their site. A pin represents an idea and is usually linked to a website that a user can click for more information (e.g. “Pumpkin Spice Recipes” could be a pin, and clicking on it brings you to a baking site). Pinterest allows users to browse through different pins and save those they like to their own boards for future reference.

Pinterest Ads look just like a regular Pinterest pin. The only difference is that they are paid-for ads, sponsored by a business that is looking to gain more exposure.

Pinterest pins and ad
A Pinterest ad amongst regular pins

Users are able to tell which pins are ads as they are labelled with the company’s name (“Promoted by…”). Pinterest chooses which sponsored pins to show users based on their past activity: search history and the pins they’ve saved. From here, Pinterest will find relevant ads and show them in the users’ Pinterest feed. For example, if a user has been doing a lot of searches for home decoration, ads for interior designers or furniture companies are likely to pop up on their feed.

Why advertise on Pinterest?

Pinterest is more than a social image-sharing network. Using Pinterest can do many things for your company, such as increase brand awareness, raise website traffic, and generate leads and sales.

How does Pinterest do all these things? Well, it’s simple.

When a user sees your ad on their Pinterest feed, they already have the intention to purchase. They’re just using Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. Having a pin with an easy link will not only drive website traffic, but could very well lead to a sale, as the user was already intending to purchase in the first place. And even if a user does not make a purchase, seeing your pin while they’re on the hunt for inspiration increases your brand awareness. They may even remember your product or service and convert into a purchasing customer when they’re finally ready to buy.

pinterest ad: target
Target Pinterest ad with a link to their website

But don’t just take our word for it. There are numbers to back up the success of Pinterest ads. Pinterest drives 3.8x greater sales than the average digital campaign. Even more impressive than this, 83% of weekly users have made a purchase based on content they saw on their Pinterest feeds. And 84% of pinners use the site to decide what to buy.

Here are some more facts about Pinterest ads:

  • 50% of users have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin (Pinterest ad)
  • 64% of users describe Pinterest as a place to find ideas, products or service they can trust
  • 77% of weekly users have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest
  • 98% of users said they try new things that they find on Pinterest

Pinterest is clearly a powerful tool that all marketers should be using. But how exactly does one go about advertising on Pinterest? Well, that would be through a business profile, which is what we’ll cover next.

How to set up a Business Profile and run ads

Just like on Instagram and Facebook, making a Business Profile on Pinterest will allow you to create advertisements and track analytics. If you’re already a Pinterest user and have a personal account, you’re able to link your business account to it. This allows you to easily switch between business and personal. And if you’ve got a number of side businesses, Pinterest supports your hustle: you can add up to 4 business profiles to a personal Pinterest account. But if you want to keep personal and business separate, that’s okay too. You can just create a separate business account.

Follow these easy steps to create your Pinterest Business Profile and run your first ad.

1. Create your account

If you already have a personal account, you can create a business account while logged in. But if you want to keep your personal and business accounts separate, log out of your personal one before moving on.

Head to the Pinterest website. In the top right corner, you’ll see a button that says “Sign up”. Click here to begin creating your account. A form will pop up, and underneath it there will be a button to “Create a business account“. Make sure to click this button before filling out your information.

Make sure to create a business profile

You can also use your Facebook or Google account to create your profile. Choose whichever route is most appropriate for your business.

To create a business profile while logged into your personal, simply head to your Pinterest home page. Click on the down arrow in the top-right corner to open the menu, and click “Add a free business account“.

2. Set up your profile

The next step is to set up all the information for your profile. You’ll be prompted by Pinterest to enter a business name, website, country, and language for your business. You’ll also be asked to add a profile picture so that users can identify your brand.

Pinterest will then ask you to select multiple classifiers for your business. You’ll have to choose the focus of your business, what type of business you are, and whether or not you want to run ads (which is what we’re here for!). After completing all the prompts, voilà! Your Pinterest Business Profile is set up ✨

3. Create an ad with Pinterest Ads Manager

Pinterest has made advertising easy with its very own ad platform: Pinterest Ads Manager. With this tool, you can create campaigns, set goals, and enter budgets.

To get started, head to the Pinterest ads page. In the top-left corner, there will be a tab labelled “Ads“. Click on this tab to show a drop-down menu, where you’ll find the option to “Create ad“.

Create ad on Pinterest Ads Manager
Creating an ad on Pinterest Ads Manager

4. Choose a campaign goal

Choose your main goal for your ad campaign. Do you want to build brand awareness? Drive traffic? Increase sales? Whichever your business’ priority is, you can set it up in this step.

5. Ad group details

Your Promoted Pins are grouped together into ad groups. In this step, name your ad group based on it’s focus (e.g. Clean skincare).

6. Choose your target

Next, you’ll choose who you think is most likely to be interested in your ads through targeting. You’ll be able to enter details for audiences, keywords, interests, and demographics. There are other tools available as well, such as choosing the placements of your ads on the Pinterest site.

Targeting options
Targeting on Pinterest Ads Manager

7. Budget and Schedule

The next step is to set up a budget and a schedule for your campaign.

For scheduling, you’ll decide on a start date. The end date is optional, but Pinterest recommends running campaigns continuously and saving end dates for seasonal campaigns. For your budget, you can enter a lifetime or daily budget for your business.

8. Start Pinning!

If you have pins on your business profile, you can choose to Promote Pins that are already doing well. Or, you can create a new Pin and promote that one. It’s best practice to link every Promoted Pin to a website so that interested consumers can find out more info with one easy click.

9. Use Analytics

Within the Pinterest Ads Manager dashboard, you’ll be able to access analytics for your ad campaigns. You can track traffic, views, conversions, and much more with reports made by Pinterest. Use these metrics to measure the success of your ads, and optimize them so your next campaign does even better.

Different types of Pinterest Ads

There are different ad formats available on Pinterest to serve different needs in your campaign. Here’s a run-down of the 5 types of Pinterest Ads available to you.

Pinterest Ad #1: Standard Pins

The standard pin is the most simple, but most popular ad format on Pinterest. If you choose to run a standard pin ad, you’ll have to include a vertical image that is striking enough to catch users’ attention while they’re scrolling through their feed.

The Beginner's Guide to Pinterest Advertising and Promoted Pins — Pinterest  Marketing
Standard Pin ad for JCPenney

Pinterest Ad #2: Video Pins

This type of ad is similar to the standard pin except instead of using a single image, you can include a video. You can also add a title and description for your video. When using video pins, make sure to make the first few seconds of your video ad interesting and engaging!

Pinterest Ad #3: Product Pins

A product pin is a great way to increase sales. It makes shopping easy for any Pinterest user, as it includes a picture, price, and availability for the product.

Product Pin
Product pin

Clicking on a product pin will also bring the user to your website or store where they can get more information and hopefully, make a purchase!

Pinterest Ad #4: Collections

This ad format allows you to feature multiple products in one single Pin. In the example below, the main image features a man wearing a sleek outfit. The collection of images below him is all the items he is wearing in the picture. This collection is effective because it allows users to see how all of the items work together, and click on each item individually for more information.


Pinterest Ad #5: Story Pins

Story Pins is a new ad format being rolled out by Pinterest. It uses multiple images to tell a story for your business. You’ll choose a cover image that gives users an idea of what the story is about, and you’re able to choose multiple images (at least three) that users can swipe through.

Extra tips!

Now that you know the basics, here are some tips to really get your Pinterest Ads going.

Post Regularly

To make sure your brand is being seen, Pinterest recommends that you create new and original pins at least once a week. You can even schedule your pins so that they run on a consistent basis.

Link everything

Make sure to make every Pin clickable by adding a URL. This will increase website traffic and make it easier for users to buy from your site.

Brand your Pins

Because Pinterest relies mostly on visuals, it’s good practice to add your logo to all your ads. This will make it easy for users to identify your company, and in turn, will increase brand awareness.

Use High-Quality Images/Videos

To make sure you stand on a Pinterest feed, always use high-quality images and videos. Create something that is appealing to the user’s eye so that they’ll click on your ad to find out more.


Pinterest Ads are a great tool to add to your marketing belt. We get that it can be tough to get started, so we’re here to help! You can check out all of the services we have available by visiting the K6 website.

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