Since launching in 2010, Pinterest has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.
In the U.S., Pinterest is visited more often than Twitter, Instagram and YouTube — only Facebook is more popular.
This platform is characterized by its two key elements: pins and boards.
Pins are images and videos that users upload to Pinterest. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, this content is usually curated from other sources rather than produced by the users themselves.
In fact, instead of calling it a social network, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann prefers to refer to the platform as “a catalogue of ideas.” Popular pin categories include fashion, home design and food photography.
Boards are the sections on each user’s profile where they can save the pins that they find in their feed. For example, a user could create a board called “Vacation” and save pins of places where they would like to travel to one day. The user can arrange the pins in a board however they want, and they can create shared boards with other users as well.
As with any social media platform, Pinterest makes its money by selling advertising options. The Pinterest user experience is highly visual, which makes it an excellent way for businesses to showcase their products and attract new customers to their stores.
So, should you be promoting your products on Pinterest? The answer is undoubtedly yes.
In this guide, we’ll go over the benefits of advertising on Pinterest in more detail, show you how to set up your Pinterest business account and review best practices for Pinterest ads.
Why Your Store Needs to Be on Pinterest
If you want to know why so many businesses advertise on Pinterest, just take a look at a few key stats about its audience:
- 322 million monthly global users
- 73% of women aged 25 to 54 in the U.S. use Pinterest
- 52% of millennials in the U.S. use Pinterest
- 89% of Pinterest users report that the platform has helped them when deciding to make a purchase
So, Pinterest has a large user base, and many of those users have a habit of purchasing items that they see featured on the platform. That means just about any business can benefit from establishing a presence on Pinterest.
Businesses in the following industries should take an extra close look at advertising on Pinterest, as these are the five most popular categories on the platform:
- Art, Art Supplies & Hobbies
- Flowers, Food, Drinks & Gifts
- Home, Garden & Pool/Spa
- Health & Beauty
- Clothing & Apparel
And considering that Pinterest’s user base is disproportionately young and female, this is an especially valuable marketing opportunity for businesses that focus their sales on those demographics, such as fast-fashion and beauty stores.
But you don’t necessarily need to belong to one of the above industries to succeed on Pinterest. For example, the software company Adobe has over 10 million monthly viewers.
How to Set Up and Use a Pinterest Business Account
To create a Pinterest business account, go to the Pinterest Business page and select “Sign up.”
Log in to your existing Pinterest account, or create a Pinterest account and sign in with your new credentials. When prompted to “Get a free business account,” select “Continue.”
That’s all it takes to create a Pinterest Business account. And once you’ve created your account, publishing your own Pins, boards and ads is easy.
Creating Pins and Boards
You can create pins on your Pinterest business account for free. By default, these will only be seen by users who follow your account or follow an account that happens to repin your content.
To do so, click on the plus icon in the top-right corner of the Business Hub dashboard and select "Create Pin."
You have the following options for your pin:
- Title: Maximum 100 characters, the first 30 of which usually show up in feeds.
- Description: Maximum 500 characters, the first 50 of which usually show up in feeds.
- Destination Link: You can promote your products by adding a link to your store.
- Upload Images or Video: For images, the PNG and JPG file types are supported, with a max file size of 32 MB. For video, MP4, MOV and M4V file types are supported, with a max file size of 2 GB. Video length must be at least 4 seconds and no longer than 15 seconds.
- Share from Site: Instead of uploading content from your computer, you can link to an image or video to publish content that already exists on the web.
You can also create a new board from this page by opening the dropdown menu next to the “Publish” button and selecting “Create board.”
All you need to do is give the board a name and make sure the “Keep this board secret” box is unchecked (you want potential customers to be able to see your boards, of course), and then you’re good to go.
To create an ad on Pinterest, click the plus sign icon in the top-right corner of the Business Hub just as you would when creating a Pin. Then, select “Create ad.”
Choose a Pin that you want to promote. Then, select “Next.”
You have the following options for your Pinterest ads:
- Daily budget: The most you’re willing to spend on the ad per day.
- Destination URL: When a Pinterest user clicks on your ad, they will be directed to this address.
- Campaign length: You can choose to either run the campaign continuously from its start date or run the campaign for a predetermined number of days.
- Target audience: In this field, you can add keywords that allow you to reach people who search for specific ideas.
After you’ve adjusted your settings, you’ll be able to see the potential audience size based on the options you selected and the total budget for your campaign. To publish your ad, click on the “Promote” button.
Once your ad is published, you can use the “Analytics” section of the Business Hub to keep track of metrics such as impressions and engagements.
Best Practices for Pinterest Ads
The following tips will help you get the most value out of your investment in advertising on Pinterest.
- Use a high-quality image: If the image you use for your ad is blurry or pixelated, it will discourage users from clicking. In fact, it’ll make your entire business look unprofessional, which could lead to less engagement from future ads regardless of their image quality.
- Use a vertical image: All Pins have the same width, but they don’t all have the same height. That means vertical Pins take up more space than square or horizontal pins — and by taking up more space, they attract more attention and generate more revenue. Pinterest recommends that you use an aspect ratio of 2:3 for your images (for example, an image that is 600 pixels wide should have a height of 900 pixels). If high-end graphics editing software (e.g. Photoshop) is too pricey for your budget, you can take advantage of free tools such as Canva and GIMP to properly format your images.
- Focus on the product: The image in your ad doesn’t need to be a standard, Amazon-style photo with a white background. A busier action shot that shows your product in use is often more compelling. Just make sure the image isn’t so busy that the product you’re trying to promote isn’t featured prominently.
- Don’t treat keywords like an afterthought: You may already be using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to increase your store’s visibility on sites like Google and Bing — similar tactics can be used to expose your Pinterest ads to more people. For example, you should utilize long-tail keywords (multi-word phrases rather than single words) to run ads for searches that don’t have a lot of competition from other businesses.
Check out this example from Betabrand to see what these principles look like in practice:
With a high-quality image that features its product in action and a perfect 2:1 aspect ratio, Betabrand has done everything they need to do to set its ad up for success. And by using the same techniques (along with a focus on SEO), you’ll be able to run a successful Pinterest ad campaign of your own.