How to Advertise on Pinterest – Beginner’s Guide

Poonam Mathur Pinterest 2 Comments

How to Get Started on Pinterest Advertising | 1226 Digital

So you’re ready to take the plunge into Pinterest advertising? Welcome!

It’s smart to consider Pinterest for your overall media mix, especially if you’re in the Food & Drink, DIY/Crafts, Home & Garden, Holiday & Events, or Women’s Fashion space.


Pinterest is poised to be the next big paid media channel and it has the results to back it up. We’ve written quite a bit on why Pinterest should be part of your marketing plan, so I won’t get into it here. Instead, let’s dive into how to get started.

1. Set Up Your Pinterest Business Account

First, you’ll need a Pinterest Business Account.

You can set up a new business account here or convert an existing personal account to a business account here.

Keep in mind, if you convert an existing account, you won’t be able to change the URL name. In many cases, it may make more sense to maintain your personal account as is and create a separate business account.

2. Get Your Business Approved for Promoted Pins by Pinterest

Next, you’ll need to get to your business account approved for Promoted Pins. Pinterest Ads are still in closed beta so you can gain access through one of their API partners or join the waitlist.

You can sign up to join the waitlist on the Pinterest ad page here.

A common question we receive is how long it takes to get approved for Pinterest Promoted Pins program. We’ve seen wait times vary from as little as a couple days or a couple weeks, while some folks never get approved.

If you’ve been on the waitlist for awhile, you can reach out to Pinterest directly and see if they can move you off the waitlist.

3. Determine Your Marketing Objective

You’ve gotten access to Pinterest Promoted Pins – excellent! Now it’s time to start promoting.

The first thing you want to do is decide on your marketing objective. You have a couple choices – Engagement campaigns or Traffic campaigns.

Pinterest - choose an objective

It’s important to have a clear idea on what your objectives are because this is how you’ll measure the success of your campaigns.

If your goal is brand awareness and Pin engagement, then you would choose the Engagement campaigns. You’ll only pay when someone looks at your Pin close up, repins your Pin, or clicks on your Pin.

If your goal is website clicks, lead generation, or website purchases, then you would choose Traffic campaigns. You’ll only pay when someone clicks through to your website.

Note that Pinterest doesn’t like landing pages that require a user to sign up before accessing content. If your site functions like this and you still want to try Promoted Pins, you’ll want to create a landing page that doesn’t require immediate signup.

4. Set your Campaign Name, Start/End Dates, and Daily Budget

Once you’ve chosen an objective, you’ll be asked to set some campaign basics.

You’ll choose a name for your campaign, set the start and end dates, and enter your daily budget. If you’d like to run your campaigns indefinitely, leave the end date field blank.

5. Decide Which Pin(s) You Want to Promote

Now it’s time to pick a Pin to promote. When you’re deciding on which Pin to promote, you want something that will stand out.

Choose images that capture a user’s attention and is aligned well with your objective. We’ve talked to a lot of people who operate in one of Pinterest’s core categories, have tried Pinterest Promoted Pins, but struggle to generate results.

We’ve found that one of the main reasons for this comes back to one common challenge: creative. Pinterest is a very different beast. If you’ve mastered Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms you’ll find the strategies that work there won’t work on Pinterest.

We put together information on how to think about your Pin creative here.

Finally, make sure the Pin is a Pin you created (don’t want to use copyrighted material), has a great description (inspire your potential customers), Pinned on your business page (you’ll want traffic coming back to your brand page), and links back to your website (or you’ll lose out on earned traffic to your website!)

5. Pick Keywords

Pinterest operates similarly to Google search in that you’ll pick keywords or search terms you would want your Pin to appear under.

You should have a good idea of what your target audience looks like and who you want to target. So think of what your ideal audience would be searching for on Pinterest.

There are a couple other ways to generate keyword ideas for your Pinterest campaign.

The first is to use Pinterest Guided Search. Pinterest helps users find what they’re looking for by providing ways to further refine their search. These will be highly trafficked terms and give your Pin a higher likelihood of being found.

To use Pinterest Guided Search, start with a high level term for your product. For example, you can search “running shoes.”

Pinterest will then provide options to make your search more specific and help you find what you’re looking for. The more commonly searched terms are at the front of the list. Looking at the first result, I can refine my search to “running shoes womens.”

Pinterest search - running shoes

You can continue to add terms to make your search more specific, which should give you an idea of how to structure the keywords you choose.

Pinterest search - running shoes women

The other popular way to generate keyword ideas it to use Google’s Keyword Planner. You can input your website URL and Keyword Planner will generate a list of relevant ad groups and keyword terms. This is a great way to see what search terms are relevant to your website and how users are searching in Google.

Once you have a list of terms, you can export the list to excel. Clean it up and remove the terms that aren’t relevant (you’ll definitely find some), and then import the list into Pinterest. The keywords from Google can be hit or miss with the Pinterest audience, but it’s definitely a good idea to test in batches.

In short, make sure your keywords and phrases are relevant to your Pin, generate a healthy list of keyword ideas, group about 20 keywords to an ad, and be prepared to test, test, test!

6. Determine the Audience You’d Like to Target

Now that you’ve chosen your keywords, it’s time to pick your audience. You’ll be able to choose Location, Language, Device Type, and Gender.

You can only target users in the United States, so if you don’t make a selection here, your campaign will automatically be targeted nationally.

For device types, you can choose web (desktop or mobile), mobile (iPhone or Android mobile), or tablets (iPad or Android tablet).

7. Set your Cost-per-Click (CPC) / Cost-per-Engagement (CPE) Bid

The campaign objective you chose at the start will determine how you’ll bid.

If you chose Traffic campaigns, you’ll enter a Cost-per-Click (CPC) bid. This is the max you’re willing to pay per click to your website.

If you chose Engagement campaigns, you’ll enter a Cost-per-Engagement (CPE) bid. This is the max you’re willing to pay per engagement. Engagements include Pin close ups, repins, and Pin clicks.

Pinterest doesn’t offer suggested bids yet, so start with a relatively modest bid and adjust from there. Since Pinterest is still in beta, competition is low. You’ll likely find average CPCs and CPEs are lower than you would find in other channels.

8. Set your Destination URL

This is where you’ll set where you want to send users when they click on your Pin. To access the destination URL field click Edit on your Pin in the right rail. If you’ve used Promoted Pins you’ll notice this field moved.

The URL you originally set when you created the Pin will appear pre-populated here. You can leave the URL as is, if that’s where you want to send users.

You can also include a new URL. We like to update the destination URL for Promoted Pins with updated UTM parameter tags so we can track conversions on paid ads versus someone finding our Pin organically. You can also use this field to A/B test landing pages.

In general, it’s good practice to include a link with UTM parameters on all your Pins. This will help you understand what Pins are driving organic traffic to your website and resulting in conversions. Then add UTM parameters with paid campaign details so you can measure organic, paid, and earned traffic of your Pins.

You’ll be surprised and excited to discover just how much earned engagement and traffic your Promoted Pins can generate and how long after they continue to roll in. It’s pretty fantastic!

9. Promote Your Campaign

Finally, it’s showtime! You’ve got your campaign set up and it’s time to hit Promote. Once you Promote your campaign, your Pin(s) will go into review, which can take up to 24 hours for approval. Once approved, your campaign is live and it’s time to watch the results come in.

We’ll dive into how to track and measure the success of your campaigns in future posts.

Until then, if you’ve tried your hand at Pinterest Promoted Pins and you’re struggling to get off the ground – leave a comment below or you can reach us here.

Update: This article was revised in August 2015 to reflect the updated Pinterest’s Ads Manager.