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Pinterest Advertising: Everything You Need to Know

Jennifer Meech
March 5, 2020
Last Updated On
August 30, 2023

Users are in a purchasing mindset when they visit Pinterest. Pinterest Advertising capitalizes on pinners’ buying intent, and empowers brands to maximize ROI with targeted keywords and audience selection on the visual marketing channel.

whole blends pinterest post

Pinterest is often grouped together with other social channels, but the visual medium is more of a hybrid between a social media platform and a search engine. Brand marketers tackle Pinterest with a unique lense compared to visual channels like Instagram and Facebook. Similarly, advertisers are tasked with combining their approach to paid social with SEO best practices to optimize their Pinterest advertising strategy. 

For organic social marketers, Pinterest is already loaded with ROI potential. 84% of users head to the visual search engine when they’re making a purchase decision. Pinterest Advertising adds an extra layer to the channel’s revenue-generating capabilities. Ads are served to users in the form of “Promoted Pins.” With Promoted Pins, brands can target specific audiences based on criteria like geography and gender, as well as keywords and verticals.

Benefits of Pinterest Advertising

80% of weekly users have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest. It’s the best of both worlds. Advertisers can serve ads to users who are searching for their products with keyword targeting. Alternatively, brands can engage Pinners who are passively browsing by targeting interests and specific demographics.

According to Pinterest, Promoted Pins typically earn $2 in profit for every $1 spent. And 1 out of 2 Pinterest users have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin. It’s the best of both worlds. Advertisers can serve ads to users who are searching for their products with keyword targeting. Alternatively, brands can engage pinners who are passively browsing the Pinternet by targeting interests and specific demographics. It’s the perfect recipe to ensure you’re putting your pins in front of the right eyes—and ultimately increase brand awareness and revenue.

Pinterest Analytics measures the results of your ads and determines which promoted pins are performing the best with your target audience. Brands can leverage Pinterest’s in-platform analytics to measure Promoted Pin performance and inform their advertising strategy — and brands that are investing in Pinterest ads are seeing real results. A recent study found that for every $100 spent on Pinterest ads, brands produced $60 more in profit compared to other channels. 

Ritz pinterest post

Types of Pinterest Ads

Besides the obvious aesthetic and community-building benefits, Pins that show someone using a product or service are 67% more likely to drive offline sales. Pinners love to imagine how products will look in real life, and using earned media helps to take a piece of the creative process off your plate.

Similar to other advertising channels, Pinterest ads run on an auction system. To create a Promoted Pin, advertisers need to choose an objective and targeting criteria. There are four objectives to choose from: brand awareness, video view, traffic and app installs. 

Based on your brand’s product, visual strategy, and KPIs, you can select an objective that best fits your goals. From there, brands place “bids” on Promoted Pins shown to their target audience. The brand that places the highest bid has its ad served. The objective that you select determines how you bid in the auction.

Brand Awareness: If you want your Pin to be seen by as many relevant pinners as possible, this objective will best fit your campaign. Brands pay per 1,000 impressions.

Video Views: The goal here is to put your video in front of as many relevant users as possible. Brands pay per view when users watch your video for any more than two seconds.

Traffic: If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, this one's for you. While all of the objectives allow brands to drive pinners to their website, this option is unique because brands pay-per-click rather than impressions.

App Install: This objective is to encourage users to download your app. Brands pay per click for this objective.

Conversions: Conversions are about driving pinners to take action. CTAs include: “Check out,” “Sign up,” “Add to cart,” and more.

Shopping Catalog: Through this objective, pinners will discover your Promoted Pin while browsing Pinterest. Brands can choose to pay per click, or per 1,000 impressions.

Based on your brand’s product, goals, and KPIs, you can select whichever Pinterest advertising objective that best fits your visual strategy. From there, brands “bid” on Promoted Pins shown to their audience. The objective that you select determines how you bid in the auction. The brand that places the highest bid has its ad served.

How Much Do Pinterest Ads Cost?

When it comes to Pinterest ad cost, there isn’t one flat rate brands can pay up front. Depending on the ad type and campaign, the cost is going to fluctuate. If brand awareness is the ad type you are looking to take advantage of, you can expect to pay around $2.00 to $5.00 for every 1,000 impressions. If you’re looking for an alternative, objectives that lean towards boosting online engagement, or increasing website traffic, will run you between $0.10 to $1.50 per individual engagement. 

If you’re wondering where your brand will fall within these ranges, it’s relatively simple. Because of the ad bidding system run by Pinterest, if your brand falls into a more popular advertising and search category, you’re likely going to end up on the higher end of the range. If your brand or product is more niche, you will likely pay a little bit less. This is because of the other bidders you either will, or won’t have to compete with.

Best Practices for Pinterest Advertising

Here are some general best practices that are important no matter what type of advertisement you are serving on Pinterest. 

Naturally include your logo

It’s important for users to know who an advertisement is coming from, especially if they’re interested and looking for more information. Try to organically include your logo within the actual ad, or in the bottom right corner if there’s no natural fit.  

Add text overlays with CTAs

A beautiful image set is sure to catch any user's eye, but it’s important to show possible consumers what you want them to do after viewing the ad. Whether it's subscribing to your newsletter, or trying out a new product, indicate to your viewers what you want them to do next.

Give more context through descriptions

A CTA in an ad is great, but you don’t need to include every single detail about your product. That is what the ad description is there for! Be sure to include any other pertinent information for users about your advertisement in there.

Capitalize on seasonality and trends

We know you already have your finger on the pulse, so don’t be afraid to use that knowledge. Users are more likely to engage with advertisements that relate to the current season or a trend that has been blowing up all over Pinterest and other platforms. 

Triple check ad size requirements

This is a big one. If you’re a lucky bidder for an ad, you want to ensure your ad fits perfectly in order to have maximum impact on users. Each type of ad has different requirements, so be sure to check your ads specs

Vichy pinterest post

Data-Driven Visual Selection

Once advertisers determine what they’re aiming to achieve with their paid Pinterest campaign, selecting the visuals is the next step. Compelling photos and videos are at the heart of Pinterest—and your Promoted Pin performance.

As a visual search engine, pinners are served a sea of visuals when they scan the home feed or search for a specific keyword. Brands need to have a pulse on what types of photos and videos will catch pinners’ attention based on the audiences they’re targeting and the searches they’re bidding on.

Instead of testing creative and wasting resources, start with your organic Pinterest performance. The users who are engaging with your organic Pins likely resemble the audience you’re targeting in your advertising. Understanding what types of organic Pins resonate with users will inform the visuals you select for your Pinterest ads—and fuel your paid strategy.

With Dash Hudson, you can surface meaningful Pinterest insights that inform which Pins are engaging your brand's target market and, ultimately, driving traffic and revenue. Easily uncover which visuals are inspiring action from pinners, and monitor KPIs to have a pulse on your Pinterest performance. These insights will fuel your photo and video selection for Promoted Pins, and ensure you have a consistent visual strategy across your organic and paid Pins.

The Power of Promoted Pins

Pinterest is already built with conversions in mind and promoting Pins equip advertisers with the tools to capitalize on pinners’ purchase mindset. Advertisers can optimize their campaign performance by selecting an objective that best suits their KPIs and target specific audiences. Where Pinterest differs from other platforms is its search engine capabilities. Users go to Pinterest with intent. Brands can bid on keywords to capitalize on pinners’ intent — and maximize ROI. 

Many visual mediums are centered around personal popularity and peer-to-peer engagement, but Pinterest is perfectly positioned to foster positivity, excitement, and hope. Pinterest is where users go to get inspiration for their lives and purchases. It’s not about projecting an image — brand authenticity is at the heart of the Pinterest.


Are Pinterest ads worth it?

Yes. According to Pinterest, advertisements on their platform are 2.3 times more efficient cost per conversion than ads on other social media channels. Retail brands advertising on Pinterest also typically see two times higher return on ad spend compared to other socials.

Is Pinterest advertising free?

No. But it is one of the cheaper social channels to advertise with ads costing anywhere from as low as $0.10 to $1.50 per impression or engagement. There is a higher price option from $2.00 to $5.00, but those are charged per 1,000 impressions versus individually.

Are Pinterest ads better than Facebook?

This depends on two main factors: what you’re trying to achieve or sell, and who your audience is. An advertising campaign that performs exceedingly well on Pinterest, may not perform at all on Facebook, and vice versa. We recommend trying a little bit of both in order to know what works for your brand and your demographic. 

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