Pinterest Ads Basics: How to set up a successful Promoted Pin campaign?

Do you know how to set up Pinterest ads to drive targeted traffic and sales? Do you know that Pinterest used to be a far cheaper ad option than Google and Facebook? Yes, and a lot more – Pinterest is the better bargain to promote your evergreen content and with Pinterest advertising, you will get free downstream activity like future saves and traffic from promoted pins that are saved while the ad was running! Sounds like a big deal, right? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to smart set up your Pinterest ad.

Steps to Pinterest Promoted Pins you should consider before setting up your first ad:

1. Pick a Pin – I would recommend you only one pin per campaign:

When just starting out, it is the cleanest way to get started. You always will know which pin is better!

You have to choose an eye-catching and clickable pin. My tip is to choose a pin that already has very good organic performance as traffic.

But, before, I want you to think well about which link to your site you will need to drive traffic the most – think well on what your landing page should be and be sure to include there a good reason the people to click! I mean the strong “call to action” message that will convert is the goal!

Also, vertical Pins (that is, Pins that are portrait-oriented rather than landscape-oriented) take up a lot more success in the Pinterest search results and are therefore more likely to catch pinners’ attention.

2. Targeting – one thing you should know is that on Pinterest you have 2 options to target audiences:

– Targeting by keywords (similar to Google ads) – In this case, you will need 20 and more niche keywords in your niche. You can choose keywords as most as you can for your business niche (such as these you use in your site) and check them on the Pinterest search bar. An effective Pinterest ad campaign considers targeting the following criteria: keywords, location, languages, device, and gender. Exactly who is your target audience for the chosen product/service? Avoid targeting by interest because it is far too competitive and expensive for most small business budgets;

– Targeting by audiences (similar to Facebook ads) – you can choose to target only a specific audience based on a few groups of people:

Pinterest types of audiences to target.

The first group as you can see are all the people who went on your site for some period behind.

The second group can be your email list or any other customer list – all the people who are familiar with you and your brand (warm audience). This is a great way to target and based on this list you can create an additional list of people (an act-alike audience similar to lookalike on Facebook). This is actually the fourth audience in the above list. In other words – Pinterest will create for you a new list of people who were acting similar to your email list of people (people who already know you and are interested to hear from you). This is a great way to reach a new audience similar to your email list interests, which is not familiar with your brand (cold audience), but are looking for the same pins as yours in the past and can be interested to see your pins. Pinterest will show your ad to these people only – they may be good new subscribers or clients. You can target of course your email list – Pinterest will check if the people from your email list are having Pinterest accounts registered with these emails and will show your ad on their Pinterest feed.

The third audience is very interesting because is from people who are engaged with your Pinterest content so far. These are the people who save or click on your pins, which led to your site already. They know you and your brand and if you target them, they will see your ad in their home feed with priority. You can target both ways – to test which type of targeting will work for you. For the keywords targeting you can reach the people who are looking for content as yours in the Pinterest search feed. For the audience targeting, you will target a different group of people only, we don’t need to use keywords.

My experience is showing that one of the most successful Pinterest ad campaigns is based on “look-alike” audiences created from a personal business list of customers or email subscribers. You need at least 100 (but better a lot more!) email subscribers or a customer list of emails in a CSV file to be able to upload as a Pinterest audience. Once you have it, you can easily create a lookalike audience based on your list and you will have totally new potential customers (potentially interested to hear from you) to reach. My tip is to target broadly and be patient! This type of targeting needs more time compared to keyword targeting. Your campaign will need more time to deliver results. If you don’t want to wait at least 2 weeks while this ad is progressing, better to choose keyword targeting. If you are not sure how to create your best potential audience, contact me here for help.

Related: Why every business owner should consider promoted pins as part of its internet marketing strategy?

3. Choose the text for the pin’s description:

Adding a few words of text to your pin image makes it clear what viewers are looking at, and why they should click to learn more. But don’t go overboard — you want the text to enhance the image, not compete with it. The text also will help your SEO and Pinterest will know when to show your pin by a search.

4. Choose the type of your campaign:

My tip is to choose only traffic campaigns (avoid engagement campaign – even close up is engagement!). The only form of paid advertising on Pinterest you should use as a beginner is Traffic Campaigns. Traffic campaigns send people from your Pinterest ads directly to your website, and you pay per click. The engagement campaign is when you pay per engagement – for any close look, save or click. It is not recommended to use this type of campaign as a beginner unless you are a big brand with a HUGE advertising budget and your goal is to simply raise awareness about your brand, this type of campaign only will worth the investment.

2020 Update: You can now choose conversion campaigns. They are great for beginners, but it will take more time until they started to drive results. Keep in mind that you will need at least 2 weeks while their algorithm is learning more about you and your goals. During this time you may not see any traffic. Be patient! Give Pinterest a chance to learn more about you before say: “Pinterest ads are not working for me”.

As far as choosing which pins you want to promote, as I said, it’s a good idea to start with those that have already done well organically. But if you don’t have any, don’t worry, Promoted Pins are great for short-term seasonal campaigns as well.

5. Define your budget and bids:

One of the most common questions when it comes to advertising is about the budget. The budgets you set here are simply the maximum amount you’re willing to spend over the entire campaign, or in a given day. These are caps to make sure you don’t go over your spending limit. Pinterest uses a “second-price auction model” for ad bids – it means that you only pay the amount needed to top the next-highest bidder, so you won’t be charged your full maximum bid unless it’s required.

The budget is up to you! But as a first Pinterest ad campaign for your brand, consider starting with a low budget of $5-10 per day to test and experiment. You can still see clicks. The minimum bid you should start with is $0.10 – 0.20 per click. In more competitive niches, you’ll need to check back and change this periodically.

So, you can spend $5-10 a day and see how is going while you’re learning. As a beginner, you may not generate a LOT of traffic, but it will be enough to learn. Again, look at your bid per click. If you’re bidding $.10 (click that means you’re only going to get around 50 clicks a day with a daily budget of 5 USD), is that going to be enough to see if they are converting? It depends on how patient you are! Maybe it is a good idea to start with a 10 USD daily budget and max 0.20 per click to see how Pinterest will react. But, if you have a bigger budget, you should continue with more. The above is really low, but as it will be the first campaign, it is more for testing. You can never assume you know what’s going to work best for your campaign that is why always be testing!

2020 Update: Now Pinterest is adding an option for automatic bids. In this case, you don’t need to choose your bid, Pinterest will choose it for you in the best possible way for you. This option is suitable for beginner-level with Pinterest ads when you don’t have experience.

6. Choose the end of the campaign:

When setting up a Pinterest ad, it is important that you should set an end date for the campaign. Always define the start and the end to be sure you will not be charged forever! It can be 10, 14 or 21 days, it depends on the budget you want to spend.

After you set up your ad, you’ll have to wait up to 24 hours for Pinterest to review your Promoted Pin for compliance with its advertising policy. In the meantime, you will need to set up your billing details (the credit card and email address on file) so that there’s a payment method available to cover your daily budget once your Promoted Pin is approved. They will charge your credit card on the 1st of the month for the previous month’s spend, or whenever you hit your billing threshold (whichever comes first). They do not accept prepaid cards or PayPal.

Of course, there are a lot more details to set up the right ad to receive the results as you wish! But as a beginner, it is all about testing – don’t forget that learning never stops! What worked in the past, may not work for the future! Be ready to be patient and consistent with your promoted pins and I wish you many successful campaigns! In the meantime, you can subscribe here to our community to receive more Pinterest tips and help from us! Or you can hire us to help you with your Pinterest marketing for your business!

Related: The completed guide on how to get more free traffic to your site while building a result-driven Pinterest strategy?

Still not using Pinterest to grow your business? See here more about our services.

If you are using Pinterest for your online business but not seeing results, read here to check our special offer for custom Pinterest account audits and reviews.

About the author:

Stiliyana Stoycheva – Pinterest Strategist and Consultant

Helping businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide with their internet marketing strategy, specializing in Pinterest for business. She has solid experience behind her with hundreds of clients from all over the world, helping them with highly successful and result oriented Pinterest management services to reach a new audience. She has studied the Pinterest platform in detail and has tested various strategies for maximum performance.

For more questions, help with Pinterest or just to stay updated with all things Pinterest, please feel free to reach her out via contact form here.

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Still not using Pinterest to grow your business? See here more about our services.

If you are using Pinterest for your online business but not seeing results, read here to check our special for custom Pinterest account audit and review.