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How to Use Pinterest Advertising to Promote Products and Attract Customers

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Pinterest is often undervalued by social media marketers and considered an unnecessary component of a marketing strategy — unfortunately, if this isn’t the case for your team, you could be missing out on a major source of traffic and income.

Pinterest offers plenty of unique opportunities for marketers to reach leads and influence consumer purchasing behavior. In fact, Pinners are 7x more influential than any other platform along their purchasing journey.

If you’re interested in exploring how Pinterest advertising can help you attract customers, keep reading.

Pinterest Advertising

With over 442 million monthly active users, Pinterest is a great place for businesses to advertise products. Ads show up on users’ feeds and searches in the same format as a regular Pin, making the experience unobtrusive for users while putting your content right in front of them.

There is a large potential reach when you create ads for Pinterest audiences — and, best of all, users are also actively searching the site for products like yours to buy.

Why Advertise on Pinterest

  • The reach can be incredible. If your content is engaging and valuable, it can be re-pinned again and again to different users’ boards and continue to drive consumers back to your website.

  • Pins have a much longer lifespan than Tweets or Instagram posts. This longevity makes them a particularly powerful asset. Pins can show up in a user’s feed months after initially posted.

  • Pinterest drives purchases. According to Pinterest’s Feed Optimization Playbook, 83% of weekly “Pinners” have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest.

All of which is to say — a paid advertising strategy for Pinterest isn’t such a bad idea, and could help bolster your organic presence by gaining traction with potential buyers, and improving brand recognition.

Pinterest Ad Types

There are a few ways to promote your content on Pinterest. To determine which ad format is best for your business, it’s important to know the goals of your campaign and the attributes of each Pinterest promotion format.

1. Try On Product Pins

Accessory and beauty businesses have a new way to interact with users through Ads. Pinterest’s Try on feature uses augmented reality to enable users on the app to virtually try on products using Pinterest Lens. This feature will combine your content with their technology to create a virtual fitting room for users.

Types of Pinterest Ads: Pinterest Try on Image Source

Businesses will need to go through their Pinterest account manager to get set up and must already have a product catalog uploaded.

2. Idea Pins

Idea Pins are Pinterest’s multi-page video format that allows creators to make their video content shoppable. Creators can partner with brands to utilize affiliate links and sponsored content.

Types of Pinterest Ads: Idea PinImage Source

These are similar to Instagram Stories, but with a bevy of publishing tools. Ideal Pins come with:

  • Video recording and editing for up to 20 pages of content

  • Voice over recording so creators can add their own personal voice

  • Ghost mode transition tools (for before & after videos)

  • Detail pages for instructions or ingredients

  • Multi-draft save feature

  • Topic and user tagging

The new feature has already proven to be a standout for Pinners garnering 9x more comments than traditional pins. Pinners are 89% more likely to exhibit shopping intent on products tagged in Idea Pins than on standalone Product Pins.

3. Promoted Pins

At first glance, Promoted Pins look and act just like a regular static Pin, but they have a small “Promoted” label to set them apart. Promoted Pins are boosted and targeted to reach more people. Users can even pin your Promoted Pins to their boards, share them, and comment on them.

Once a user shares a Promoted Pin, the “Promoted” label disappears, and subsequent re-pins are considered earned media — meaning, after the first pin, organic exposure to the content is free.

Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a Promoted Pin advertisement:

  • The file has to be PNG or JPEG.
  • Your content cannot go over 10 MB.
  • There is a description copy limit of 500 characters.
  • Your aspect ratio must be 2:3 and should be vertically oriented.
Pinterest Ad Types: Promoted Pins

Image Source

4. Video Pins

Promoted Video Pins are exactly like Promoted Pins — except the static image is replaced with a video.

Seven out of 10 Pinners say Pinterest is where they go to find new products, making video a great medium to reach and engage potential customers. Therefore, just as with Idea Pins, Pinterest and video advertising go hand-in-hand.

Pinterest offers two options for video sizing: max-width, or standard. Standard videos are the same size as regular Pins and cost less than a max-width Pin, which spreads across a user’s entire feed.

No matter what size you choose, Pinterest videos auto-play once they’re 50 percent in view. Plus, the Promoted Video Pins have a conversion optimization option to better serve advertisers with traffic or conversion goals. This new option brings the user to a landing page on the advertiser’s website, as well as a close-up of the video.

Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a Promoted Video Pin advertisement:

  • The file has to be either an MP4 or MOV.
  • Your video cannot exceed 2 GB.
  • The video must meet a minimum of four seconds, and cannot go over 15 minutes.
  • Your aspect ratio must fall between 1:91:1 and 1:2.
  • There is a description copy limit of 500 characters.
  • Make sure to create a video that’s not dependent on audio for greater accessibility and for those who scroll with sound off.

5. Carousels

Promoted Carousels contain up to five images that users can swipe through. Carousels are used to give a deeper brand story within one Pin.

This feature behaves the same as other Pins, except it will have dots beneath the images that signal additional content. Each carousel image can be different and have a different title, description, and link to another landing page.

Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a Promoted Carousel advertisement:

  • File type: PNG or JPEG
  • Ideal aspect ratio: 1:1 or 2:3
  • File size: Max 10 MB
  • Title copy: Max 100 characters
  • Description copy: Max 500 characters

6. Collections

Collection ads appear as a combination of one larger, hero image (or video) followed by three smaller, secondary photos. When a user taps on a collection ad, they’re taken to a full-screen experience where they can view the hero image and up to 24 secondary images.

Types of Pinterest Ads: Collection Image Source

They’re a great way to showcase a variety of products in one ad. Plus, they are easy to create using the catalog feature. Just select the product groups you’d like to feature from your catalog and Pinterest create an ad that displays the most relevant products for the user from your product feed.

Currently, collections ads can only be created on desktop and are targeted to users on the mobile app.

7. Shopping

Pinterest shopping ads let you target customers early while they’re just browsing. Like Collections, these ads are created by pulling from your product catalog. When a user clicks on your image or video, it takes them directly to a link where they can purchase the product.

Simply set up your product groups in catalog and Pinterest will use your product data to show relevant products to users. With this feature, there’s no need to set up any additional targeting.

Curious about how to advertise on Pinterest? We’ll walk through all the steps next.

1. Create a business account.

First you’ll need to create a Pinterest business account. This will give you access to all of their ad tools and features. You also have the option to convert your personal account to a business one once you’ve logged in.

2. Choose your campaign objective.

Each of your Pinterest campaigns starts with an objective. Choosing your campaign goal is what determines what ad formats are available to you. There are several categories to choose from — Build Awareness, Consideration, Conversions, and more.

If you’re not sure what you need, you can select one of the goals listed in the short questionnaire pictured below to get started.

How to advertise on pinterest: set objectiveConversion optimization is a campaign objective that optimizes your advertisements for specific actions outside of clicks. Now, advertisers have a way to directly inspire people to take action — like leading a user to an online checkout or newsletter sign-up with no extra steps.

If you want people to discover your business, choose Brand awareness for standard Pins or Video views for Promoted Video Pins as your campaign objective. For these two objectives, you can set a maximum cost for every 1,000 impressions your ad receives.

If your Pinterest goals are to drive qualified leads to your website or improve traffic, choose Traffic or App install for your campaign objective.

For these campaigns, you set a maximum cost-per-click — which means you are only charged when people click through your Promoted Pin to visit your website.

3. Set your campaign budget.

If you want to spend your campaign money evenly over a specific time period, select lifetime. Select daily to choose the amount spent each day. You’ll have to automatically adjust the budgets based on how long you want your ad to deliver.

How to advertise on pinterest: set budget

Next, you’ll set a maximum bid. A bid determines the highest amount of money you’d like to pay for an action, like an engagement or click, on Pinterest. Pinterest will recommend an amount for you depending on your target audience, and what competitors are spending.

Make sure your budget for Pinterest ads reflect your overall marketing goals and the importance of the platform for your business.

4. Create an Ad group.

With Ad groups you can lump together related ads within the same campaign and track them.

how to advertise on pinterest: set ad groupFor example you could create a beauty campaign with one ad group for “women 35 to 45” and another for “women under 30” and see which performs better.

5. Choose your target audience.

Targeting allows you to reach people who are searching for your content and who are ready to actively engage. Targeting is an important part of promoted ads because, without it, you’ll have less interest.

How to advertise on pinterest: choose audience

Pinterest has several targeting options that you can use singularly or combine together for a unique targeting approach.

  • Audiences combine your customer knowledge with behavioral insights from Pinterest. If someone has recently bought something from your site or engaged with your Pinterest content, this allows you to target that person for an ad.
  • Keywords show your ad to someone who is searching for that kind of content. If you set specific keywords like “tropical vacation” or “apple pie recipes”, your ads will target people searching for those things.
  • Interests target people based on the types of content they regularly engage with. Your apple pie recipe ads would most likely be served to people who have an interest in baking or preparing for Thanksgiving.
  • Expanded will provide you with additional interest and keywords based on your ad’s content and who you’re trying to reach.
  • Demographics allows you to select a specific location, language, device, or gender.
  • Placements gives you the option to choose where your ad is delivered. If you don’t want your promoted Pins to show up when someone is browsing, and only appear in search results, you can specify that here.

6. Design your ad.

Now it’s time to create an ad. For this you can use an image that you have already pinned or start with the template below.

How to advertise on pinterest: Design Ad

7. Maximize your SEO efforts.

By adding an interest and keywords to your descriptions, they become more relevant to people who are actively searching for that content. Keep in mind that hashtags don’t add any ranking value.

On Pinterest, categories of interest are already sorted and categorized. You should explore the available topics that are relevant to your business and target those queries — if you need inspiration, check out the seven categories that do exceptionally well on Pinterest.

Your boards also provide an opportunity for SEO. Boards inform Pinterest’s search engine on how to categorize your Pins, which improves visibility. Focusing on both will support your SEO efforts.

8. Add value.

Endless product promotions on a Pinterest feed aren’t the best way to get an audience’s attention — and keep it. More than likely, you’ll just become a disruption and get unfollowed. You have to add value to every touchpoint with your customer for them to engage with your content.

To add value on Pinterest, try adding Pins that your audience will want to engage with that don’t include your product or business. You might offer added value by showcasing services or interests that compliment your own.

For example, if you sell cars, share content about upkeep or car accessories. Alternatively, if you’re running a Pinterest page for a coffee shop, try Pinning playlist ideas for people to listen to while they work. There is plenty of content available to curate for your audience’s benefit.

9. Mix up your content.

If you’re busy targeting your content to a persona, you’ll miss out on the organic connections and interests of your audience. While helpful for first steps, personas don’t give you everything you need to know about the people who are interacting with your ads.

Keep your content seasonal and relevant. Yes, it is good to make evergreen content — but don’t miss out on pop culture or holiday opportunities to spark interest.

10. Monitor campaign performance.

Finally, you need to keep an eye on your campaign performance to determine the success of your ads, or why they didn’t perform as you expected.

When you’re in Pinterest Ads Manager, click on Analytics and you’ll be shown an overview of all your campaigns and key metrics. These metrics include impressions, total clicks, earned cost-per-impression, effective cost-per-click, and more.

Every campaign has the opportunity to increase brand awareness or inspire purchases. After looking at your analytics, you can determine whether or not you need to widen your audience, increase your budget, or try a different ad format. Pinterest advertisements are not an exact science, so experiments are key to being successful on the platform.

Now that the logistics are out of the way, check out the Pinterest ad examples below for inspiration.

Pinterest Ad Examples

Each of these ads is an example of Pinterest advertising done right with actionable tips that you can take away as you create your own:

1. Ulta

Pinterest Ad Example: Ulta Image Source

Pinterest is an excellent platform for beauty brands to showcase their products. This video ad from Ulta takes advantage of seasonality in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, creating an ad that is captivating and timely.

2. Ruggable

Pinterest Ad Example: ruggable

Image Source

In this ad, the image speaks for itself, which lends well to the visual nature of the Pinterest platform. The rug is front and center in an attractive home space that draws the eye (and probably triggers the shopping tendencies of those who like decorating). It does come with a catchy tagline: “Back to Homeschool.” Because who needs a back-to-school sale to buy cool stuff?

3. Love Sweat Fitness

Pinterest Ad Example: love sweat fitness

Image Source

A big audience on Pinterest is the foodies who love to find and share recipes. Love Sweat Fitness, a fitness brand, is appealing to that crowd with easy and healthy holiday sides. The best part of the ad is how it combines high-quality imagery with attractive typography.

4. Acuity Scheduling

Pinterest Ad Example: acuity scheduling

Image Source

One thing to take away from this ad is that Pinterest advertising isn’t just for home goods, recipes, and ecommerce. Those in the B2B space can definitely take advantage of the advertising opportunities… and who knows, your audience might be browsing for home goods, too.

This ad sets up the value proposition in a text format and gets right at the heart of the audience’s pains: “Stop scheduling time to schedule clients.” They then pair it with a call-to-action: “Start Booking Now.”

5. Torrid

Pinterest Ad Example: torrid

Image Source

In this Pinterest ad, Torrid is using retargeting options to put their products in front of people who already visited the Torrid website. After visiting this product’s page on torrid.com, the ad “followed” me to Pinterest to stay top of mind and earn the sale.

Create Your Pinterest Campaign

Now that you have seen what Pinterest ads can look like, take the inspiration from the examples above and put it to action on your own advertising efforts.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Pinterest Templates

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.

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Being position-less secures a marketer’s position for a lifetime

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Optimove Positionless Marketer Optimove

On March 20, 2024, the Position-less Marketer was introduced on MarTech.org and my keynote address at Optimove’s user conference.

Since that initial announcement, we have introduced the term “Position-less Marketer” to hundreds of leading marketing executives and learned that readers and the audience interpreted it in several ways. This article will document a few of those interpretations and clarify what “position-less” means regarding marketing prowess.

As a reminder, data analytics and AI, integrated marketing platforms, automation and more make the Position-less Marketer possible. Plus, new generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Canna-GPT, Github, Copilot and DALL-E offer human access to powerful new capabilities that generate computer code, images, songs and videos, respectively, with human guidance.

Position-less Marketer does not mean a marketer without a role; quite the opposite

Speaking with a senior-level marketer at a global retailer, their first interpretation may be a marketer without a role/position. This was a first-glance definition from more than 60% of the marketers who first heard the term. But on hearing the story and relating it to “be position-less” in other professions, including music and sports, most understood it as a multidimensional marketer — or, as we noted, realizing your multipotentiality. 

One executive said, phrasing position-less in a way that clarified it for me was “unlocking your multidimensionality.” She said, “I like this phrase immensely.” In reality, the word we used was “multipotentiality,” and the fact that she landed on multidimensionality is correct. As we noted, you can do more than one thing.

The other 40% of marketing executives did think of the “Position-less Marketer” as a marketing professional who is not confined or defined by traditional marketing roles or boundaries. In that sense, they are not focused only on branding or digital marketing; instead, they are versatile and agile enough to adjust to the new conditions created by the tools that new technology has to offer. As a result, the Position-less Marketer should be comfortable working across channels, platforms and strategies, integrating different approaches to achieve marketing goals effectively.

Navigating the spectrum: Balancing specialization and Position-less Marketing

Some of the most in-depth feedback came from data analytic experts from consulting firms and Chief Marketing Officers who took a more holistic view.

Most discussions of the “Position-less Marketer” concept began with a nuanced perspective on the dichotomy between entrepreneurial companies and large enterprises.

They noted that entrepreneurial companies are agile and innovative, but lack scalability and efficiency. Conversely, large enterprises excel at execution but struggle with innovation due to rigid processes.

Drawing parallels, many related this to marketing functionality, with specialists excelling in their domain, but needing a more holistic perspective and Position-less Marketers having a broader understanding but needing deep expertise.

Some argued that neither extreme is ideal and emphasized the importance of balancing specialization and generalization based on the company’s growth stage and competitive landscape.

They highlight the need for leaders to protect processes while fostering innovation, citing Steve Jobs’ approach of creating separate teams to drive innovation within Apple. They stress the significance of breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration across functions, even if it means challenging existing paradigms.

Ultimately, these experts recommended adopting a Position-less Marketing approach as a competitive advantage in today’s landscape, where tight specialization is common. They suggest that by connecting dots across different functions, companies can offer unique value to customers. However, they caution against viewing generalization as an absolute solution, emphasizing the importance of context and competitive positioning.

These marketing leaders advocate for a balanced marketing approach that leverages specialization and generalization to drive innovation and competitive advantage while acknowledging the need to adapt strategies based on industry dynamics and competitive positioning.

Be position-less, but not too position-less — realize your multipotentiality

This supports what was noted in the March 20th article: to be position-less, but not too position-less. When we realize our multipotentiality and multidimensionality, we excel as humans. AI becomes an augmentation.

But just because you can individually execute on all cylinders in marketing and perform data analytics, writing, graphics and more from your desktop does not mean you should.

Learn when being position-less is best for the organization and when it isn’t. Just because you can write copy with ChatGPT does not mean you will write with the same skill and finesse as a professional copywriter. So be position-less, but not too position-less.

Position-less vs. being pigeonholed

At the same time, if you are a manager, do not pigeonhole people. Let them spread their wings using today’s latest AI tools for human augmentation.

For managers, finding the right balance between guiding marketing pros to be position-less and, at other times, holding their position as specialists and bringing in specialists from different marketing disciplines will take a lot of work. We are at the beginning of this new era. However, working toward the right balance is a step forward in a new world where humans and AI work hand-in-hand to optimize marketing teams.

We are at a pivot point for the marketing profession. Those who can be position-less and managers who can optimize teams with flawless position-less execution will secure their position for a lifetime.

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