What you need to know about Pinterest

When thinking of digital marketing, Google Ads and Facebook are at the forefront of every marketer’s mind.  While these platforms are essential to an effective digital strategy, they have become commonplace and are saturated with competitors. Therefore, it is important that marketers blaze the trail of new advertising networks to take advantage of low-competition marketplaces, lower CPCs, and reach unique audiences. Pinterest, as a relatively new advertising platform with highly promising potential, is the perfect place to start building out your well-rounded and diverse digital strategy.

To start building your case for investing in Pinterest it is important to understand its capabilities. Below, we will cover the basics of what you need to know about Pinterest:

  • What makes it different from other social networks
  • Who you can target
  • What content looks like on the platform.

Pinterest Boards

The biggest difference in Pinterest as compared to other social networks is the necessity of creating a Board. Boards allow brands to post and keep their content to one place that users can visit over and over.  This is pretty similar to a Facebook page, however, Pinterest Boards are more focused on product content and imagery, rather than updates and posts.

Additionally, one of the added benefits of Pinterest is that the content, or Pins, can be “pinned” to a user’s board, where they can then easily return to it when they are ready to purchase.

It is essential to fill your business’s Boards with high-quality content, as these Pins will serve as your ad creative, but we will return to that later. 

Campaign Goals

            Pinterest allows for several types of campaigns, tailored to achieving your marketing goal. The high-level goals are pretty basic: Brand Awareness or Drive Consideration.

Brand Awareness gives you two options:

  • Brand Awareness: Brand Awareness is tailored to get your product in front of people, making your brand a household name. This campaign is measured by reach, as you want to see your brand in front of as many people as possible. Because of this, you don’t pay for clicks, you pay for impressions – every 1,000 impressions to be exact.
  • Video Views: Video Views is similar to Brand Awareness in that you want to see the most video views for your money, therefore, exposing your brand/product to the largest and highest-quality audience on Pinterest. Here, like Brand Awareness, you don’t pay per click, you pay per video view of 2 seconds or longer.

Under Drive Consideration, you have several lower-funnel choices:

  • Traffic: Traffic campaigns are just like your average Google or Facebook campaigns. You pay per click and set your max. CPC with the goal of getting relevant searchers to your website for product consideration.
  • App Installs: App Installs are targeted to, well, just that – mobile app. installs. Clicks from this campaign will be directed to the app installation page. With this goal, you are paying for impressions, just like the Brand Awareness campaign.
  • Conversions: This type of campaign is very low funnel, as it is tailored for driving conversion actions such as purchases or lead form submissions. This campaign is the best fit for large brands or brands that see a high level of traffic, as Pinterest requires a minimum of 50 conversions within a week from other campaigns in order to utilize this goal type.
  • Shopping Catalog: Finally, shopping catalog campaigns are ideal for e-commerce businesses as they get the brand’s full product line in front of users. Much like Google Shopping or Facebook Dynamic Ads, this campaign type leverages a product catalog that is integrated into Pinterest. Another feature of this campaign is that you can choose how you want to pay – per click or impressions.

Audience Options

Pinterest offers an array of different targeting options for advertisers based on search history, demographics, and interests. Many of these options are just like Facebook and Google, but others are a bit more narrow.


  • Previous visitors to your site
  • An uploaded customer list
  • Users that have engaged with your pins
  • An “actalike” audience (similar to Facebook’s Look-A-Like audiences)

Demographic Targeting:

  • Gender
  • Locations
  • Languages
  • Devices – Devices get very nitty-gritty in comparison to other ad platforms. On Pinterest, you can get as focused as IOS or Android mobile devices.

Platform Placement

  • You can choose where in Pinterest you want your ads to show, the search results or the home page “browse” screen!


  • One HUGE advantage Pinterest has over other social networks is its vast knowledge of current users’ interests. Because users Pin and save content they like, it is easy for the platform’s algorithm to narrow in on an individual’s specific tastes, likes, and dislikes – putting your ads in front of the most likely to convert users. Because of this insight, Pinterest’s interest targeting options range from high-level “Home Décor” to ultra-specific “Bohemian Style Living Rooms.”
  • Choosing relevant interests is extremely important if you are showing ads in the Browse section of Pinterest, as the section consists of content that Pinterest believes to be relevant to the searcher’s unique interests.


  • Just like Google, you can input a list of keywords you want to target in the search results of Pinterest. These are essential if you want to target searches within the platform. When you are inputting keywords, Pinterest will show you the estimated monthly search volume based on your keywords and current demographic/location settings.

Promoted Content

This is where the content you added to your Pinterest board will be utilized. Using the images you uploaded to your Board, you will select the type of ad you want to show:

  • Promoted Pins: Single image content that is at most 32MB with a 100 character headline and 500 character description.
  • Promoted Videos: Videos of 4 seconds to 15 minutes that will begin to play as user’s scroll through their feeds, with the same headline and description length maximums as promoted pins.
  • Promoted App Pins: Single image content (same requirements as promoted pins) that are linked directly to the App Store & Google Play.
  • Promoted Carousels: Multi-image ads that use 2 to 5 photos which users can swipe through, again with the same specs and text lengths are regular promoted pins.

Setting up a Pinterest campaign is as simple as selecting your choices from the above lists of objectives and audiences then setting your budget! This is all you need to know to get started leveraging Pinterest’s expansive audience database.

If you want to learn more about social platforms that your fellow advertisers are investing in, check out The State of Paid Social, by Hanapin.