Advertising is different from SEO.
While SEO is almost identical no matter which search engine you’re talking about (and there aren’t too many), advertising is not.
The process of creating ad campaigns on Google will look different from the process of creating ad campaigns on sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.
It’s important to choose one or two channels—and learn the ins and outs of them—rather than try to become an expert in all of the channels available.
How do you know which one(s) to use?
Well, that depends on where your audience is.
In this post, I want to show you how to use promoted pins (ads) on Pinterest effectively.
Pinterest’s demographics consist mostly of women who love visual content. That means that niches like fitness, home decor, and fashion perform really well on this social platform.
If your audience falls into those general demographic categories (or similar ones), chances are that many members of your audience use Pinterest.
It makes sense to build a profile on the site, but it can also make sense to use promoted pins to not only grow your following faster but to also send traffic to your website.
If you’ve never played around with promoted pins, don’t worry. I’m going to show you exactly how to use them.
Step 1: Choose from two types of promoted pins
In order to use Pinterest ads, you’ll need to spend a lot of time working within the ads manager.
You can sign in to the manager with your existing Pinterest account, but you will have to convert it to a business account, which takes all of 3 seconds (still free). It just gives you a few extra features.
The interface to get started is really simple when you create a new ad, which is great. You could probably figure it out without this guide, but I’ll also give you a few other things to think about when making decisions.
First up, you have two options for your promotion type:
If you want to get more pins, repins, and followers, you’ll want to boost engagement. This is a good option if you’re looking to jumpstart your profile growth or if you don’t have an established conversion funnel on your website yet.
Most likely, though, you’ll want to drive traffic back to your website. After all, that’s the main purpose of using Pinterest.
Click the option you want, and you’ll be prompted to give your campaign a title and enter a budget.
Assuming you’re new to Pinterest advertising, start small. You can always increase your budget later.
The final part of this step is to “pick a pin.” Click the red button, which will show you all your previous pins on your account. Click one of those to select it.
Picking an old pin might be a good idea for an engagement ad, but if you’re driving traffic back to your website, you probably want to create a new pin and then come back to the ads manager.
Step 2: Get your targeting right
Targeting on Pinterest is similar to that you find on many other PPC platforms, and it’s pretty simple.
There are two sections you’ll need to fill out: interests and keywords.
Interests is a lot broader, which usually isn’t a good thing for PPC campaigns. However, if you’re just trying to build a following while targeting a general audience, it can work.
You can type an interest you have in mind in the search bar or look through all the options and check off the ones you want.
Remember that you don’t have to choose any interests.
Instead, you probably want to focus on keywords.
Type in keywords you want to target in the search box of this section, then click any of the grey keywords to add them to your campaign (they’ll show up in blue at the bottom).
When someone searches for any of the keywords you select, they might see your ad (depending on your budget and settings).
Searching the site is one of the main ways that users find content, so you can get quite a few impressions on popular keywords.
Other targeting options: Keywords and interests are the main ways to narrow down your audience to include only the users you want.
However, if you scroll down, you’ll see a few more targeting options you might want to use:
- Locations – You can pick over 210 specific places in the United States
- Language – You can target specific languages
- Devices – You can target desktop users or specific types of mobile users
- Gender – You can target males, females, and/or people with unknown gender
When it comes to targeting, your goal is to narrow down the potential audience far enough so that it mostly consists of your target users.
At the same time, you don’t want to narrow it down to the point of having only a few hundred users to target.
Overall, pick the targeting options that reflect the factors that separate your target audience from other Pinterest users.
Step 3: Consider your budget
Initially, you set an overall budget you can afford.
But now, it’s time to set your maximum CPC bid before the ad goes live.
Just like on many other PPC platforms, you won’t always pay this amount. In many cases, you’ll pay lower.
Unless you’re in a rush, it’s fine to set your maximum CPC lower than the suggested range ($1.20 in the picture above), or at least near the bottom of it.
If you’re not getting enough clicks after running the ad for a day or two, then go ahead and bump up your bid.
Step 4: Track and analyze your results
It might be obvious to you, but it isn’t to everyone, so I’ll say it now:
You have to track your results.
If you don’t, you’ll never know whether advertising is actually profitable for you.
On top of that, you’ll never be able to improve the effectiveness of your ads, which leaves a lot of money on the table.
Pinterest does provide you with some useful analytics. It covers all the basic stats such as impressions, clicks, CPC, and total amount spent.
That’s a great start, but it’s missing one really important metric:
There are many different types of conversions that you might want to track:
- Account created
- Sale made
- Signup to email list completed
…and so on.
It doesn’t matter which ones you use (revenue is usually best, if possible) as long as you track something that you can assign a value to.
Even though an email address doesn’t generate profit directly, you might know that each subscriber is worth $10 to you, so you can still assign a value to email signups.
To track these results, you’ll want to use a more robust analytics software—even Google Analytics (GA) will do.
Setting up goals in Google Analytics: If you already know how to do this, you can skip this section. Otherwise, let me walk you through it.
To set up a goal, click the “Admin” link at the very top of your account. Once you select the account you want to track, click on “Goals,” which will let you create a new one.
For the vast majority of cases, you can use one of the templates already created for goals.
You can explore the different options, but most likely you’ll need to use the “make a payment” or “newsletter sign up” options.
Click the “Next step” button once you’ve picked a goal. You can always go back and edit it.
Next, give your goal a name. Be descriptive because that’s how it’s going to show up in other parts of your analytics.
The final step is to tell GA what you consider to be a conversion.
For most of these goals, that’s going to be a destination page. It could be a payment page, thank-you page, confirmation page, etc.
Basically, you just need an address that visitors will only visit after taking a specific action you want to track.
Note that you can change the box before the destination URL to something like “begins with” so that GA tracks visits to dynamic URLs.
For example, say you wanted to track visits to payment pages, and visitors all had different payment links:
You’d want to change the destination to “begins with” and enter “/payment” as the value in the text box.
Finally, assign a value to the goal if you’re able to. It will help you figure out how profitable your Pinterest campaigns are.
Viewing goal results: Once you set them up, you’ll start seeing goals everywhere in your reports.
The basic area is the “Conversions > Goals > Overview” tab near the bottom of the left-hand menu:
That will give you a graph of all your goal completions over time. Obviously, you’ll need to have data before anything shows up here.
But if you go to other reports, you’ll often see a column for goal completions:
Let’s get back to Pinterest results: Now that you have your goals set up, go to “Acquisition > All traffic > Source/medium”. You should see one for “Pinterest / Ads.”
On the far right, it will show you your goals or e-commerce conversions (if you’ve set those up).
Take your tracking to the next level: These results so far are definitely useful. You can connect the amount of money you’ve spent on ads with the amount of revenue or profit you’ve generated through your goals.
But it’s not enough.
What if you have multiple Pinterest ads? How do you know which ones are producing which results?
The answer is UTM parameters.
UTM parameters are those extra phrases you often see added to URLs after a question mark.
Here’s an example, with the UTM parameters in bold:
You want to create something similar for the link you use in each Pinterest ad.
Mark each ad link with a different campaign name.
Then, once you collect some data, you can go back to GA and go to the “Campaigns” section, which is a main section under “Acquisition”:
As you probably guessed, this will break down your traffic based on the campaign values you just specified.
Additionally, there are columns on the right to show you goal completions—exactly what we want.
Now, you know not only your overall advertising results but also the performance of each individual campaign.
Step 5: Never stop improving
Even really experienced advertisers don’t get everything right on their first try with a campaign.
That’s why tracking your results is so important.
Once you have your baseline results, you can start split testing different promoted pins. Try different variations of:
- The pin picture
- Landing page
Even if your first try at a campaign isn’t as successful as you’d like (or even profitable), as long as you get some results, there’s a good chance you can succeed.
Keep trying different variations, tracking your results, and continually optimizing your campaigns until you hit profitability.
Once you do hit upon a winner, keep optimizing as much as you can. Once you think you’ve squeezed everything out of it (in terms of conversion rate), scale up your budget, and spend as much as possible.
The conversion rate will eventually slow down, but that’s expected. Once a campaign is exhausted, it’s time to start again!
Pinterest is a huge social media site, and advertising on it is still relatively new. That means there’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of.
I’ve shown you the 5 main steps you’ll need to complete in order to create and run a profitable promoted pins campaign.
The only thing left to do is give it a go.
If you do, I’d love to hear about how it went.
Leave me a comment below with your results as well as anything that did or didn’t work well for you.