Understanding Pinterest Ads and How to Use Them

Been There, Pinned That: Understanding Pinterest Ads & How to Use Them

By: Eric Hatzenbuhler
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Last modified: February 16, 2018

Need a new recipe for a party? Dreaming about your future gourmet kitchen? Just want to kill some time? Pinterest is the place for you, and with over 200 million active monthly users, it’s also an advertising platform that businesses can no longer ignore. In fact, 67% of Pinners say they’ve discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest and 93% of Pinners use Pinterest to plan for purchases (check out their audience report for additional facts and figures). Pinterest is relatively new to the digital marketing mix and their paid offerings, while still limited compared to Facebook, are constantly evolving.

Let’s check out what ad units they currently offer and how your business can use them to drive quality traffic to your website and fuel your marketing funnel.

1. Promoted Pins

Promoted Pins are considered the standard ad unit on Pinterest and are available to all Pinterest Ad Manager accounts. Similar to an organic pin, a promoted pin consists of a large image with a short text description below. The image is the real “make or break” component of the ad. Promoted Pins perform best, in terms of both engagement and direct response, when the image and landing page provide content similar to organic pins. Pinterest users are interested in valuable content that can help with a project or idea they may be working on. Using lifestyle imagery, a step-by-step walkthrough or a list of 10 unique ways to use a product will entice users more than a simple image of the product itself.

It also is a great idea to change the imagery for different seasons and holidays. A Promoted Pin showing a person unwrapping a laptop as a “top gift ideas for the tech lover in your life” will perform much better in December than it will in July. The click-through rate (CTR) benchmark for Promoted Pins is 0.20%. However, with an enticing image, content focused landing page, and relevant audience targeting, a CTR closer to 0.30% is well within reach. The high CTR compared to other upper funnel tactics can drive a significant amount of traffic to your online store.

2. Promoted Video Pins

Primarily used for awareness and engagement focused campaigns, promoted video pins are a great tool for brands on Pinterest. According to an internal study from Pinterest, roughly 61% of users enjoy watching videos from brands on Pinterest and to top it off, users who click on a video pin are 2.7x more likely to make a purchase. Video pins appear alongside all other organic and promoted pins so they are much more native and less invasive than the video ads that interrupt your viewing on other platforms such as YouTube. The autoplay feature starts the video as soon as the user scrolls by and it is this movement that immediately draws the attention of the user and provides a high rate of video views at a relatively low cost.

Like any ad, the content of the video is very important. Similar to promoted pins, using videos that demonstrate the product or show a step-by-step process (we’ve all been intrigued by those 30 second recipe videos ending with a delicious looking chocolate cake) will drastically improve campaign performance and drive a high number of views.

3. One-tap Pins

Less of a separate ad unit and more of an optional feature, using the “one-tap” option for your promotional pins eliminates the second click that is typically required for a user to reach your website from Pinterest. Upon a user’s first click on your pin, users are directed to your pin’s corresponding landing page instead of first reaching a more expanded view of the pin on the Pinterest site as is typical. This could potentially be a great feature when the campaign goal is driving direct purchases or trial sign-ups. One-tap pins are currently only available in beta and need to be enabled by a Pinterest support team member.

A note of caution, it’s prudent to be wary of enabling this feature across all of your Promoted Pins as this tactic will not always benefit every advertiser. Generally speaking, Pinterest users like to remain on the Pinterest site, often saving pins to their array of boards to view later. Taking a user away from Pinterest to your site after one click interrupts that experience and based on our initial results, enabling this feature resulted in a 32% increase in bounce rate coupled with a 50% decrease in time on site for Pinterest users. While CTR increased nearly 200% in this particular case, there was little impact on overall purchases due to the high volume of unqualified users driven to the site. This said, because each campaign is different, it is recommended to closely monitor site analytics (particularly time on site and bounce rate) once this feature is turned on to better understand if this tactic is beneficial for your company’s unique goals.

4. Promoted App Pins

Just as the name implies, Promoted App Pins allow users to install your mobile app directly from Pinterest and with 80% of the platform’s traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s a great play to increase mobile app downloads with your digital media dollars. You can think of Promoted App Pins as a less expensive alternative to the iOS and Android app stores that also allows keyword and interest-based audience targeting. Available on any iOS or Android device, the ad includes an “install” button that users can simply tap on to expand the ad. Users can then view ratings and reviews, screenshots, a description of the app, and install it on their device all without exiting the Pinterest platform. Pinterest also makes tracking performance of the app downloads simple with a number of mobile measurement partner integrations including Adjust, AppsFlyer and Tune.

As is the case with all Pinterest ads, the appearance of the pin will ultimately determine the success of the campaign. Keep in mind this pin will only be seen on mobile devices so it is a good idea to avoid lengthy text and keep the ad simple. Using an image that catches the eye of the user with a clear and concise value proposition will be more effective than a cluttered image with a number of text overlays that are difficult to read (check out additional creative recommendations here). It is strongly recommended to run standard Promoted Pins in addition to Promoted App Pins to help increase brand awareness and reach users on desktop who may be interested in downloading the app at a later time.

The nature of the Pinterest platform and the current advertising options it has to offer may not fit with the goals of every business. However, with a large and growing user base and a constantly evolving ad platform, allocating a portion of your advertising budget to try out Pinterest could increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site and ultimately increase conversions.