1. Who can you find on Pinterest?
  2. Are Pinterest Ads Right for Your Business?
  3. Structure and strategy of the Pinterest advertising campaign
  4. Learn more about how Pinterest ads are targeted
  5. Ad formats
  6. Pinterest Creative Best Practices
  7. Final thoughts

Pinterest differs from other paid media platforms in that it is a visual discovery machine.

If you're one of the many companies that haven't taken advantage of the opportunity to engage with audiences through Pinterest ads, this article is for you.

In this post, we'll cover the people and platform, address options, and provide tips for setting it up.

Who can you find on Pinterest?

The people on Pinterest are as diverse as the Pins they create and 95% of Pinners say Pinterest inspires / gives them ideas for their life.

This diverse collection of people is ready to take action and discover something new. Over 80% use it for inspiration or actual purchases. This is important when developing strategies based on the concept of inspiration from ads and messaging.

Pinterest advertising is available in at least 20 countries.

Every month, 459 million people use Pinterest to look up recipes, plan vacations, do research, and more. The winners actively seek and research ideas.

Pinterest has a 20% market share of all US social media when it comes to monthly visits. This doesn't seem like much until you consider that it actually ranks 2nd behind Facebook, which has 60% of visits to the US as of January 2021.

It's not just Americans who are stuck either. Although most of the users (over 100 million) are in the US, Pinterest ads can reach users all over the world.

Pinterest Worldwide users

Source: Statistica 2021


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Are Pinterest Ads Right for Your Business?

There are hundreds of categories on Pinterest, with some very popular categories. If your products or services don't fit the general categories perfectly, you may have a free product affinity for one.

For example, home improvement can range from a big box retailer to a local service provider.

Popular categories:

  • Technology.
  • Home improvement, decor, design.
  • Fashion.
  • Lovers of food and drink.
  • Beauty.
  • Travel.

Structure and strategy of the Pinterest advertising campaign

A business account at ads.pinterest.com is required to start advertising.

Pinterest guides you through a number of options when creating a new campaign.

The campaign manager asks you to choose a campaign goal from three goals that reflect the sales funnel:

  • Create awareness: Brand awareness, video views that people can use to discover the brand.
  • Drive consideration: See if more people will click your ad on Pinterest.
  • Receive conversions: Have people take action on the website or buy from a shopping ad.

Choose your campaign goals in Pinterest Ads

Pinners' Journey

As a visual discovery machine, Pinners begin their buying journey with “just looking”, gathering ideas up to “I know what I want” and looking for specific products.

Understand the customer journey for Pinterest Ads.

Source: Pinterest


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Again, this is very similar to the old sales funnel and campaign goal you will select at the beginning.

Since there is one goal per campaign, choose the targeting and creative that achieve that goal and the stop on the pinner's journey.

Using brand awareness and conversion campaigns separately to reach your audience at different stages of the sales funnel is a great starting strategy for just about any type of business.

Learn more about how Pinterest ads are targeted

Next, choose how to target your ads by:

  • Interests.
  • Keywords.
  • Demographics.
  • Placements.
  • Advanced targeting options (target group targeting / retargeting).

Pinterest recommends targeting ad groups either on interests + keywords or on target groups in order to address the two separately.

Identify search trends

Pinterest has a useful tool for identifying search trend traffic on its website in the US, UK and Canada.

You can enter multiple search terms, and Pinterest plots them against each other on a graph to show the search over time.


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You can find this tool in the Pinterest Ads account under Analytics> Trends.

Pinterest trends


Choose from a wide range of pre-defined interests related to your brand. Aim for two to three attributes of interest per campaign.

When selecting interests, the potential target group size is estimated on the right. Pinterest recommends an audience size in the range of 1 to 5 million.


Use Pinterest's Keyword Tool to find keyword ideas based on searches on Pinterest. They also allow you to assign keywords to general, phrase and exact, similar to other search platforms.


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You may find that the suggested keywords are broader than you would expect from a website search, rather than search engines.

Pair keywords with interests as these targeting methods work well together.


Next, you can select demographic data.

Pinterest recommends that you not limit targeting to demographic data unless there are restrictions on the product or service, such as age or gender restrictions.


In order to address target groups, these must first be created and then applied to campaigns. There are four main audience types that can be defined and refined for more advanced campaigns:

  • Website visitors: Retargeting of visitors who have been to your website.
  • Engagement audience: Busy with pens.
  • Client list: Upload a lead list to the goal.
  • Actalike targeting: a.k.a., doppelgangers or similar target groups, these are pinners who behave in a similar way to lists that you already have.

These list types are great ways to steer promotions through the sales funnel and pinder's journey.

Ad formats

Pinterest ads are displayed on Pinterest.com or in your app. Therefore, all ad formats fall into the PIN format:


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A good rule of thumb is to use static Pins and video pin creative types in separate ad groups.

Pinterest has a guide to the specs for each ad type.

Pinterest Creative Best Practices

While we won't go into details for the ad theme here, there are some overarching concepts that can be used to develop a strategy:

  • Inspirational content.
  • Unique call to action.
  • Multiple products.
  • Trends and seasonality.
  • Influencing factors and lifestyle.

Final thoughts

With a 20% market share and laser targeting to a unique audience, Pinterest could be a great tier two platform to test for 2021.


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Consider these three things:

  • How does your business fit into popular categories on Pinterest?
  • How can you reach your audience at every stage of the purchase?
  • How can you inspire pinners to get involved and convert?

More resources:

Photo credit

All screenshots by the author, February 2021


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