Most Pinterest users who have upgraded to a free business account can purchase ads in the form of Promoted Pins.* These ads can help boost traffic and brand awareness in a way that caters to creative business owners.

And according to Pinterest, Promoted Pin campaigns give strong results: After seeing a Promoted Pin, one out of two Pinterest users have made a purchase. Additionally, 67% of Pinterest users have discovered a new brand or product as a result of a Promoted Pin. For every $1 spent in ad costs, Pinterest business account owners can expect to earn an average of $2 in profit.

“The platform provides great opportunities for the community through paid and organic traffic,” says Pinning pro Rachel Nelson, who specializes in helping creative business owners get better results from Pinterest via her service Rachel Nelson Creative.

“For eight years, I helped solopreneurs in many fields build effective websites, write newsletters, grow lists, learn SEO, and manage social media. While I was doing that, I started a blog with my mom where we shared our love of sewing and became a part of that community online.” Launching her own business was a way to combine two of her favorites things: creative business owners and the Pinterest platform.

Types of Promoted Pins

Pinterest offers four** different types of Promoted Pin campaigns, each with its own objective: brand awareness, traffic campaigns, app installs, and video views. “If you are ready to start promoting pins for the first time, I recommend you choose a traffic campaign,” Nelson advises. “In traffic campaigns, you are paying for clicks on your pins as opposed to impressions or views as you would with brand awareness.” Pinners who are interested in video ads should be ready to commit to a larger campaign budget, she says.

In addition to promoting product pins, Nelson says creatives should consider running a campaign that leads users to sign up to an e-mail list. “Offer a content upgrade,” she says. “Getting someone on your e-mail list means you can keep building a relationship and marketing to them throughout the holiday season and past.”

Another idea is to create a specific landing page for Pinterest ads. A landing page is a dedicated space that is free of distractions, like header navigation bars and social icons, instead focusing on engaging images, sales copy, and testimonials. “Since Pinterest is a visual-based platform, it’s critical to make your Pinterest landing page visually appealing,” writes Stephanie Mialki of Instapage.

Designing Ads

When designing new Pins or picking existing pins to promote, look at what is working for your audience, Nelson says. “What are they clicking on already?” she asks. “Take a dive into your Pinterest and Google analytics to see what your audience likes best.”

Use text overlays that grab a Pinner’s attention, that also accurately convey what is on the resulting page, Nelson says. Because Promoted Pins are “one-tap,” a click leads someone right to your website (and not a close up of the pin), which makes accuracy important.

Though it’s traditionally a good idea to Pin vertical images rather than horizontal ones, remember that Pinterest cuts off the bottom of extra-tall “giraffe” ads from view. According to the social sharing platform, the ideal aspect ratio for ads is 2:3. For example, a photo 600 pixels wide x 900 pixels tall would have a 2-to-3 ratio.

But you shouldn’t feel limited to ads designed to these specs, explains blogger Kristie Hill. “I recommend staying between 600×900 and 600×1200,” Hill writes. “Mostly because a 1:2 ratio is easier to calculate and gives you a little cushion room should Pinterest reduce the max cut-off again.” She provides a good discussion of what size Pinterest images should be for optimal performance.

Finally, some pinning experts say that Pins with multiple products perform better than those with a single product. Adding your brand’s logo to the image offers a bit of extra brand awareness, even for those who don’t click through.

Setting a Budget

There is no minimum cost per Pinterest promotion: The amount you pay for Promoted Pins will depend on the budget and spend limits you set for a campaign. But remember that Promoted Pins are pay-per-click, which means they run on an auction system. After placing your max bid, you’ll compete with other businesses to have your ads shown to the target audience.

Unlike traditional ads that go away after a certain time, Promoted Pins keep delivering traffic after you stop paying to promote them. When setting your budget, remember that Pinterest ads offer a slow build. “Your traffic will grow over time; it will also continue to deliver for weeks or even months instead of the day or afternoon it’s posted,” Nelson says. “In addition to clicking on your Promoted Pins, people will pin or save them, which will bring in extra organic traffic.”

To test out Promoted Pins for the first time, Nelson recommends setting a minimum spend between $5 and $10 a day, and giving your campaign at least 1 week (preferably 2 to 3 weeks) to run.

“The longer you can give the campaign to optimize, the better your price per click should be,” she says. “Evergreen campaigns can be very successful on Pinterest.”

Choosing a Target Audience & Keywords

Like other advertising platforms, Pinterest allows businesses to target their ideal audience using a number of filters (gender, interests, location, language, device, and more).

Pinterest recommends inputting anywhere from 30 to 50 keywords in the ads manager, but there’s no limit in the number you can include. When setting the keywords for your campaign, try to attract users who search for specific terms on Pinterest with “Exact Match” keywords. Or use “Phrase Match” for a little more flexibility, and to attract users who have liked similar Pins or created boards with your keywords. Read more about Targeting on Pinterest.


If you want to see how well a Promoted Pin performs, add some HTML code to your site. You can find the special code under “Conversion Tracking” in the Pinterest Ads menu.

If you’ve never tried Promoted Pins, or have had an unsuccessful Promoted Pin campaign in the past, remember that the first few tries are all about experimenting and seeing what works. Promoting Pins that are already performing well for you is a good way to complement the organic Pinterest traffic your site already receives.

* Promoted pins are currently available to users in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia, and New Zealand who apply for a business account.

** Pinterest Search Ads are a fifth type of campaign that is currently available only to partners and large brands. They show up when a user types in a word or phrase into the Pinterest search bar. They may be rolled out to small businesses in the future

Image via the Pinterest Newsroom.

A Note on Rich Pins

  • If you aren’t using Rich Pins, which pull metadata from your site, it’s time to reconsider. “Everyone should use Rich pins, even if you don’t plan on running promoted pins,” says Nelson. “Rich pins will add your meta description onto blog post and page pins, prices onto product listings, and even pull recipe cards. All of this information makes your pin and site look more trustworthy and relevant to a pinner and to Pinterest.”
  • Both of those things can lead to more traffic back to your site. “The best part is this information travels with the pin each time it’s repinned; it can’t be removed or changed like a description you type in. And if you make an update to a description or price on your site, it will update on all of the existing pins, something that would be impossible otherwise.”
  • Getting rich pins to work on your site is a two-step process. First, add metadata to your site (perhaps using a tool like the Yoast plugin). Second, run an URL through Pinterest’s rich pin validator. 
Pinterest Promoted Pins: Best Practices
Lindsay Conner

Lindsay Conner


Lindsay is a modern quilter, writer, and editor. A multi-book author with C&T Publishing, her latest project was designing sampler quilts for FreeSpirit Block Party (Stash Books, September 2018). She also works with Craftsy and Baby Lock sewing machines, and is an editor for Frommer's Travel Guides. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, son, and two cats, who were the inspiration for her adult coloring book and Kickstarter "Project of the Day" Lazy-Ass Cats. www.lindsaysews.com, www.lazyasscats.com

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