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How to advertise your small business on Pinterest: a step by step guide

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Pinterest app on a phone

Why should you advertise on Pinterest?

Pinterest has an audience of over 300M users who engage with their platform every single month, plus it has the added advantage of not being over saturated with advertisers, so your brand can really stand out. Additionally, Pinterest has come a long way in offering new ways to reach and target your key demographics so impressions don’t go to waste.

What are the different ways you can advertise on Pinterest?

Build brand awareness

  • Brand awareness: help people discover your brand, products and other services.

  • Video views: promote videos to help people discover your brand or drive actions.

Drive consideration

  • Traffic: increase your traffic to your Pinterest page or directly to your website (recommended).

Get conversions

  • Conversions: drive people to take action on your website.

  • Catalog sales: promote your product inventory with shopping ads.

What are the different ad formats on Pinterest?

Standard pins

Standard pins feature only one static image.

Our top tips for using standard pins in your Pinterest ad campaign:

  • Use high-quality, vertical images that will stand out in people's feeds. A 2:3 aspect ratio is recommended. Other ratios may cause your pin to cut off and may impact performance.

  • Put your product or service front and center. Avoid using abstract images or lifestyle imagery that doesn’t showcase your brand.

  • Put a logo on every Pin you make, but keep it subtle. Avoid the lower-right corner, since that spot gets covered up by the Pinterest product icons.

  • Text overlay is the copy that goes on your Pin image to make it stand out. Keep your copy concise, 80% of the Pinterest user base is on mobile, so make sure it is easy for them to read.

Video pins

Video pins feature a short video or animated pin.

Our top tips for using video pins in your Pinterest ad campaign:

  • Start strong and make it actionable, you only have a few seconds to get people’s attention.

  • Choose the right length of video, 6-15 seconds works best. For organic video, keep the video above 4 seconds. Make sure your videos clearly communicate your ideas. Hot tip: it's super easy to make short video pins in Ripl!

  • Most pinners watch video with sound off, so don't rely on audio or dialogue. Use text overlay or captions to help tell your story.

Story or carousel pins

Story pins appear as a set of multiple videos, images, lists and custom text in a single pin.

Our top tips for using story pins in your Pinterest ad campaign:

  • Make sure to choose an eye catching cover image, a strong image or video up front tells people what your story’s about with just one glance.

  • It is recommended to use three or more pages to tell your story.

  • Share your brand’s personality with a mix of images, videos, fonts and colors.

How do I get started buying ads on Pinterest? (a step-by-step guide)

Step 1 - Get a Pinterest business account

Pinterest does a really great job walking you through how to set up an account for business, you can find the instructions here. You can even convert your personal Pinterest account into a business account if you so choose!

Once you have created a Pinterest account for your business, you will need to add a credit card to your ad account so you can start spending money on promoted pins.

Step 2 - Install the Pinterest Tag on your site

The Pinterest tag is a piece of code you put on your website to gather conversion insights and build audiences to target based on actions they’ve taken on your site.

You can find out more about how to install the Pinterest Tag here. There are many different types of integration, so you should do some research to determine which one is going to be the best fit for your business.

Once you've done step 1 and step 2, you're ready to create a new ad. Navigate to Ads > Create ad on the Pinterest business hub.

Step 3 - Define your campaign goals

Are you interested in reaching new customers and educating them about your brand? How about driving a ton of traffic to your website? Maybe all you care about is converting sales! No matter what your business goal, Pinterest has you covered with the right campaign objective for your business.

Campaign goal options in Pinterest ads
Define your campaign goal

Step 4 - Decide on bids and budgets

When buying ads, bidding refers to how you allocate your budget.

Determining your bid approach on Pinterest

You can either decide to take an automated approach to bidding or a custom approach to bidding.

  • Automated bidding approach: Pinterest tries to find as many conversions for your campaign as possible while spending all of your daily budget.

  • Custom bidding approach: if you want more control over your CPA, then going the custom bidding route might be a better option. While the custom bid might not allow you to scale up and spend your entire budget, you will have less risk of overspending acquiring each new customer.

Bidding approaches in Pinterest ad buying
Choose your bidding approach: Automatic or Custom

Setting your budget on Pinterest

For setting a budget you have two options: you can either set a lifetime budget for your campaign, or you can set a daily amount that you are comfortable spending.

  • Lifetime budget spend: lifetime budget spend means that the campaign will never spend over your set amount, so for instance if you have a $100 daily budget, but a $1,000 lifetime budget, the campaign will run for 10 days and then pause once your $1,000 lifetime budget is spent.

  • Daily budget spend: For those who like more control over their spend, the daily spend cap is a great option. You'll want to ensure that your daily budget allows for enough conversions so that you can start to see enough data coming through to start making optimizations. Ideally, you would want enough of a budget to allow for at least 5-7 conversions per day. So, if your average CPA (cost per action) is $50, then you would need a daily budget of at least $250 to cover those 5 conversions per day.

Setting your budget in Pinterest ad buying
Choose between Daily budget or Lifetime budget

Step 5 - Create your ad group

Your ad group is where you will store and organize all of your targeting and creative assets.

Each ad group can have its own designated budget, targeting and creative, so make sure to group the audience both by affinity as well as how you want to message to them, and lastly by how much budget you want to dedicate to that demographic or location.

Ad group details in Pinterest for business
Name your ad group

Step 6 - Pick your target audience

This is where you will narrow your audience down to what you think is the most valuable segment to target to. This is also the section where you can start to restrict your audience in terms of where you are showing ads and in what languages (perhaps your product is only available in the US, no need serving wasted impressions).

Target audience page on Pinterest ads
Pick your target audience

Step 7 - Select ad placement

All placements are recommended, however if you have a very restricted budget you may opt to surface your ads in either Browse or Search. Browse ad placements will appear in the home feed and related pins and is better with interest based targeting, while Search placements will perform better with keyword targeting.

Advanced options for ad placement on Pinterest
Select your ad placement

Step 8 - Layer on interest and keywords

In this section you can layer in interest targeting to your audience that you think will have an overlap with your target demographic. For example, if you are selling cosmetics, you may find success targeting the “Beauty” or “Wedding” interest.

You can also add in keywords in this section, this functions similarly to how you might advertise with Google Search. Best practice is to add around 25 keywords per ad group, picking the most relevant potential searches that are relevant to your product or service.

Add interests page on Pinterest ads
Add interests related to your brand

Step 9 - Pick your pins

You can either add pins to your campaign that are already on your Pinterest board, or you can upload new ones that are specifically just for your paid advertising efforts. It is best practice for each ad group to have around 4 pins, this will allow for Pinterest to have options when it comes to programmatic creative optimization.

Make sure that each pin has a destination URL, sending potential new customers to where they have the highest chance to convert. Also, make sure that your pins are not saved to secret boards or feature any 3rd party videos or GIF’s.

Watch this YouTube video for a how-to of adding a pin to your Pinterest campaign.

Pinterest ad feed for Ripl social media app
Choose the pins to include in your ad set

Step 10 - Ready for launch!

You are now ready to set your campaigns live and monitor performance and optimize along the way! It is recommended that you give the campaign some time to get up to scale and give it at least a week or so before you start making too many adjustments.

Pinterest has a robust set of analytics available for you to measure success. It’s here that you will be able to measure things like CPM’s (cost per thousand impressions), CTR (click through rate), and conversions to purchases. Once you know which campaigns are working better than others you can adjust bids and budget accordingly.


Now that you know how to advertise on Pinterest, learn how to set up your next Facebook Ad Campaign!


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