Laurie Shook

How Does Pinterest Advertising Stack Up?

Pinterest Advertising Stack Up
Image Credit – Mehaniq/

When advertising do you want rich targeting capabilities or purchase intent, and which platform will work best for your business – Facebook or Google, or what about Pinterest? Historically, advertisers have had to pick between one of these platforms or benefits. But Pinterest recently announced the development of Pinterest search ads which gives businesses the best of both worlds in one platform.

Is Pinterest Advertising Right for Your Business?

First, a little bit about Pinterest. It’s a different sort of social beast, consisting of images that users save on collectible boards. Because these boards represent a user’s interests, Pinterest knows its users and does a pretty good job of serving up relevant ads or promoted pins to them. So, its targeting is great.

Pinterest Brings in Search Advertising

Now Pinterest has launched search advertising, so ads can pop up right when a user is searching on Pinterest, which is apt to be even closer to the point of purchase intent. You may think, “Pinterest search? That sounds like small potatoes compared to Google.” But not so fast. There are more than 2 billion searches on Pinterest in a month. Meaning, if your business products fit with the Pinterest audience, this could be a hit for you. And another big benefit over Google search advertising: Pinterest search ads are highly visual and more attention-grabbing, unlike Google’s mostly text-based search ads.

On the left, see how search ads look within Pinterest when the user is searching for “statement socks.” On the right, you can see the more traditional promoted PIN.

Does Pinterest Advertising Stack Up 1

It’s no coincidence that the photo shows a big name like Target. Initially, Pinterest will only offer search ads to their largest customers as they require direct sales to order. In the future, smaller users can purchase these ads through a self-serve web interface, as is done today with Google search ads. And like Google, these ads will be sold based on an auction to bid on a cost-per-click basis.

For Most, Promoted Pins Still Rule

So that means the best opportunities today are with promoted pins. There are now 4 separate types of promoted pins, each with differing objectives and cost basis. When you set up your campaign, you select between the four goals.

  1. If you are trying to increase the visibility of your brand, you may wish to select awareness. This makes sense if you are a new brand, in a high purchase cost category, or a well-known brand just maintaining visibility. With an awareness campaign, you are charged based on the cost per 1,000 impressions.
  2. This encourages interaction with your brand. You’re charged based on the number of interactions such as a close-up, a re-pin or a click.
  3. If you’re expecting to send people directly to your website to make a quick purchase, then the cost is based on clicks to your website.
  4. App Install. Pinterest now has the ability to advertise mobile app installs, which are charged based on pin clicks. With 80% mobile users, Pinterest saw value in this approach. This makes sense if you’re having trouble being discovered in the app store.

If eCommerce is your objective, you can sell directly to customers without them ever leaving Pinterest. That’s called a buyable pin.

Buyable Pins

Let’s walk through what a buyable pin from Macy’s looks like within Pinterest:

You can tell it is buyable because the price and “Add to bag” are in blue.

Does Pinterest Advertising Stack Up 2


Once you click “Add to bag,” you are taken to your shopping cart.


Does Pinterest Advertising Stack Up 3


So how well are the promoted and buyable pins working? The Pinterest advertising site is full of well-documented results and case studies. Warning: actual mileage may differ.

Pinterest and Video

As with other platforms, Pinterest business accounts are seeing impressive results from video and promoted video. This makes sense since Pinterest has seen a 60 percent increase in videos during the past year. As an example, the Old El Paso brand saw strong results with promoted video ads, which were 4X more memorable than a plain still ad.

So between promoted pins and search ads, Pinterest appears to be stacking up the right set of tools to make advertising work for businesses. It seems like early adoption of platforms results in disproportionate success. Assuming Pinterest is a good fit with your audience, testing and tweaking your advertising strategy before the stakes get higher makes a lot of sense, too.

Are you going to try Pinterest ads for your business? Tell us why or why not in the comments!

Laurie Shook

Laurie Shook is a marketing director with a passion for social business. As a Social Media Dallas board member, she enjoys bringing speakers and insights to the DFW digital marketing community.

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