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Promoted Pins are an advertising format via Pinterest that allows advertisers to pay to appear where your potential customers are more likely to notice your Pins. Promoted Pins can be used to target people based on their interests, the types of activity that they carry out on Pinterest, as well as if they have previously visited your site or app. 

So where do you start? Don’t worry, we’ll take you through a step by step lesson to make sure you become a Pinterest Pro!


Lesson 1 – Campaign Types

Pinterest is a great platform for all your advertising needs, so long as your brand or product is relevant there is an ad type to help you reach your ideal user and in the most appropriate way. Campaigns are created according to what you are trying to achieve, and they are outlined below:

  • Video
    • Videos will play automatically to raise awareness of your brand
    • Charged on a CPM basis
  • Apps
    • Promote your app and get people to download it directly!
  • Awareness
    • Strut your stuff across Pinterest and get noticed
    • Charged on a CPM basis
  • Traffic
    • Send people to read your content or buy your stuff!
    • Charged per click

Lesson 2 – Budgeting

You can control budgets in several ways:

  1. Daily – Campaign Level
  2. Daily – Ad Group Level
  3. Lifetime – Campaign Level

Lesson 3 – Control

When creating your campaigns, you can impose measures to keep the campaign under control. Other than bidding and targeting I have included some useful information below:

  • Placements
    • When running campaigns, you can be seen in two places:
      • Browse
      • Search
  • Frequency
    • If you are using either Brand Awareness, App Install or Video views and you choose a start and end date then you can set a monthly frequency cap at ad group level.

Lesson 4 – Insight

This is an incredibly simple yet effective tool when planning activity for your business or for your client’s business. Using the insight tool can let you know how popular certain areas are within Pinterest and what proportion specific interests make up within broader categories.

  • Your users
    • You can understand what else your users are interested in
    • This can help you understand what kind of interests and keywords you should be using for your first promoted pin campaign.
  • All users
    • Within the example below we can see that “Fashion” is a big category within Pinterest
    • We can drill down further and understand that “womens fashion” is by far the biggest interest within that category
    • There is no search function though so be sure to put some time aside to go through these findings thoroughly.

PPC hubbub - Promoted Pins 1

Lesson 5 – Analytics

The analytics overview is a great way of getting a broad idea of how your brand is doing through the eyes of Pinterest. Whilst it’s not incredibly detailed it can often indicate why your results have improved or declined.

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Lesson 6 – Targeting

Pinterest has loads of targeting. Almost too much. Take a look at what’s available below.

  • Interest targeting
    • Pinterest makes use of it’s proprietary technology, the Taste Graph.
    • Based on over 100 billion Pins—and the trillions of interactions people have with them every week Pinterest have created over 5000 interests
    • Taste Graph also feeds into the lookalike audiences available within the platform too.
  • Keyword targeting
    • Broad, phrase and exact match keywords can be used
    • If you are uploading keywords manually then be sure to include the relevant signs round the keywords. For broad match, leave a keyword as is, for phrase match, use quotations around your keywords, and for exact match, use brackets around your keywords
    • If you come from a PPC background I would recommend creating campaigns in bulk and at a granular level. Naming conventions are key here if you are to report on it efficiently at a later date.
  • Audience targeting
    • Remarket people from your site
    • Upload lists of email addresses (only if you’re allowed!)
    • People that have engaged with your pins
    • An actalike (or lookalike) audience, those users who behave and interact with Pinterest in the same way as the list you provide.
  • Location
    • For the UK you have the choice of 15 TV regions or the entire UK
    • US and Canada can be broken down at DMA level (Designated Market Area)
  • Languages
    • By default it will serve to all languages but if your business is global then consider creating separate campaigns with separate language settings for each.
  • Devices
    • Check specific devices, if you’re struggling for ways to optimise then you could test running ads on different devices
  • Gender targeting
    • As you would expect, Male or Female
    • There is “Unspecified” and this is when people do not disclose their gender when signing up.

Lesson 7 – Pick your pins

Potentially the most important part of all, you can use the best targeting in the world but if your pin is rubbish you’re not likely to get any meaningful results! When it comes to picking your pins, you have a few handy options available…you can view your pins in the following ways

  • All – to give you an idea of everything you could promote
  • 30 most saved – This gives you insight into which pins resonate most with your customers/followers
  • 30 most clicked – Perfect for traffic campaigns, this will give you insight into the most enticing pins you have available
  • Create one on the fly! – Simply click the “+” at the top of the page to create your own and pin it there and then!

Lesson 8 – The Structure

The easiest way to explain the structure can be seen in the example below…it is important to structure your campaign(s) in a way that gives you flexibility to improve performance and allows you to report at a granular level to generate actionable insights. For example, split your interests into separate ad groups or at least group relevant interests together.

  • Campaign (Clicks)
    • Ad Group (Interests)
      • Pin 1
      • Pin 2
      • Pin 3
    • Ad Group (Keywords)
      • Pin 1
      • Pin 2
      • Pin 3

Lesson 9 – Reporting

Pinterest has some great reports that can help you truly understand your campaign performance as well as inform you of changes you should be making to make it to the next level. I’ve broken down the basic report features and uses below.

  • Scheduling
    • Reports via Pinterest do need to be pulled manually, scheduling reports is not something you can do from within the interface
    • It is possible to pull data into the likes of Data studio via Supermetrics if you are looking for a more reliable way of pulling and storing your data.
  • Exporting
    • Table view – export what you see!
    • Account performance by day
    • Campaign performance by day
    • Custom Export – for those of you who feel more comfortable picking and choosing your dimensions and metrics there is a very comprehensive custom reporting option available

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  • Keyword reporting
    • Within a traffic campaign you can navigate to the “Keyword” tab. Here you can pull a search term report.
    • A search term report shows you the queries to which your keywords match to. Within this report it will show you the ‘search term’ (what a Pinner types into a search bar) and also a ‘keyword’ (the specific word or phrases you target in your ad group.)
    • From here you can make some useful optimisations, for example, make all of your poor performing or irrelevant keywords a negative keyword(s). Depending on performance you may also want to apply keyword level bids to enhance your chances of showing for high-quality, conversion driving keywords.

PPC hubbub - LightbulbTop Tip

Name your pins carefully, this will make reporting at Pin level much easier especially if you are looking to run creative tests across all targeting types.

Lesson 10 – Optimisation and Editing

Your approach to editing and optimising your campaigns will differ depending on how many campaigns, ad groups and pins you have running at any time. As a rule if you have more than 5 ad groups running I would suggest using the report to guide your changes then utilise the bulk editing feature to make your improvements. Once you download this sheet you can edit more or less every element of the campaign from one excel spread sheet. I’ve included some key areas I’d suggest editing within the sheet below:

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  • Bidding
    • This can be done at ad group level or at keyword level, if there is no keyword level then it will default to the ad group level bid
    • There are minimum bids by country, this is important to understand when forecasting, this can be found here:

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  • Targeting
    • You can add more interests, locations keywords all from within one of these sheets.
    • You can find all targeting codes here if you want to do these in bulk within an upload sheet!
  • Creating and duplicating campaigns in bulk
    • Sometimes it’s easier not to start from scratch, luckily Pinterest has designed a feature which allows you to duplicate existing elements of campaigns (or whole campaigns). To do this you can download a “Duplicate” sheet after selecting exactly what you want to duplicate from within the UI. For example, select an ad group and click “Export” >> “Bulk Sheet for Duplicating” >> “Selected rows”. This is a great way of creating lots of ad groups all with slightly different interests, so you can bid and report on activity more accurately.

For any further information needed for bulk editing or duplicating I can whole-heartedly recommend the guide on Pinterest’s site, some great bedtime reading! You can find it here

Ed Blakeway

Ed Blakeway

A digital marketing professional with 5+ years of experience agency side. Started out by dipping his toe in PPC before getting knee-deep in Programmatic and Social Media advertising. Self-confessed excel nerd and always on the lookout for new toys.

Completely obsessed with Dogs.
Ed Blakeway