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How to Advertise on Pinterest

Explore How Pinterest Advertising Works by @mcngmarketing. In this article we explore the two different Pinterest promoted pins, and which one is right for your business.

So you’re interested in learning how to advertise on Pinterest?

Rand Fiskin from MOZ is predicting that Pinterest advertising will be a juggernaut in the upcoming 2015 year for social media advertising. He’s predicting that advertising spending on the social media site will reach $50 million dollars.  And I predict that the amount of advertising dollars on Pinterest will continue to grow as well. So how do you take advantage of this juggernaut opportunity?

The Tale of Two Promoted Pins

Currently Pinterest offers two types of advertising systems, also known as Promoted Pins.

The first type of Promoted Pin, is known as reservation style Promoted Pin.

This style of Promoted Pin was in beta testing in the later half of 2014, and a few select Pinterest partners, that had millions to spend on advertising, such as the Gap, General Mills and Target were part of this exclusive club.

As of January 1st, 2015, all U.S. based Pinterest advertising partners were allowed access to the reservation style promoted pins.

What’s wonderful about reservation style promoted pins is that these promoted pins can be seen within a user’s board.

For example, Kraft, one of Pinterest’s advertising partners, may want to advertise a new BBQ sauce. They create a pin for it, and using the reservation style promoted pins, the BBQ sauce promoted pin may show up in boards titled, “BBQ Ideas, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Party” and more.

Pinterest announced that reservation based promoted pins were open to “all U.S. based partners.” What this means is this type of advertising is NOT open to everyone, just people who have been established as advertising partners and have a pre established relationship with Pinterest.

These types of promoted pins are charged based on the number of times the promoted pin is shown, also known as CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

In an article written by AdAge, the reported price to become this type of advertising partner requires that your company have at least one million dollars to spend on Pinterest advertising. Now if you don’t have the funds for this type of advertising then the second type of promoted pin is more for you.

Could Promoted Pins be Shown Next to Clicked on Pins?

However, it seems that Pinterest may be changing the way that people see their pins on the desktop version of Pinterest. The picture below hasn’t been rolled out to everybody yet.

With the new version, related pins are shown on the right hand side, which takes away attention from the main pin. This is prime real estate for a Promoted Pin since this is above the fold and doesn’t require scrolling.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing

I believe it’s truly something to watch out for in 2015. But if you don’t have millions to spend, but you still want to get in on the action as a small business, then read on my Pinteresting friend.

How Small Businesses can Advertise on Pinterest

Before you start reading everything. I have to make it clear that Pinterest advertising and Promoted Pins in all its glorious forms are only available to U.S. based businesses, so good hearted Canadians like myself who have a Canadian based business, or if you’re like my friend Maarten Boribedi from Spain, well…we’re out of luck.

But if you’re like my friend Jeff Sieh, of the Manly Pinterest Tips show, who happens to be from the U.S. and has access to them, then you’ve got better luck than me.

The second type of Pinterest advertising is known as auction based Promoted Pins or self serving Promoted Pins. These types of pins are based on a bidding system. The more you pay for your advertising, then generally the better the position of where your Promoted Pin will be placed.

These type of ads are based on how much you’re willing to pay for per click, also known as cost per click. You don’t get charged unless someone clicks through to your website.  You don’t get charged based on impressions, nor does Pinterest charge you for repins when it does happen.

If you are a U.S. based business here’s a step by step guideline on how to get started with Pinterest advertising and Promoted Pins.

Step 1: Get Your Pinterest Business Account

First you have to have to have a Pinterest business account. If you have a personal account, all you have to do is switch over to a business one and fill in the new information.

Step 2: Get Approved for Promoted Pins by Pinterest

Once you have a Pinterest business account, what you want to do next is apply to be approved for promoted pins. One of the most common questions I get is how long it takes to get approved.

For some it takes about three weeks (could be shorter), while other businesses never get approved.

If you’ve waited for a while, and haven’t heard anything back from them, then give Pinterest a shout and ask them about the advertising application. This may speed up the process.

Step 3: Create Your Pin for Pinterest Advertising

You can only advertise pins that have already been created onto one of your boards. You cannot custom make a pin exclusively for the use as a Promoted Pin and have it disappear into the night like a Snapchat after the campaign is over. 

Now before creating your pin, you need to ensure you follow Pinterest’s rules for advertising. It seems like a lot, but in reality it’s not too bad.

Some of the rules you need to be aware about are:

  • You’re not allowed to have a call to action button on your pins, such as “Click on this wonderful amazing pin, because it will lead you to Batman’s bat cave.” Not happening.
  • No advertising drugs, booze, guns or porn.

Say No to Drugs!

  • Can’t have more than one hashtag in your Pinterest description, and that hashtag should be related to your brand, not a generic one, like #SocialMedia. (One of my most popular articles on my blog is about best practices with Pinterest hashtags.)
How to do Pinterest Advertising.

Yes, Pinterest only allows up to one hashtag in their promoted pins.

Step 4: Choose the Right Pin to Promote

Once you’ve created your pin, you need to have that pin belong to a board you created. Then you can select that pin to be promoted.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing. Discover the two types of Promoted Pins on Pinterest, and which one is right for your business.

Here’s what not to do….

It’s important to ensure that you choose a pin coming from one of your own created boards, not from a group board you joined.

A client I worked with in the past didn’t pay attention and chose one of their pins that happened to be pinned to a group board that he didn’t create. So when his Promoted Pin started getting pinned hundreds of times, it also attracted new followers to the board.

Guess who got the new followers? Unfortunately it wasn’t my client, it was the person who created the group board. Make sure it comes from your Promoted Pin is chosen from your own board because every time that happens I shed a tear in my dreams.

Step 5: Choose Keywords Your Customers are Searching For

Choose the keywords you want to target that customers are searching for.

Pinterest offers some estimated numbers for weekly searches for search terms, but for any search that’s lower than 5,000 then it won’t tell you.

If you don’t have access to the advertising platform, then you won’t have access to the search numbers.

The good thing is that if the search terms you want to advertise for add up to more than 5,000 Pinterest will tell you these estimated numbers.

When I typed in the search term, natural make up, the estimated amount of times it was searched on Pinterest was approximately 10,000+ times each week.  However if you choose more options such as city, device, gender and language then you’ll get a lower number as you’ll see in step 6.

How to Use Pinterest Advertising by @mcngmarketing. Find out the two types of Promoted Pins on Pinterest and which one is right for your business.

However, while some of your promoted pins will show up for searches, you may also find that some of them will be put into specific category feeds. For example if you choose the search term, “coffee table” for your Promoted Pin, the pin may show up in the Home Decor category as well. So along with being shown in search results, Promoted Pins will also be showing up in category feeds on Pinterest.

Nifty Pinterest Tip for Finding Out Estimated Numbers:

When you’re using estimated Pinterest numbers, you’re probably going to run across a lot of searches that are less than 5,000.

The search term, marketing ideas, is searched for less than 5,000 times a week. But I still want to know how many people are searching for it.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing.

I will then search for a term that has move than five thousand weekly searches. In this case I decided to use the search term Pinterest fail. The total amount of estimated searches then jumps up to 15,000 plus for both terms, this because you can choose multiple keywords for your promoted pin. There’s no limit to the amount.

From there, I delete the search term “marketing ideas” on the side, and it tells me that the estimated amount of search is 11,000 for the search term Pinterest fail. I then subtract that number from the cumulative total from both terms and I’m left with knowing that the search term marketing ideas has approximately 4,000 weekly searches.

Which means that marketing ideas is searched for approximately 16,000 times a month on Pinterest.

Step 6: Choose Your Location, Language, Device and Gender.

The next part is where you can choose some of the nitty gritty details of who you want to target.

With your promoted pin you can choose which U.S. cities to target (not all are available, but major ones are), which language the Pinterest users have chosen for their account, as well as their device such as iPad, or desktop and their gender as well.

You can also choose the language in which you want to target users. So if a user has their account in Japanese, but living in U.S. you can exclusively target these users.

As you start getting more granular with your details, you will notice that the amount of searches for that search term will decrease.

Step 7: Choose a Max Cost Per Click Budget for Your Promoted Pin

This is where you can bid on how much you want to pay for your clicks. I would advise that as a small business to choose a low CPC. Not too many people are advertising on the site right now, so there isn’t a lot of competition.

Here’s a bonus tip. If you find that you’re not getting results for a CPC, slowly raise the prices of CPC bidding. You may be surprised to find out that just by adding one more cent to your CPC that you may see dramatic results.

Another aspect to keep in mind for these types of promoted pins is that each pin has their own rate for CPC. So if you want a particular Promoted Pin to show up in a more prominent position then you will want to up your bid for that pin.

Ensure that you have the right URL destination. If you want to see how successful a particular pin is at converting to sales, then you may consider using a UTM tracker.

Now if you were hoping that  Promoted Pins to lead back to a landing page that requires a sign up, Pinterest says that’s a big no no, because they want to preserve the user experience and integrity of Pinterest.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing.

Step 8: Create Your Pinterest Campaign

When you create your Promoted Pin they must belong to a campaign. A Pinterest advertising campaign should be designed around one particular theme.

So if you’re doing a campaign to promote a specific holiday sale, you may want to name your campaign Valentine’s Day promotion.

Each campaign can have as many promoted pins as you want and you can have several campaigns going at one time if you like.

From there you can set the duration of how long you want your campaign to go or you can let it go for as long as you like.  From there you would be able to choose a daily maximum budget you like to spend. There are no minimums and maximums from what I can see.

And then the Promoted for that campaign needs to be approved by Pinterest, and once it does, then it’s launched and ready for Pinterest users to see.

Oh there’s one thing, you’ve got fill in your billing information and then it’s ready to roll. There’s also some really great analytics that come with Pinterest advertising to help you understand which search terms converted best in terms of clicks, how many repins a particular Promoted Pin received and so forth. I’ll be covering that in my next blog post.

But if you’re more of a visual person and prefer video, Ileane Smith made this great video about Promoted Pins.

Remember how I was talking about my friend Jeff Sieh earlier on the blog? Well he’s launched the Manly Pinterest Tips Podcast, and it’s beyond awesome. Listen to some of his episodes at his website, Manly Pinterest Tips.

Got questions about Pinterest advertising? Leave your questions in the comment section and I’ll answer them the best I can, and to stay up to date about Pinterest, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter.

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."
  • http://basicblogtips.com/ Ileane

    Hi Vincent! Great introduction to promoted pins. I think everyone should give them a try to see what kind of result they can get for such a small investment. Pinterest sent me an email yesterday and they said ” In the coming weeks, we’ll start showing your Promoted Pins in more places we think are relevant based on the terms you target.”
    I’m looking forward to launching another campaign soon and I’ll let you know if I get even better results with this new placement feature.
    Thanks for sharing the video!! I really appreciate it Vincent. Cheers!

    • http://www.mcngmarketing.com/ Vincent Ng – MCNG Marketing

      I think it will be interesting to see where Promoted Pins will be showing up. It’s almost like hide and seek, but it will be interesting. I’ve heard mixed results from some, so hopefully you’ll be able to get some great results with the new changes.

      Glad to share the video, I think a lot of people will enjoy a more visual tutorial of Promoted Pins.

  • http://Malenutrition.net/ Male Nutrition

    Great information. I was just getting started on pinterest and was definitely going to look into the ad side of it.

    • http://www.mcngmarketing.com/ Vincent Ng – MCNG Marketing

      You’re welcome. Ads are something you want to look into as soon as possible. Be an early adopter before people discover this well kept secret.

      • http://Malenutrition.net/ Male Nutrition

        Valid point. I will look into that soon. Thanks Vincent

  • Robin Pierman

    It makes sense that Promoted Pins might show up next to the clicked image. Kind of like a Related Content link. Thanks for the sneak peak at the screen.

  • Jim Moritz

    I guess I will bookmark this blog post and comeback when I have time to really implement the things and tools you have listed.

    Cheers.

  • http://www.reachoutsid.com/ Siddaiah

    Pinterest is giving so much traffic to so many people, i have not tested Pinterest ads till now, i want to try it out once, promoted pins looking attractive and i dont know how this auction based pins will show on pinterest, anyway thank you for sharing detailed information about Pinterest ads.

  • http://www.WritersSocial.com/ The Writers Social

    Very informative and I love your humor as well. I will be sharing this on my website for my members. Thank you.

  • Candice Carter

    This is a very interesting post and I love that you have included video into your post. Not many people doing that. So I am in the UK although I have an online business which isn’t specific to any country. Because I am in the UK does that mean I can’t use the Promoted pin?

    • http://www.mcngmarketing.com/ Vincent Ng – MCNG Marketing

      You’re welcome Candice. Promoted Pins has now changed quite a bit from when I first wrote this article. They now have two types, cost per engagement (CPE) and cost per click (CPC). You used also be able to find out the search volume of search terms before placing an order. That’s no longer the case. Unfortunately only businesses with a U.S IP address and U.S. credit card are able to use Promoted Pins. It’s not very fair… :(

      • Candice Carter

        Thanks s o much for getting back to me, I appreciate it. I can’t wait for it to roll out in other countries. Until then I will continue to learn how to build a following :)

  • Renae Cerquitella

    Thank you! Lots of great tips.

  • MollyBug

    can you have a pinterest business account and have multiple clients who you do pinterest advertising for?

  • Susan Gilbert

    To promote my business on pinterest, I simply use PinPinterest com. Its an automation and managing tool, specially built for pinterest.
    I’ve been using PinPinterest to automate and manage my account since 7 months, and I’m more than happy with the results :)
    Its a free to use tool that runs on the cloud and is mobile device optimised. The Pin Scheduler allows scheduling of as many pins as I want. The sophisticated content detection systems ensure that only pins relevant to my business are pinned to my boards :)