Best Practices for Advertising on Pinterest

Pinterest logo and interface

Promoted pins (or images) on Pinterest are another form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising; in other words, you only pay when someone clicks your ad. When someone clicks on an organic pin, more info pops up related to the image (the image title, description, who posted it, comment, suggested places to save the pin within your own board, etc.). However, when someone clicks on a pin that is paid for, they go directly to the linked website.

Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media channel currently. Like Instagram, Pinterest requires an image whereas Facebook and Twitter allow you to use images as a bonus. However, the benefit to Pinterest over Instagram is that you can link directly from your image to your product/service rather than having to point to your home page or a link tree. 

Pinterest is not typically top of mind for use of ad budget. But before you dismiss it, consider if it aligns with your business goals and current brand strengths.

Is Pinterest right for your business?

Nearly 98% of searches in Pinterest are unbranded, which means people are looking for new products and product ideas. For example, searchers are more likely to look to Google for “Nike running shoes” and to look to Pinterest for “half marathon running shoes”. 

Pinterest users are also more likely to be on a mobile device (80% of usage is on mobile), and browsing in the evenings or weekends when they’re away from work. In other words, people are more likely to be looking for everyday items rather than things for their business.

Consider using Pinterest if you: 

  • Have a strong visual brand or product 
  • Have a product that is not work related
  • Want to support your branded searches
  • Want to reach people on mobile
  • Want to reach people in the evenings and/or weekends
  • Want to reach women
  • Want to increase sales on and/or offline
  • If your timeline is 60+ days out (people use Pinterest to plan ahead)
  • Want to spread your budget out across the day

Regardless of whether or not you’re paying for ads, Pinterest is a great platform to test.

Return on Investment (ROI) & Optimization

If you’ve been working with other PPC entities (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc), you’re probably familiar with conversion tracking: the ability to track important, identifiable actions on your website from a particular platform. Luckily, Pinterest has their own proprietary conversion tracking, too. This means you can determine if people saw, clicked or shared your pin, what they do on your site after engaging with your promoted pins, target people who have visited your site with a new campaign, and overall measure your ROI.

9 Conversions to Track on Pinterest

  1. Page visits (record views of important pages)
  2. Viewed categories (record views of category pages)
  3. Watched videos (record video views)
  4. Searched (record searches on your website)
  5. Leads (show interest in product or service)
  6. Signed-up (record newsletter signups)
  7. Added to cart (record when items are added to your cart)
  8. Checkout (completed transaction)
  9. Custom (create your own special event)

To set up conversion tracking, install the Pinterest Tag via a short snippet. This allows you to track what people do on your website after visiting from Pinterest. We recommend installing via Google Tag Manager.

About Targeting & Setup

There are three components to Pinterest ad setup:

  1. Campaign (organized by goals, spending caps, and target placements)
    1. Ad group (should be grouped by tight themes, can set specific bids and budgets)
      1. Targeting
        1. Keywords
          1. Broad match shows in browse, search, and browse & search
          2. Phrase and exact match: shows only in search, not in browse
        2. Interests (e.g. cooking, working out, etc.)
      2. Pin (your image, description, and link to your website)

There are two ways for people to view pins: 

  1. Browse: this is a user’s home-feed where they receive suggestions (passively looking for things)
  2. Search: users can query specific items (actively looking for things)

This gives you three options to target people: by browsing, by searching, or by browsing and searching.

Best Practices for Promoted Pins


  • You should have no less than four ad groups per campaign
  • Each ad group should be set to at least $50 per day with a CPC bid of about $1.50
  • Under ad group settings, ad manager shows suggested bid range (note: you will not see bid suggestions for retargeting, lookalike, or engagement audiences). To determine a starting bid, we recommend starting with a stronger bid (10-15% higher) to build a healthy CTR and optimize bids over time
  • Target browse and search in separate campaigns if:
    • You want to optimize at the placement level
    • You are using interest targeting for browse and keywords for search targeting

Ensure relevance

  • Ad groups should be built around a tight theme
  • Pins should have an accurate description
  • Board should also have an accurate title, description, and category
  • Targeting should be consistent across ad group theme, the pin, and the landing page
  • Check out the Audience Insights tool to find your audience and understand how they are using Pinterest

Keyword targeting

  • Start with broad match and use the search query report to identify optimizations
  • Add negative keywords e.g. those that have high volume but little conversions, low click-through rate (CTR), or low performance keywords
  • Phrase & exact match: move high CTR or performance keywords to phrase and exact under separate ad groups
  • Note: Pinterest prioritizes exact match, then phrase match, and finally broad match
  • Use a minimum of 25 keywords per ad group
  • Utilize the guided search for keyword suggestions e.g. when we searched for “running” we got suggestions for “workouts”, “motivation”, and more
using suggested terms in Pinterest keyword targeting for Pinterest ads


  • Overall
    • Use compelling content
    • Be consistent – your pin should match what is in the description and on the landing page
  • Image
    • Keep your pins vertical rather than horizontal
    • Optimize for mobile
    • Ideal image ratio is 2:3 e.g. 1,000 pixels wide by 1,500 pixel high (1,000 x 1,500)
  • Descriptions
    • Write detailed descriptions
    • Include tasteful & clear branding
    • Use clear copy that is straight to the point


  • To avoid low click volume, use a broad targeting strategy
  • Having trouble getting ads to show? Ads must have a baseline click-through-rate (CTR as determined by the number of times your pin is clicked divided by the number of times your pin shows) of 2%
  • Want to get your ads to show up at the top of results? Work on increasing your CTR and increase your bids. Ads that have performed historically better overtime delivered by companies who are willing to pay are more likely to have their promoted pins display first.

Ready to see if it’s right for you? Sign up for a new business account. If you have an existing personal account, you can migrate to a business account. We suggest creating a new, separate account as you will likely be sharing with others at your business.

For more information, check out Pinterest’s webinar on YouTube. Happy pinning!