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Pinterest Spotlight: What You Need to Know About Promoted Pins

Angie Pascale
Pinterest Spotlight: What You Need to Know About Promoted Pins

Pinterest rang in the new year with a bang that could be very lucrative for your business. On January 1, 2015, they opened up their Promoted Pins beta program to all Pinterest users. For ecommerce brands selling products online or any brand looking to increase awareness and drive traffic, this could be a great addition to their marketing mix.

While actual results from Promoted Pins tests are hard to come by, they have been said to “perform just as good and sometimes better than organic pins,” which is saying something since organic pins have the highest average cost per order of any social referral. Food, automotive and financial services verticals were cited as seeing the most positive results.

Promoted Pins on Pinterest

At this time, the Promoted Pins program is pretty basic, but Pinterest has plans to expand advertising features in the future by releasing new ad formats and targeting parameters. Until those new features are released, I wanted to share some details on how Promoted Pins work and how you can leverage them for your business.

Get Started

To sign up for Promoted Pins, simply visit and register. You must sign up via a business account, not a personal account.

Bid & Budget

Promoted Pins work like other pay per action models—you select the maximum bid you are willing to pay for an action, and you only pay the amount needed to beat out the second highest bidder. Actions are defined as clicks through to your website, not just enlarge clicks, repins, likes or comments.

You set budgets at the campaign level and bids at the pin level. There are no minimums for campaign spend levels, but the minimum bid is $0.05 per pin.

Setting Up Your Campaigns

First, you select the pins you’d like to promote. These are pins that you have already added to boards on your profile. Currently, Pinterest does not support GIFs, videos, pins on secret boards or uploaded pins that do not have a source URL.

Selecting Your Pin Creatively

Pinterest is a very visual medium, therefore, your Promoted Pins should include high-quality imagery that is easy to recognize what is being displayed (i.e., a single product image versus collage of several products).

The pin image and description cannot contain a call to action, promotion, sale or pricing. Here are examples of pins that are not allowed:

Not allowed on Pinterest.

Not allowed on Pinterest

Not allowed on Pinterest.

Not allowed on Pinterest

Since you can only select from pins that you have already added to your site, if you want to change the description, you must go to the original pin to do so.

Pinterest does review every pin, which can take up to seven days for approval. So make sure you’ve given yourself at least a week to set up the campaign if you have a set promotion or launch date.

Determine Where to Send Pinners

You can drive traffic to almost any page, but the destination URL cannot have an impassible interstitial. An email signup or other popup CTA is acceptable, as long as users can easily close out of it.

If your pin is for a specific product or item on your site, your destination URL should be for that product not the homepage. This creates a better experience for the user and is more likely to result in a conversion.

Set Targeting Parameters

There are two levels of targeting: keywords and users. You can manually add keywords to each pin or import a list of relevant terms. Pinterest then adds automated broad match keywords on top of those you select.

Set up your target for the pin.

 Set up your target for the pin

User targeting is based on location (down to the metro level in the US only), language, device and gender.

Target your pin.

Target your pin

Track Your Promoted Pins Performance

You can add tracking URLs to individual pins for better analysis of performance. It’s likely that this tracking capability will only be available to advertisers soon. Pinterest recently banned their “Power” pinners from using tracking and affiliate links, and it’s possible that they will no longer allow any users outside of advertisers to track pins in the near future.

Pinterest also provides separate analytics for Promoted Pins, which shows impressions, repins, clicks, CTR (click through rate), total spend and status of each campaign so that you can evaluate separately from organic activity.

Implement Rich Pins

Rich Pins aren’t a requirement for running Promoted Pins, but I do recommend implementing them prior to running any paid programs. This will allow your pins to stand out even more and as much information as possible about your site and product directly on the pin.

Pinterest has made the campaign setup and management process very simple and straightforward. There’s not much more to it than that at this point. Soon, Pinterest plans to launch an educational and instructional program call Pinstitute, which will provide tips and business insights to help brands see even greater return from Pinterest. Small businesses can access webinars and other online learning tools, and larger brands will be invited to quarterly workshops.

With Promoted Pins being new and so few results published from beta testers, the verdict is still out on just how successful they can be. But you’ll never know if they work for your brand until you test. So if you have seen success with organic pins, you have some test budget available, and you are open to taking small risks, then I highly recommend running a pilot Promoted Pins program.

Do you have plans to test Promoted Pins? Have you tested them already and have results to share? Please leave a comment to let us know how you feel about Promoted Pins.

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Angie Pascale is a cofounder of Interstellar (, a digital agency based in Denver, CO, where she heads up search and social, leading customer engagement and platform optimization strategies for e-commerce brand partners.
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