While the Pinterest user base pales in comparison to other social network juggernauts such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, no one can deny its impact as a visual, performance driven marketing and branding platform.
To be clear, Pinterest has been slow to go the way of advertising and only recently opened up the platform to marketers. Prior to this, large, established advertisers including General Mills, Gap, Lululemon, Nestle, Kraft and others were brought on board to run test campaigns for up to six months. These initial ads were costing between $1 million and $2 million per campaign and $30 to $40 as the cost per thousand impressions.
Smart marketers have rushed to tap into the branding potential offered by Pinterest. In particular, the predominant audience, women who are ready to purchase things that interest them, makes this social platform standout from the rest.
So with so much potential to be leveraged, how do you truly succeed with Pinterest advertising?
First, it’s imperative to understand the basic unit of Pinterest advertising—the promoted pins.
Promoted pins do not appear on users’ feeds alongside recent pins or on their pin board. Instead, these pins appear in searches across different categories such as fashion, entrepreneurship, bakery etc. Promoted pins are bought on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis and can be targeted to users based on location, city, interest and user behavior, device and gender.
Without a doubt, images that fully engage your target audience attract more clicks that are meaningful and drive positive conversions.
In addition to creating high quality images that resonate with your audience and put your brand in the best light, you need to adhere to the basics—keep your images vertically oriented, pay special attention to light, image-text ratio and color contrast.
Instead of pinning one image and letting it stay there for too long, you want to infuse your campaigns with unique dynamism so be sure to change your pins often. Repurpose your best performing pins to continue receiving greater engagement from your followers and their followers/ friends.
Even the most stunning creative will not bring you the desired results if you have not adequately segmented your target audience.
Just because the Pinterest user base is not too large does not mean that the audience is by any means homogenous. In fact, users on the platform have immensely diverse interests from minute vintage trends to conspicuous modern interests.
This kind of diversity calls for the marketer to carefully consider who their target segment is. Who do you seriously want to engage? Strategic segmentation allows you to create and serve content that your audience really wants to see. Providing users with content that they anticipate, nurtures them further into the sales cycle.
Pinterest lets you segment and target users by gender, location, language and the device they use to access the platform.
Currently, Pinterest search largely works based on broad match even though there are improvements to deliver exact match results. This is something you need to pay close attention to because it will impact the effectiveness of your optimization efforts.
High quality, engaging images are utterly essential to your campaign but you also need to make these images visible through keyword optimization. Use the Ads Manager for suggestions on broad keywords. Pinterest guided search is also a good source for keyword suggestions. It is recommended that you optimize each image with at least 30 keywords for best results.
Unlike email, banner ads or onsite advertising, social advertising requires a softer approach when calling on users to take a specific action. This is especially true for visual social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.
The rule of thumb is to give prominence to visual creative. Instead of obstructing your images with a screaming call to action (CTA), use subtle CTAs that give users the choice to take certain actions. A best practice is to use the CTAs in the caption below the image. Bear in mind that Pinterest forbids the use of ‘functional and commercial’ CTAs.
Promoted pins work based on CPC so you only pay when users click through the pin to your site. A good bidding strategy is to start with a relatively large solid budget so that in the long run, you can reduce CPC and increase click through rates due to the high targeted exposure your pin receives.
As you gain more conversions, you can continuously adjust your bid to reach your optimal cost per action (CPA). As you do this, you need to take into consideration your target segments and set your budgets accordingly to get the most bang for your buck.
Succeeding with Pinterest advertising requires a thorough understanding of your target audience’s idiosyncrasies, behaviors, desires and intentions. This is the key to building campaigns that truly resonate with your audience while delivering on your predetermined performance metrics.