207 – Pinterest Ads: Tips for the DIY Marketer

screenshot of Pinterest promoted pins set up for test events.

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Are you confused by Pinterest ads (aka promoted pins)? How do you know when it’s time to hire out? What do all the recent changes mean for promoted pins? Is there an easy way to understand what’s going on?

Those are some of the questions we are answering in this episode of the podcast. We’ll break down the new elements, things to watch out for before you dive into promoted pins, and what to know before you decide to hire someone to manage them.

Meet the SPM Promoted Pins Director

Erin is our Promoted Pins Director here at Simple Pin. She will be sharing a TON of information in this longer-than-usual episode, so please, look at this as an investment in your online business education. Grab a cup of whatever you like, and get comfy as we dive into everything you need to know about Pinterest ads

Erin came to work for Simple Pin in 2016 as an account specialist. She spent the next two years doing that job incredibly well. When we launched a promoted pins department in 2018, Erin was the natural choice to lead it. She spent a solid year beta testing Pinterest ads, learning everything she could about promoted pins, and best practices for using them. She now heads up an awesome team that manages Pinterest ad campaigns for our clients.

Let this be a lesson to those of you who are CEOs of your own company.

I wanted to do all the promoted pin stuff myself. But there came a point where I had to get out of my own way. If I wanted the business to continue to grow and to meet the needs of my clients, I had to turn this part of the business over to someone else, and that someone was Erin.

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Why You Need to Educate Yourself about Pinterest Ads

There was a time when I would have said you had to have an understanding of how organic pins work before trying to dive into promoted pins. I don’t necessarily believe that any longer. I think that you could dive right into promoted pins right now, even if you don’t have a great organic pin strategy (in fact, some would argue that Pinterest ads can actually boost your organic strategy).

Choosing to invest in ads is a huge decision, and we understand that completely at Simple Pin. It’s always scary to take that next big step and invest even further in your business. Our goal is to continue to help you understand the different levels of investment you can make and to explain them in such a way that it takes away some of that fear you may feel.

Promoted pins WILL be a vital part of any sound Pinterest marketing strategy over the next year so it’s important that you begin to educate yourself about them now.

Pinterest Ads: Our Best Tips for the DIY Pinterest Marketer

Don’t Put Money into Broken Funnels

Here at Simple Pin, we have been experimenting with using promoted pins to:

But here’s something we’ve had to learn one lesson the hard way:

Putting money into ads, whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, will not fix a broken funnel.

Here’s what I mean by that. If you aren’t making it easy for people to buy your product, or if people simply aren’t buying it, ads aren’t going to fix that. You’ll become more frustrated because ads will highlight the fact that people aren’t buying.

Over the past eight months, we experienced this situation firsthand. One of our funnels was very broken, and we couldn’t figure out why people weren’t purchasing from the Pinterest ad.

It took a lot of tweaking to get things rolling.

So, if you don’t have a really good conversion system- meaning it’s easy for people to buy your product, or it’s easy for them to join your email list- putting money behind is essentially throwing your money away.

If you’ve tried promoted pins and had zero success (or if you decide to jump in after this episode), please be willing to examine your funnels if you find yourself in the position of getting no sales. Don’t just automatically assume that ads on Pinterest don’t work; maybe it’s your funnels that aren’t working.

New Pinterest Ads Features

Just like any online platform, things are always changing over at Pinterest. And may I say, this is one of the biggest reasons to set up a discovery call with us! If you already feel like you can’t keep up with all.the.things, a discovery call with one of our Pinterest ads managers might bring a lot of peace to you.

We stay on top of all of these changes and we can chat about your business and help you figure out whether it makes sense for you to hire this part out or if, with a bit of education, you can keep going on your own.

Let’s highlight some of the newest features to hit the promoted pins scene in the last few months:

Test Event Code Feature – This tool allows you to test your ads by taking the action on your ad in real-time. Previously, the Tag Helper allowed you to determine that your tag was installed correctly, but it didn’t allow you to test your own CTA. For more complicated funnels (like when there’s a tripwire involved or special pricing for a certain action), it was impossible to test before. This new tool allows you to test those complicated funnels in real-time.

screenshot of Pinterest promoted pins set up for test events.

New Tag Installation – One of the most important pieces of building a tag integration with partners is having the tag properly installed. If you can’t track your tag, you’re throwing money out the window. But now, Pinterest has made it (relatively) easier to track those tags.

This can be found under Ads→Conversions→Tag Manager (see screenshot below):

Screenshot of Pinterest ads setup - tag manager.

You can now choose the following options for tag installation:

  • partner integration
  • manually adding the code to your site
  • email instructions to a developer.

Screenshot of Pinterest ads set up - how to install Pinterest tag ID.

And there is a wide array of partner integrations to choose from:

Screenshot of Pinterest partners for tag integrations.

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Automatic Bidding – Automatic Bidding has been available for traffic campaigns for some time but they are now available for conversion campaigns, as well. For our management clients at SPM, we assess whether manual or automatic bidding would work best for them.

If you’re managing your own ads, you’ll need to look into that. As of this recording, we recommend starting out with manual bidding for conversion campaigns and slowly dipping your toe into automatic bidding.

The bidding options can be found under the Optimization & Delivery of the Ad Group section.

Pinterest ads set up for bidding options.

Targeting and Creative Alignment – okay, we admit that this isn’t new. It’s always been key to create alignment between your customer and your content. However, what we’re seeing is that if there’s any disconnect between the time that a viewer lands on your ad and when they land on your page (i.e., if there’s anything that doesn’t match up with what your ad presented), you will see higher levels of drop-off.

If you confuse your customer at all, you will lose them. You also run the risk of your ad not being approved. If you’re going to put money behind something, you want it to be as successful as possible, so this alignment is really important.

We always suggest familiarizing yourself with Pinterest best practices before creating your ad. Simple Pin Media also has an amazing Pin Template package of 30 high converting Pinterest Templates. Whether you use Canva or Photoshop, our templates are set up to easily work with your brand colors, fonts, and images.

Improve Your Pinterest Ad Campaign by Exploring the User Journey

One of the things I always recommend you do is to use the platform the same way your readers use it. Just get into the app and use Pinterest as regular user would.

Find some promoted pins and click through. Follow the path that the account owner has set up for you. Look at each step along the way in the user journey. Is that business’s branding cohesive? Does each step make sense as you work your way through their funnel?

As a consumer, what takeaways did you have from following this person/company from pin image to website? What did you notice and how did it make you feel?

Now, take what you learned and observed to figure out what you can do better in your own campaigns and what things you want to avoid. If anything left you confused or not sure, note those things as well.

Get Creative with Your Pinterest Ads

Because Pinterest is a free platform, they have to make money somehow. That method is through promoted pins. As they roll out new features for ads, prepare to be impressed by some of the creativity you see.

Erin spends a lot of time doing exactly what I recommended above; scrolling and clicking through promoted pins to see what is working for others. One of the things that really excites her is the level of creativity people are putting into their ads.

From carousel pins to videos, there is a little bit of everything to see if you click through some promoted pins. This is a great way to spend some time because it will spur creative ideas for your own Pinterest ads campaigns.

Another great thing about this activity is it shows you how you are being targeted as someone else’s avatar. This will give you even more ideas on how to target your own avatar.

Pinterest Advertising in a Pandemic

As people have been forced to stay home over the past several months, Pinterest users have surged to 400 million. Searches are through the roof, too, but these searches are not the same as they have been in the past.

When the pandemic first put us all under quarantine, things got a little crazy. I don’t know about you, but the hunt for toilet paper and basic groceries had most of us feeling like we were living in survival mode. Because we didn’t know, (and still don’t know) what was going to happen, most of us stopped spending money on anything except the absolute necessities.

Erin vividly remembers the moment her no spending plan went out the window. She was “targeted” by a company through a Pinterest ad for a cozy bra, perfect for wearing when you are stuck at home. She was only too glad to pull out her credit card for what she saw as a need.

What Erin has noticed is that pre-pandemic, she had a fairly even split in her spending; 50/50 store vs online. And now? Other than picking up groceries, her spending is around 90% online.

The point here is that you have to keep in mind that people are behaving differently now than they were even 2-3 months ago. Maybe they started out the pandemic with a spending freeze like Erin, but as the quarantine has worn on, they have relaxed a bit.

People are still spending money. But if your avatar is only spending money on the things they see as a necessity, you have to adjust your ads to address their pain points. You must demonstrate how your products are the solution to their problem and something that they absolutely need.

Product Pricing Considerations

Right now, Erin is noticing that products that are priced at $50 or less are selling more often and more quickly. People are more likely to “impulse buy” something that costs $50 or less.

If you are a new user of Pinterest ads, you might not be a household name yet. No worries! If your product is $50 or less, a large percentage of Pinterest users will take a chance on you if your product is something they need or want to try.

This is by no means a statement saying that you can’t have tremendous success selling a product that’s $200. But that type of product takes much more intentionality to sell, whereas the lower-priced products are still doing great as impulse buys.

Related: How to Market a Product on Pinterest

What You Need to Know Before Diving into Pinterest Ads

So, you’ve listened to this episode and you’re ready to take the plunge. Hang on a second. There are just a couple of things you need to have in place first, whether you’re doing this yourself or wanting to hire a team like ours to manage it for you.

  • Know what product or service you want to promote. Before you put money behind something, you should already have some data on that product or service. If this is a brand new product, just know going into this that you are testing it. You don’t have proof that it will sell yet or what your initial bids or returns should be. That’s not to say you can’t do it; just be prepared to spend money to understand how it works.
  • Know what the action is worth. Say you want to run an ad to build your email list. That’s great but you need to know what an email address is worth to you. Maybe an email address is worth $3 to you or maybe it’s only worth $1. You have to know how your audience responds to emails and what each one is worth.
  • Know your desired cost-per-action for product sales. For example, if your product costs $50, you don’t want your cost-per-action to also be $50. Why? Think about it; you put money into the product, you put money into the ad, you put money into serving the customer. Knowing ahead of time what you want your cost-per-action to be is really very important and will help you make more money while offering your customer a great product at a great price.=
  • Have a working funnel ready to go. We touched on this earlier but it is crucial that you have a working landing page/funnel set up and ready to go. Our promoted pins team here at Simple Pin spends a lot of time going through your funnel and taking your customer’s journey before we ever get on a call with you. If you have a broken funnel, fix that before you try to get started with promoted pins. Think of it like you would if you were building a house. You start with a plan, then you build the foundation. Your funnel is the foundation of your ad campaigns on Pinterest.

woman sitting at desk writing.

Are You Ready to Get Started with Pinterest Advertising?

If you’re ready to jump in and you want to get on a discovery call with Erin, please listen to the final nine minutes of the podcast episode to hear what you need to have in place before reaching out. This will save you time and frustration, and will give you your best chance at success!

We don’t work with anyone who isn’t ready for us. As the founder and CEO of Simple Pin, I am committed to taking just as much care with your business as I do my own. That includes not taking money from clients who I don’t believe we can serve in the best way possible.

When you hire Simple Pin Media to manage your Pinterest advertising, you are not hiring me; you are choosing to work with a team of experts who will keep your best interests at heart and in mind, in everything they suggest and put into action for your business.

For Further Listening/Reading:


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