Introduction to Pinterest Ads

Pinterest Ads is a powerful platform that can help e-commerce brands effectively reach their target audience and drive sales. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to make the most out of Pinterest Ads and how it can contribute to the growth of your brand.

First we must understand why Pinterest Ads can be so effective and how the nature of the way the platform functions plays such a huge role. You see, Pinterest is first and foremost a discovery engine. Actually the world’s first visual discovery engine, as they have claimed. People go there to search for inspiration, ideas, content and much more all across tons of categories. The company isn’t called Pinterest for just any reason, people are there to literally “PIN” their INTERESTS. It’s the very nature of this that allows them to stand out from other social media platforms. The engagement is different because individuals are there with high intention, and just so happen to simultaneously scope out brands and products that they actually feel comfortable shopping for. This connection is very streamlined and natural, due to of course the difference there is with an individual actively seeking for something and being greeted with like minded products, as opposed to being interrupted while scrolling their feeds (Meta, Instagram, etc).

I personally like to call it Google on steroids. I mean think about it. Take a person for example searching for tattoo ideas on Google. The information they receive will unfortunately be spread all over the place from different sites, even with images involved. Then, take that same person with their search and present them with a beautiful board of pins all resembling what their search was. It’s a huge difference and user experience. The algorithm doesn’t stop there. As this individual continues to browse and search, Pinterest starts to recommend similar pins as they endlessly scroll the feed saving every pin they can get their eyes on. What makes Pinterest so special as well is the aesthetically pleasing aspect of it. Unlike Google where you’d have to save pictures, ideas or content to your phone, Pinterest allows you to create boards and categorize all your findings. You can go back to these anytime, show your peers, add more ideas to these boards, and have an eternal “library” of everything you love or want to eventually either purchase, create or anything else under the sun that can be done with them.

It’s where millions of people discover and save experiences and making sure your business or brand is a part of this discovery would be wise. Even if you don’t use Pinterest to drive paid traffic, it is still an amazing source of organic traffic. With so many people discovering so many different types of things, your audience is sure to be on Pinterest in some shape or form. Igniting interest in your brand can be approached in various ways of which we’ll also cover. PINterested? Let’s jump into it!

Setting Up Your Pinterest Ads Account

This is the easy part, let’s start with the quite obvious. Head to and make yourself an account. Congrats you’re 50% of the way there! Now go take your lunch break for this amazing accomplishment, seriously some people don’t even get this far 😉. You’ll land on a prompt that tells you to verify your website and so you’ll want to add the html code they provide and stick it right into the <head> section of your site. They also provide very clear instructions in case you’re having any trouble with that part.

After this you’ll want to make sure you set up with Conversions API and the Pinterest tag. Using Pinterest API for Conversions and Pinterest tag allows us to send web, in-app or offline conversions to Pinterest. These conversions can then be used to target specific audiences for your campaigns and measure campaign performance. Long story short, it’s what allows the platform to communicate with your website host such as Shopify in order to read the conversions and other actions users are taking on your site. Without it, you’ll be in the dark! Luckily for a lot of e-commerce sites Pinterest has an integration with partners such as Shopify to make the process very streamlined and straight forward.

Understanding Pinterest Ad Formats

You’re scrolling through Pinterest, searching for the perfect recipe to impress your friends or DIY project to turn your living room into a hipster paradise, and suddenly, bam, you stumble upon an ad. But not just any ad! It’s a Pinterest ad, and it’s about to make your browsing experience even more delightful. Let’s break down the different ad formats and how each one offers unique features and benefits while also explaining how to utilize them effectively to capture the attention of your target audience. Alright, get those pins ready because we’re going on a Pinterest ADtravaganza (😭 dad jokes).

  • Standard Ads: This is the good old classic static ad. Use the best visual you can to represent what your message, what your brand is trying to achieve or any call to actions. It’s the most basic and widely used type of ad format.
  • Standard Video Ads: Standard video ads utilizes a single video asset. They are the same size as a Standard Pin. Bring out the creative side of your promotion with scroll stopping effects and visuals. Promoted video auto-plays while people are browsing and searching for ideas. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that video performance will USUALLY outperform static images because they simply draw your viewer in much more efficiently.
    • Max Width Video Ads: Given that max. width video has double the size and visibility of standard video, this ad format is best used when a brand really wants to make their content stand out. Max width video is only available for awareness and video views campaigns. Leverage its larger size and visibility to help you drive 2x more recall than static ads.
  • Premier Spotlight: This is the grand daddy of videos placements. It is a new high-impact awareness offering to reach audiences on Pinterest at scale. It allows advertisers to showcase their brand in a premium, exclusive placement on Pinterest for an entire day. Premiere Spotlight features high-impact max. width video format to supercharge brand awareness.
  • Idea Ads: These pins take huge inspiration from the name itself, as its uses can vary, but in my opinion the most advantageous way is with recipe or step like creatives. It’s the perfect way to share ideas in an actionable and shoppable way. Idea ads give you the canvas to bring your brand to life with creative that feels native to Pinterest. You can record right from the app, add stickers, text overlay, music, details and more to show off your brand. Brands can add an outbound link to drive traffic to their site, or they can add details like step-by-step breakdowns, ingredients list, materials and more to turn inspiration into action.
  • Carousel Ads: A carousel ad allows brands to showcase 2 to 5 images (called “cards”) in an interactive format where people can swipe or click to engage further. It’s another classic way to showcase various aspects of one product or showcase several. It allows for more options within the same space because all viewers do is swipe. Each image can have it’s own URL link which is a huge plus!
  • Collection Ads: Collections allow brands to display multiple products in a single ad. They showcase one main image, video or slideshow (called a “hero” creative) above three smaller images (“secondary” creative). Once in close-up mode, the ad can show up to 24 secondary images or products.
  • Shopping Ads: These ads are basically standard ads, but with the added feature of showing product details, including the price. They use a single, static image to promote a product, allowing people to purchase products.
  • Lead Ads: Lead generation is also possible on Pinterest and the forms looks quite clean! Potential customers actively looking for your services can share their information with just a few taps on a native lead form and the process is very effortless.
  • Travel Catalog: With Travel Catalogs, audiences can view ads for your hotel listings and seamlessly take action with relevant and dynamic information about your listing like: price, neighborhood, location, images, and hotel brand. When you upload your catalog to Pinterest they manage and update your information in sync with your site so that all your promotions are up to date.
  • Interactive Ads: These ads consist of quiz and showcase ads. The quiz consists of 2 to 3 questions, with 2 to 3 answer options per question. Based on the number of answer options, the quiz can return 2 to 3 unique results. Each result page consists of a Pin visual, a headline and description about the result. From their result, users can then click through to a destination website. Showcase ads allow advertisers to tell a cohesive, visual story. People on Pinterest can swipe through the cards to explore different facets of the brand. They can also dig deeper into each card by clicking through the features which lead directly to various landing pages. Users can swipe through branded imagery to discover things like: seasonal looks, mini recipe books, details of the unique features of a car, tips on new ways to style a piece of furniture and more—all within the ad unit.

*It’s important to note that some ad format products might not be available in all markets. 

Defining Your Target Audience

With the right targeting mix, you can reach people with interests, search behavior and demographics that match your business—maximizing the effectiveness of your ad spend. Whether you want to raise awareness or drive consideration, placing your content in front of the people who may actually want to see it is the first step in creating successful ads on Pinterest.

  • Interests: With interest targeting you get to benefit off of Pinterests algorithm and use it to find people that have engaged with certain content. As users interact with content on Pinterest, they reveal their topics of interest, their tastes, and what they’re planning for. The algorithm uses tons of datapoints to then aggregate these individuals into buckets of personas on the platform which are then used to feed the options you have available as far as targeting them. So if you run a beauty brand for example, you’ll want to target users who are absolutely in love with all facets of beauty. From there the platform allows you to narrow down on the interest depending on how broad the original was. In the example below you’ll see you can narrow as far down as to “body scrub”. Pretty neat if you ever need to get that specific, but always keep in mind that the more you narrow your targeting, your audience will narrow as well. If results become lackluster, try broadening your targeting. At Shared Audiences we normally practice using a broad approach because it will allow a larger pool of people to be targeted, and from there we narrow down based on

  • Keywords: Keyword targeting allows you to reach Pinterest users who have searched for a specific word or phrase on Pinterest. It works very much the way Google keywords work but the searchers who are on Pinterest are very inspired in relation to the broad population surfing the internet. They go on Pinterest specifically to search for ideas that will bring their fashion, project or anything else to life! Use a keyword strategy to define where you want to appear on search results and make sure you are front and center of your ideal audience.
  • Demographics: Much like all other platforms, you’ll be able to define your targeting further using the demographic features of Pinterest users. The 5 are:
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Location
    • Language
    • Device

Crafting Compelling Ad Creative

Creating visually appealing and engaging ad creative is essential on Pinterest. This section will provide you with tips and best practices for designing attention-grabbing Pins that will resonate with your target audience and drive them to take action.

I always say that the best ad is not an ad at all. More than ever we need to learn to develop ways to “blend” into users feeds and stop them in their tracks. Across the industry this is done in various ways but when advertising on Pinterest I feel we have a leg up so many times. Since our audience is already extremely interested and in “inspiration” mode, we really just need to make sure we are placing our creatives in the most relevant places as far as their interests or search based queries. Here’s the easiest example I can give you. Please don’t accidentally place a your black shoes creative in an ad group where your keywords are based on searches for “white shoes”.

Pinterest is a visual platform, so your creatives need to be visually appealing. Create high-quality images or graphics that are bright, clear, and attention-grabbing. Whether you’re showcasing products, recipes, or DIY projects, make sure your visuals are the star of the show. Creatives should reflect your brand’s aesthetic, personality, and values. Use consistent colors, fonts, and imagery to create a cohesive look and feel across your Pinterest account and always optimize for mobile viewing.

Optimizing Ad Performance

Once your ads are up and running, it’s essential to monitor and optimize their performance. Pinterest provides a plethora of metrics to help you gauge the performance of your ads. Some key metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Impressions: The total number of times your ad has been seen by users.
  • Clicks: The number of times users have clicked on your ad.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of users who clicked on your ad after seeing it.
  • Engagement: The total number of interactions with your ad, including saves, clicks, and close-ups.
  • Conversions: The number of desired actions taken as a result of your ad, such as website visits, sign-ups, or purchases.

Dive into the performance metrics of your campaigns to gain insights into what’s working and what’s not. Look for patterns, trends, and outliers to identify areas for improvement. If you notice certain ad groups or keywords performing better than others, consider adjusting your bids to allocate more budget towards high-performing areas. Use audience insights to refine your targeting criteria and reach users who are most likely to engage with your ads. Experiment with different ad creatives, messaging, and formats to see which resonates best with your audience. Split test different elements of your ads, such as headlines, images, or calls-to-action, to identify which variations drive the best results.

Don’t forget to monitor the frequency at which your ads are being shown to users. If your frequency is too high, it may indicate ad fatigue, and it might be time to refresh your creative or adjust your targeting. Optimization is an ongoing process that should be monitored frequently and used to your advantage to learn from the tests you perform. Refine, adapt and continue to test new strategies to increase performance over time!

Leveraging Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics provides valuable insights into your audience’s behavior, conversion insights and trends. Let’s explore the process of using Pinterest Analytics to gain a deeper understanding of your audience, refine your targeting strategy, and identify new opportunities.

Start by delving into the Audience Insights section of Pinterest Analytics. Here, you’ll find valuable demographic information about your audience, including their age, gender, location, and interests. Use this data to create detailed audience personas and tailor your content and targeting strategy to better align with the preferences of your target audience.

Use the insights you obtain to refine your targeting strategy. Using Pinterest’s targeting options, such as interest targeting, keyword targeting, and audience targeting, reach users who are most likely to engage with your content and take action!

The conversion insights section of Pinterest analytics lets you analyze the performance of your pins and boards. Here, you’ll find data on metrics such as impressions, clicks, saves, and engagement rate for each of your pins and boards. Pay attention to which types of content resonate most with your audience and use this insight to inform your content strategy moving forward.

Last but not least, the Trends tabs is one of my favorites. It lets you stay up to date with upcoming yearly, monthly, seasonal and even growing trends. You can filter your data by keywords, interests, age and gender. It’s awesome to be able to see data as it is up and coming and gives you the ability to stay on top of things. Look for trends and patterns in your audience’s behavior and preferences, as well as gaps in your content strategy that you can fill. Keep an eye on emerging topics and interests within your niche and be proactive about creating content that aligns with these trends to stay ahead of the curve. By leveraging the insights provided by Pinterest Analytics, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience, refine your targeting strategy, and uncover new opportunities to drive success for your brand on Pinterest.

Advanced Strategies for Pinterest Ads

Take your Pinterest Ads to the next level with advanced strategies. This section will explore techniques such as remarketing, lookalike audiences, and A/B testing, enabling you to further optimize your campaigns and achieve exceptional results.

Lookalike audiences: Marketing wouldn’t be marketing without the ability to use the technology platforms have to our advantage. Their algorithms have developed the ability to take our audiences and reach new users who share similar characteristics and interests. Essentially, it’s like finding a group of people who are doppelgangers of your current followers or customers in terms of their behaviors, preferences, and demographics.. For every segment of the funnel that our audience is a part of, there is an audience that the platform will have that looks alike! And so is the birth of the term lookalike audiences. Have about 1,000 people that have purchased from you? Great, you can make a lookalike audience on Pinterest that will now try to find people exactly like your purchasing audience! And so is the case for people who have viewed your site, viewed content and added to cart, etc.

Lookalike audiences on Pinterest are segmented into different percentiles, typically ranging from 1% to 10%. Each percentile represents a different level of similarity to the seed audience. The 1% lookalike audience is the smallest and most closely matched segment. They share a high degree of similarity and are likely to exhibit similar interests, preferences, and demographics. As you begin to move up to the 10% you’ll stray away from how similar the population will be to your seed segment but you’ll also have more reach. If you’d like to reach groups of people that are MOST similar to your seed audience you’ll want to start testing with 1-3% populations.

Retargeting: Retargeting is powerful because it leverages high intent audiences to reconnect with users and drive them towards conversion. By strategically retargeting users based on their past interactions with your brand, you can maximize the impact of your campaigns and achieve better results. Pinterest is a platform where users actively search for inspiration, ideas, and products. This means that users are highly engaged and often in a mindset where they are receptive to discovering new products or revisiting ones they’ve previously shown interest in. Here are some no brainer segments that you should be capitalizing on, you can create these audience segments in the audiences section of your Pinterest dashboard.

  • Page visits
  • Checkout
  • Add to cart
  • View category

You can target these segments with different messaging and based on what it means for your brand and for a user, depending on where they are in the funnel. For example, offering a discount to a user that you feel is on the cusp of converting is a widely practiced technique. On the other side of the spectrum, nurturing your relationships with existing customers is just as important. Develop techniques where you can reward purchasers and build up their brand loyalty.

A/B Testing: It’s not all rainbows and sunshine after you figure out who, what, when, where, why and how you’ll be targeting users. Without trial and error, the likeliness that your campaigns succeed is slim to none. Every test is a chance to learn what worked or what didn’t. It allows opportunity for optimization of for your creatives, messaging, targeting and landing pages to improve 100 times over. The journey never ends, there is ALWAYS opportunity for growth. Here are some aspects of your strategy that you can start split testing to ensure you don’t leave opportunity on the table:

  • Ad Creative: Test different variations of your ad creative, including images, videos, headlines, and descriptions. Experiment with different visual styles, messaging tones, and calls-to-action to see which combinations resonate best with your audience.
  • Pin Descriptions: Test the impact of different pin descriptions on ad performance. Try varying the length, tone, and language of your pin descriptions to see which approaches drive higher engagement and click-through rates.
  • Targeting Options: Experiment with different targeting options, such as interests, keywords, demographics, and audience segments. Test the effectiveness of broad vs. narrow targeting criteria to determine which strategies yield the best results for your campaign objectives.
  • Ad Formats: Test different ad formats, such as Promoted Pins, Promoted Video Pins, Carousel Pins, and Collection Pins. Evaluate the performance of each format in terms of engagement, click-through rate, and conversion rate to identify the most effective format for your goals.
  • Landing Pages: Test the impact of different landing pages on ad performance. Direct users to different landing pages based on their interests or demographics and measure the conversion rate and bounce rate for each page to identify the most effective landing page strategy.
  • Audience Segmentation: Test the effectiveness of different audience segments. Divide your audience into segments based on factors such as past interactions, demographics, or interests, and tailor your ad creative and messaging to each segment to see which segments respond best to your ads.

By systematically testing these variables and analyzing the results, you can gain valuable insights into what resonates most with your audience and optimize your Pinterest advertising campaigns for maximum impact.

ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), Cost Per Action, and Attribution

Understanding ROAS is paramount. This metric measures the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. By closely monitoring ROAS, you can evaluate the profitability of your campaigns and adjust your budget allocation accordingly. Focus on high-performing campaigns and ad groups that consistently deliver a strong ROAS to maximize your return on investment.

Here is a golden nugget for you, the procedure and formula in order to calculate your break-even ROAS. First we must calculate your profit margin. To get this number we need two things, your revenue and your cost of goods. For the sake of this example let’s say your revenue number is $100 (in other words what it retails for). We then need to know what your cost of goods is. This includes all the costs directly associated with producing or acquiring the products or services you’re selling. It typically includes costs such as manufacturing, materials, labor, and shipping. We’ll assign this cost to be $30. When we take your revenue and subtract the cost of goods, we are left with $70 of profit. The formula below puts this into action to give us our break even ROAS.

{REVENUE / (REVENUE – Cost of Goods) =Break Even ROAS}

Plugging in our example gives us: {$100 / ($100-$30) = 1.43}

This gives us the conclusion that in order for your business to at least break even or be profitable, your ROAS must be at 1.43 or over. Anything under that means you are not covering your costs.

The ads manager will give you your ROAS when you set up your metrics. The formula used is:

Next, consider Cost Per Action (CPA), which measures the cost of acquiring a specific action, such as a website visit, sign-up, or purchase. In our case we are discussing purchases. By optimizing your campaigns for a lower CPA, you can increase the efficiency of your advertising spend and drive more valuable actions from your target audience. Experiment with different targeting options, ad formats, and bidding strategies to find the optimal CPA for your campaigns. In the example above we learned that your ROAS could not be below 1.43. This is your primary goal in order to determine the success of your ad dollars but it is always good to look at your CPA as well. If we are basing ourselves on purchases being of a single unit per customer we know that our CPA cannot be higher than $70 for us to be profitable. However, if that same customer purchases 2 units putting us at $200 in revenue, then there is more wiggle room for how much it cost to acquire them. Take the following example:

Customer #1 purchases your product for $100. You spent $70 to acquire that customer giving you a ROAS of 1.43. You broke even because you also spent $30 on your Cost of Goods.

Customer #2 purchases two of your products for $200 but you paid $90 to acquire that customer. You now have a ROAS of {2.22} which puts you in profits.

Looking for ways to increase your top line revenue should be a priority. This is normally done by increasing your average order value, which can be done in several ways. Some of the most popular ways are upsells or bundling products.

Attribution: Attribution modeling is another crucial aspect of campaign optimization on Pinterest. Pinterest offers various attribution models, such as last-click, first-click, or multi-touch attribution, to help you understand how different touchpoints contribute to conversions. By analyzing the customer journey across various touchpoints, you can gain insights into which channels and campaigns are driving the most conversions and adjust your strategy accordingly.

When it comes to attributing sales to your Pinterest ads, you have some flexibility in choosing the attribution model that makes the most sense for your product or sales cycle. Pinterest often recommends using a 30/30/30 attribution model, which gives a 30-day window for both clicks and views to be credited with a sale. However, you might have a different perspective based on your own insights and goals.

Having a longer “days after they click on your ad” setting is important because it allows you to track sales that happen a few days after someone clicks on your ad. This is crucial for understanding the full impact of your ads on conversions over time.

On the other hand, the “days after they view your ad” setting is less critical because it’s harder to determine if a sale can truly be attributed to an ad view. While it’s likely that a user saw your ad at some point during their buying journey, it’s difficult to quantify how much influence that ad had on the final sale, especially if it occurred 30 days ago. It’s unlikely that 100% of the revenue from a sale can be attributed to an ad view, so it’s less of a priority to track this metric closely.


Pinterest Ads offers a unique opportunity for brands to tap into a platform where users actively seek inspiration and ideas. By setting up your account, understanding ad formats, defining your target audience, crafting compelling creative, and optimizing performance through metrics like ROAS and CPA, you can drive meaningful engagement and sales. Leveraging Pinterest Analytics and advanced strategies like retargeting and A/B testing further enhances campaign effectiveness. Ultimately, mastering Pinterest Ads requires strategic planning, creative execution, and continuous optimization to unlock growth opportunities and drive success for your brand.

Running a business can get busy, if you’d like assistance in managing or setting up your campaign, get in touch with us to see how we can help you grow.