Promoted Pins

I recently heard some CPG experts debating how consumers look for products. We did a survey on this years ago and found that most of the shoppers we surveyed just Googled the name of the product they wanted, but times have changed. The CPG experts thought consumers would go to their ecommerce Big Box site of choice — Amazon,, Sephora, and so on — and some people do that. But increasingly, the shopper’s search engine of choice is Pinterest.

Pinterest users are a large group. There are 70 million of them, including 42% of all adult American women who use the internet and 13% of all men of the same description. Guys check out tires on Pinterest, women look for clothes, and everyone looks for inspiration.

Pinterest is now offering promoted pins. They’ve recently partnered with a service that shows “picked for you” pins rather than just pins from boards you follow, and they’ve updated their search function. These two steps mean that pinners are getting used to giving up some control over their feeds. The time is ripe for promoted pins.

If you haven’t yet been offered the chance to promote pins, you’ll need to make sure your Pinterest account is classified as a business and then get on the wait list. After a week or so, you’ll get suggestions from Pinterest to get you started.

Log into your account, choose a pin to promote, and decide just who to show your pin to. Here you see a pin being set up for one of our clients, Koru Naturals, a company specializing in natural health and beauty products from New Zealand. The product pin is one suggested by Pinterest, and that’s not a bad way to start.

Once you’ve chosen a pin to promote, the next  step is to choose the search terms, or keywords, you want to use. These will be the things pinners type into the search bar, and Pinterest will make suggestions here, too.


Pinterest lets you pick a gender and locations next, narrowing in the focus of your campaign even just to your own town if you’re a local business or you want to reach a particular population.


Finally, you’ll create a campaign, decide what you’re willing to pay per click, and set up billing. At this point, promoted pins don’t have enough of a track record to make a bid obvious. If you’re happy with your cost per click budget at Facebook or Adwords, start with that. Doing so will also give you a good basis for comparison.


If you haven’t tried CPC before, you can also have a look at your Pinterest analytics. See the screenshot below if you need help finding them.  This will give you an idea of how many clicks you’re currently getting and, if you connect the data with your web analytics and sales information, let you get a sense of budget and conversion rate.


Koru Naturals has an amazing beer and honey soap for men that’s designed to clean face, body, and hair. It’s a no-water bar, easy to take camping, and very eco-friendly, so we’re doing a Pinterest board that combines scenic and sports photos with this product, called “Great Places to Use Your Everything Bar.”


Almost every pin links to the sales page for the product, so we could create a campaign using a selection of these pins for Valentine’s Day. Not only do we have photos of handsome men and beautiful scenery, but we also take the aspirational nature of Pinterest into account. People who share pins showing people climbing, biking, camping, and taking road trips may not do those things themselves. They may just be expressing their desire to be the kind of person who does those things… or to date the kind of guy who does. Pins like these appeal to people’s idea of themselves even if they’re not into adventuring in daily life. Chances of sharing are good.

We set up the audience and search terms filters to reach women looking for Valentine’s Day gifts for guys. The terms are things like “valentines day gifts for men” and “valentines day gifts for guys.” Pinterest also suggested “anniversary gifts,” and we added some general “gifts for men” and “gifts for boyfriends” terms.


Tell Pinterest how long you want your campaign to run, and let it go. Then watch your analtyics — at Pinterest, as well as your web analytics, POS data, and all other sources — closely to see what kind of results you get. This will give you a baseline for future performance as well as insights into what aspect of your campaign might need tweaking and what you definitely want to repeat for a future campaign.






Leave a Reply