• Plaban Bagchi

How Brands Should Use Pinterest for the Holidays



Ask and you shall discover

Pinterest is both an “answer engine” and a “discovery engine.” .While I may search for ‘Vince Sweaters’ and get the answer I’m looking for: a display of this season’s fall sweater line by Vince, I may also stumble upon a similar-looking sweater from a different brand at a significantly lower price point. Hence the ‘discovery’ aspect.

A place where brands fit in

Unlike all other social media platforms, Pinterest is a welcome place for brands. While a well-produced ad can get positive feedback on Facebook or Instagram, a lot of what brands put into those platforms is invasive and unwanted.

Not unlike the other platforms, Pinterest ads must be done right to serve their purpose. But the majority of content on Pinterest comes from brands, and users take no issue with it. This is because users are typically searching pinterest with intent. But more on this later. First, we’re going to jump into some Promoted Pin hits and misses.


Fit in without blending in

Just like on Facebook, your Homepage on Pinterest is tailored to your specific taste and behavior. A typical mix of content on my Homepage these days can feature home decor, fall fashion, beauty tips, and dogs. The screenshot below features all of these in both organic and promoted posts.


When it comes to advertising on Pinterest, it’s not a matter of blending in. Of course you don’t want a user to scroll past your ad. The ideal ad doesn’t look like branded content but also is relevant, eye catching, and visually pleasing. Casper and Honest Beauty do this successfully with their two ads.


A quick note on sizing

We wouldn’t want to give you advice on aesthetic without mentioning image sizing. The optimal image size for a Pin is 600px wide x 900px high. Since Pins are organized into columns, vertical Pins take up more space, and the 600 x 900 size is ideal so that the Pin doesn’t get cut off. Feel free to download our social media ad sizes cheat sheet to keep this and other ad image sizes on hand whenever you need them.


Be careful to avoid over-branding

Beauty products and makeup tutorials are often among top searched topics on Pinterest, so Honest Beauty was able to advertise their brand without displaying a product shot and getting lost in the clutter.

Pillsbury also is a Pinterest-friendly brand, as people constantly visit the site to search for recipes. The screenshot below shows an ad from Pillsbury that doesn’t look much like the other content in my feed. This is the invasiveness we referenced earlier. There’s no need to slap a logo on a Pin to get noticed. In fact, eyes are likely to glaze over when encountering a large logo on Pinterest.

In this case, the ad could have done without the logo, label, and copy. It’s important that people know content is coming from your brand, but be careful not to over-brand. We think the photograph linking to the Thanksgiving pie recipe page on the Pillsbury website would have sufficed.


Circling back on search intent

Earlier we mentioned search intent, which we consider Pinterest’s greatest advantage over other social media platforms when it comes to brands. We covered the topic with our earlier example of Vince sweaters. If you work for a company that makes sweaters, your ad will be relevant to people looking for fall fashion, fresh outfit inspiration, and searching specifically for sweaters. The common theme here is that people are searching with intent. In other words, at the end of their web searching sesh, they’ll likely purchase a sweater.


This is why branded content on Pinterest has such a huge advantage over that on other platforms. It removes the hurdle of convincing people they may need your product and goes right to the easy part: showcasing why your product is the best. Search intent is simple enough to understand, but the trick is to keep it top-of-mind when creating ads.


Video ads

Pinterest debuted video ads in August. The ads have sound, providing a great opportunity for tutorials. More importantly, though, Pinners have the ability to purchase directly from the Pin with six Buyable Pins beneath each video. According to Pinterest, 67% of Pinners say the new video ads have inspired them to take action.


As is common with premature advertising opportunities, Pinterest’s video ads come at a high price point. But the great news is that Pinterest is making it easier for brands to market and for users to purchase on the platform. We predict that the cost will lower when Pinterest focuses on making video ads more mainstream.


A little about the audience

Most people know that Pinterest is made up of a mostly female, mostly young adult audience. We’re throwing in some demographic information here because the stats have evolved over the past couple years, and we want to emphasize the importance of focusing on your audience when creating ads.


Looking beyond the numbers, it’s important to know the types of people who are using Pinterest. Pinners are planners, creators, organizers, idea makers, and shoppers. Think on this when creating advertisements on Pinterest. Your ad should in some way inspire, delight, or make a Pinner’s life easier.


The Pinterest customer journey

Pinterest is extremely advanced in its ability to target people at different points of the buyer journey. An advertiser can target people in the awareness stage (CPM), the intent stage (CPE – cost per engagement), and the conversion stage (CPC). Check out the different targeting tactics Pinterest makes available for different stages of the buyer journey below.


Awareness stage

People are attracted through two paths in the awareness phase of the funnel: keywords and interests Keywords are used to reach shoppers in Search and Related Pins Interests are used to reach shoppers in their Home and Category Feeds


Intent stage

Advertisers have the ability to target audiences on Pinterest. You can target site visitors, CRM contacts, Actalikes, etc. to capture people in the intent phase of the purchase funnel


Conversion stage

Buyable Pins (including video Pins) target users with intent to purchase

Explore the possibilities of your brand.

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