The Ultimate Pinterest Ads Guide

The buzz around Pinterest ads is growing, and if you’re haven’t tried them yet, now is the perfect time to get involved. Why? 

Because, thanks to Apple’s 2021 iOS14 update – which made it harder to reach new audiences via traditional routes – savvy advertisers have started to look for new ways to capture buyers, and Pinterest provides the answer.

What I love about Pinterest ads is that they can be tailored to meet your audience wherever they are on their buying journey – from the top of funnel awareness stage right through to those people eager to ‘buy now.’

So, are you ready to jump into Pinterest ads and create a new revenue stream for your eCommerce business?

Great. I’ve put together this guide to talk you through each step.  Let’s get started!

What is a Pinterest ad?

Pinterest ads, also known as promoted pins, are image or video ads found on the Pinterest platform.  

The goal of a promoted pin is to fit so seamlessly into a pinner’s feed that they don’t even notice it’s there! In Pinterest’s own words promoted pins help you to ‘Stand out by fitting in.’

Advertisers can create promoted pins from existing pins or by building new ads in Pinterest Ads Manager. Purpose build ads tend to perform better and will give you more bang for your buck.

Why choose Pinterest ads?

Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest isn’t a social media platform, it’s actually a visual search engine.

That means people use it to plan, discover and dream rather than to connect and chat with friends and family.

And brands love it because it’s by far the best platform for driving organic traffic to their websites.   

Which begs the question; If Pinterest is so great for organic traffic, why bother advertising at all?

Well, as with all advertising, promoted pins allow you to show up in front of your ideal customers more quickly than would be possible organically.

How much do Pinterest ads cost?

One reason so many businesses are looking to Pinterest ads is that they’re so much cheaper than other ad platforms.

The Pinterest ad platform is still new-ish in the ad world. This means there’s less competition to advertise and the prices are lower.

Although prices always increase at certain times of year – such as Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas – some businesses report their costs are half for the same exposure they’d have on a platform such as Facebook.

If you are advertising in the UK, you could start for as little as £10 a day.

Are Pinterest ads worth it?

Absolutely! But then you’d expect me to say that. Here’s what you need to know.

Pinners predominantly use the platform to get inspiration for all sorts of things including home interiors, fitness, travel, cookery and crafting. 

They’re actively looking for information and products that can help them answer their questions, solve their problems and make their dreams come true.

So, unlike the social media platforms where ads can feel out of place or even unwelcome, Pinterest is the opposite. People want to discover new things, and that’s great news for your ecomm business.

The gender split on Pinterest in pretty equal too. Around 60% of users are women and 40% are men. 

It’s estimated that, at present, around 77% of ad revenue is being spent targeting female audiences. So, if you target men the good news is there’s a huge untapped market waiting to hear from you. 

My view is, if your audience is on Pinterest (clue: your competitors are there and using promoted pins) and you have the budget, you should definitely give them a try.

Pinterest ads are a long game

Because Pinners use the site to research and plan for big life events such as weddings and once-in-a-lifetime holidays, they aren’t always going to be in buying mode straight away.

For advertisers, this has its pros and cons. On the plus side, you can find audiences and become part of their buying journey right from the off. They’re looking to you for inspiration and aspiration.

The downside is it could be months – or even years – before they actually buy anything from you. 

So, while fast sales aren’t impossible, they’re less likely on Pinterest than on other platforms. This is something you should factor into your decision-making process.

Setting up your Pinterest ads UK

Now you’ve decided that Pinterest ads are right for your product-based business, it’s time to set up your ads.

Before you get started you’ll need to: 

  • Get a business Pinterest account. Once this has been set up, you’ll automatically have a Pinterest Ad account. See how here.


  • Install the Pinterest Tag, including event codes, on your website. Look at these steps.
    Integrate with Shopify (if this applies to you). Here are the steps for that too. 


  • To make sure everything’s set up properly, download my free ‘Getting Started with Pinterest Ads’ tutorial and workbook?

Free 'Getting Started With Pinterest Ads' Tutorial & Workbook

By downloading the Free 'Getting Started with Pinterest Ads' Tutorial, you’re also signing up to receive my regular email and the occasional offer.

If that’s not your thing, no problem. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link inside the newsletters.

Know your goals

There are five different campaign types on Pinterest. Each will deliver a different outcome so it’s important to choose the right one for your goals. They are: 

  • Brand Awareness
  • Video Views 
  • Consideration (formerly Traffic)
  • Conversions
  • Catalogue Sales 

If you run an eCommerce business, start by focusing on Considerations and Conversions.

If it’s your first ad campaign, run Consideration ads for a minimum of two weeks before switching to Conversion or Catalogue ads.  

This allows Pinterest to target your ads more accurately to people who have shown an interest in your keywords and interests.

Conversion ads are generally cheaper on Pinterest. I rarely recommend running them in isolation but I’m also a believer in trying new strategies to see what works for your business.

Setting up your ad in Pinterest Ad Manager

First, you will need to access your Pinterest Ad account.  To do this:

  • Click ‘Ads’ at the top of your business account homepage
Screenshot of Pinterest business account top bar with 'Ads' option pointed at with red arrow
  • Click ‘Create ad’
Pinterest Business Account homepage with 'Ads' drop down menu selected and a big red arrow pointing at the option 'create ad'
  • You will now see this screen:

Screenshot of a new campaign in Pinterest Ads manager
  • Select the Consideration objective (for now)

Unlike Facebook ads, you can’t run Conversion ads straight away, even if you’ve been active organically on Pinterest. 

This is because Pinterest is a young platform and needs to be fed as much data as possible to learn who to show your ads to.  

If you have an active account, you can run a Consideration campaign for two to three weeks before switching to Conversions. 

For a brand new account, you’ll need three to four weeks minimum. This is why my minimum contracts for management differ depending on whether you are active on Pinterest or not.

  • Research keywords used to search for your products (you need 75 to start) 

If you’ve been running your Pinterest account organically for a while, this is where you’re at an advantage.  

You’ll have already done your keyword research and can apply this to your ads. If keywords are new for you, check out these pointers from Pinterest.

  • Pick four or five interests 

Now it’s time to pick your interests. Again, if you’ve been active organically, you’ll be able to pick these out from your historical data.  

If you’re new to ads, pick four or five you think fit your customer preferences. For example, a homewares business may pick ‘home and garden’ and ‘design’ as two of its interests.

  • Check audience size is 5million+ (for UK market)

On Pinterest, the key is to keep your audiences broad. This gives Pinterest more data to work with to find your people.  

Remember, Pinterest’s user behaviour is different from other platforms. Users may only visit once a week or every couple of days so Pinterest has less opportunity to show your ads to them.

  • Create pins for your ads 

Now you need to create two or three pins for your ads. Create a few variations using a mix of lifestyle imagery (your products being used) as well as studio imagery. 

Upload this imagery to your Pinterest account.

  • Add your payment details

Finally, make sure you’ve added payment details to your ad account. That’s it. You’re ready to go!

Tracking your ads

Once your ads are up and running, it’s important to know how well they’re performing. Here are the important metrics to watch:


Make sure Pinterest is using all of your daily budget. If it’s not, you should consider tweaking your targeting.

Click-through rate (CTR) 

If your CTR falls below 0.5% there could be a problem with your imagery. It might not be not grabbing your audience’s attention.

Return on ad spend (ROAS)

This tells you how much money your ads are making. If you spend £5 and make back £10, your ROAS is 2X. A ROAS of 1 means you’ve broken even.

Cost per click (CPC)

This figure will show you how much it’s costing you to get people through to your website. 

Cost per acquisition (CPA) 

Your CPA tells you how much you’ve paid for one sale.

Cost per 1000 impressions (CPM)

This is how much you’ve paid to show your ads 1000 times. This does not mean 1000 different people have seen your ad. The same people might have seen it multiple times. 

Frequency – how many times your ads are seen

Keep an eye on this one to make sure people aren’t being served your ads too often. Your ads will get more expensive as the frequency goes up. Ideally, you want to keep it at around one or two for conversion campaigns.

Order Value 

This is the amount your customers spend as a result of seeing your ad. It’s important to know this figure because, if the order value is less than your ad spend, you’ll be making a loss.


Whoop whoop, this is how many sales you’ve made.

What does ‘optimising’ a Pinterest ad mean?

Optimising your ads means you monitor which ads are performing best in your campaigns and removing those with less engagement or clicks.

You should only do this after 14 days because you need to give Pinterest time to gather data and show your ads to enough people to decide which are performing best.

After that, you should optimise them about once a week.

As tempting as it may be to pause your ads if they haven’t achieved many clicks or sales after a day or so, this is the worst thing you can do.  

Pinterest needs time to work. People don’t spend as much time on the platform as they do on social media sites, so it will take longer for Pinterest to find your target audience and show them your ads.

3 things to check when optimising your Pinterest ads

  1. Your ads are not spending your whole daily ad budget.  You may need to broaden your targeting or switch your interests and keywords.
  2. Your Click Through Rate (CTR) is under 0.50%. A low CTR indicates that the creative is not resonating with your audience. You may need to test new creative.
  3. You’ve combined static image ads with video ads. Pinterest will prioritise the video ads in your campaign so your static image ads will not get enough exposure. You may interpret this that the creative is poor but actually Pinterest showed it less.


I love working with Pinterest ads because they offer ecommerce businesses so many exciting opportunities.

They’re great for building brand awareness and are powerful because they’re so visual. 

But, best of all, Pinterest is a great platform to sell on because people don’t feel like they’re being sold to.

People are there to learn and be inspired and, by paying to share your products with them, that’s exactly what you’re doing.  

In short, Pinterest Ads are gold dust for ecomm brands and I highly recommend you give them a try.

Need a hand setting up or managing your Pinterest ads? Or maybe you’d like an expert to look over your account and help you improve your promoted pins? If yes, drop me a message today.