Pinterest for eCommerce: How to Use Pinterest Advertising

Max Engler
February 23, 2021

Pinterest is no longer a platform that your business can brush aside. Instead, the platform should be viewed as a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. 

Don’t believe us? We’ll walk through why your e-commerce business should be on Pinterest, and how you can use the platform to boost sales and engagement. Let’s get started!


Why Pinterest?

Over the last few years, Pinterest has been rapidly gaining popularity as a social media platform. So much so that, according to Statistica, Pinterest advertising spend topped over $1B in 2019. 

In 2020, that number grew by nearly $400M. In Q4 of 2020, Pinterest had a whopping 459 million monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide. 

98 Million of those MAUs were from the United States. That’s only 40 million U.S. MAUs behind Instagram (currently coming in at 140 million). 


Pinterest for eCommerce: Advertising Best Practices

When it comes to actually using Pinterest advertising, the process must be treated completely separate from advertising on Facebook & Instagram. 

Best practices, campaign setup, targeting, creative, and ad delivery should all be treated differently on Pinterest compared to other social platforms. 

We’ll walk through the essentials to ensure your Pinterest advertising account is set up for success. 


  1. Branded Creative

Yes, you heard that right! Unlike Facebook & Instagram advertising, it’s highly recommended to include branding (and text) on your Pinterest ad photos. 

Ensuring that your profile and pins are branded shows the user that you’re an active business, welcoming pinners across the world to discover your brand. 

97% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded, showing that users are open-minded and looking beyond the brands they already know. This gives your business a great opportunity to be discovered by new audiences.

ikea pinterest branded ad

The IKEA pins showcased above are a stellar example of branded pins. Your eyes are quickly drawn to the logo, while the copy overlayed communicates effectively and quickly to the pinner the benefits of their products with a catchy call-to-action. 

As a tip, make sure to not include your brand logo in the bottom right corner of the pin, as it will be covered by an overlaid Pinterest feature. 


  1. Get Ahead of Your Users

Pinterest users are shown to begin research for gifts, products, and more months before the event takes place.

search trends on pinterest

Looking at the graphic above, you can see that searches for Mother’s Day begin around February, and spike in March & April. This completely differs from what we see on other platforms. Across Search & Social, consumer attention and influence of purchasing decision happens weeks if not days ahead of the purchase. On Pinterest, that happens months before.

shopper's journey trends pinterest

It’s imperative that Pinterest creative for seasonal holidays start running months before the event date. Don’t expect to see purchases immediately, as this will be an upper-funnel approach to engage with pinners: having them save your products, visit your website and truly discover your brand. 


  1. Build a Profile that Promotes Engagement & Sharing

Pins were designed to be shared, and your company’s Pinterest page should be no different.

When brands begin to interact, follow, and engage with users on their account it has the potential for users to feel a unique connection to your business, building loyalty and trust that keeps them coming back. 

A few ways your company Pinterest page can promote engagement include:

  • Responding to messages from users 

  • Liking and commenting on other’s content

  • Creating engaging posts for a giveaway that promotes the sharing of your pin

Another easy way to promote engagement on your Pinterest board is to add the “Save” button to your Shopify store. That way users can save the blog, product, or article they were viewing on your site directly to their Pinterest account. 

  1. Join the Verified Merchant Program

This program is provided by Pinterest, and is a way for users to feel safer buying from vetted brands. Aside from additional brand trust, the Verified Merchant Program also provides several different benefits to businesses. Some of these benefits include:

  • Allows Pins to appear organically to people who are searching for products & shopping on Pinterest.

  • A blue checkmark on your profile and Pins 

  • A Shop tab on your profile making it seamless for users to discover your products. 

  • Price and availability information on all your products 

  • Early access to Conversion Insights tool 

Ikea Pinterest Profile


The requirements to become a Verified Merchant are simple and shouldn’t take long to set up prior to applying. 


  • Connect your product feed to Pinterest 

  • Install the Pinterest tag

  • Meet Pinterest Merchant Guidelines 


  1. Test both Promoted & Buyable Pins

As is the case with any digital marketing platform, it’s important to test different ad types to see what will work best for your business. 

Promoted Pins

Promoted Pins appear in the home feed, as well as the search results, similarly to an organic pin. With Promoted Pins, you can set the targeting as well as the desired objective for traffic, engagement, conversions, etc. but we recommend using promoted pins for traffic & engagement. 

promoted pin pinterest

Aside from being labeled as Promoted, these pins behave the way other Pins do– other users can share, comment, and re-pin to their boards. A hidden secret about Promoted Pins, once someone shares the Pin, that “promoted” label is removed and all subsequent Pins garner exposure for “free”. 


Buyable Pin

Buyable Pins look similar to Promoted Pins, with the main difference being the ability to tag products within your Buyable Pin. 

buyable pin pinterest

Buyable pins allow users to shop + purchase the product directly from the pin. This type of pin is crucial for e-commerce businesses and provides a seamless purchase experience Users are able to receive product information, pricing, and other important information for making their purchase decision. 

Looking to get started on Pinterest? We helped our clients receive over a 6x ROAS in Q4 2020. Let your story be the newest success! Contact Perfect Search today.

Max Engler
Manager, Search & Social Advertising

Max Engler is a Minnetonka, Minnesota native who trekked to Indiana University for college. When he’s not working in digital marketing, Max enjoys researching and reselling men’s clothing. He nerds out over the different label designs on the back of T-shirts.

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