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Pinterest Advertising: 12 Do’s and Don’ts

Using promoted pins on Pinterest is a great advertising channel. It’s one of the most popular social media platforms (consistently in the top 5), and you should take full advantage.

Pinterest is different from other social media platforms, but shares a lot of similarities in the marketing world. The information that is shared is different than Twitter or Facebook in that it’s almost entirely visuals. Words are secondary.

One of the main similarities is in the way that you buy ads. Pinterest uses the bid and demographic targeting system that many other web properties use. It’s not identical to Facebook, but the concept is similar. Regardless, there are a few different rules and best practices you need to know.

Here are 12 Do’s and Don’ts for advertising on Pinterest:

Do… Think Long-term

When advertising on Pinterest, there can be a strong draw to just create ads that generate clicks. However, you need to think a little bit larger if you want to get the best bang for your buck. Your ad should not only generate clicks, but it should also be pinned and shared by others – which will generate more clicks. Your goal should be clicks AND getting it shared. Don’t just focus on the immediate results. Think about the results several pins down the line.

Don’t… Use Horizontal Images

Pinterest limits the size of horizontal images. You want to avoid them if you can. The platform is really built for vertical images. If you want to maximize screen space, go vertical all the way. This isn’t always easy if your product lends itself to a horizontal shot, but there are ways you can convert horizontal pics to vertical ones for Pinterest. You can use horizontal, but you’ll be that weird kid at the dance if you do.

Do… Monitor Campaigns

Keep a close eye on your campaigns. You’ll want to know when something is working and something isn’t. Things change fast in the world of fashion. You want to be relevant all the time. This is the best part about online channels of advertising. You can monitor things in real time, and pull the plug on things that don’t work. Keep tweaking until you hit a home run.

Do… Use Keywords in Targeting Options

Keywords are great. Pinterest allows you to use up to 150 of them. This may seem like a great idea. Many businesses fill up all 150 and call it a day. After all, more keywords will equal more traffic, right? For sure. But you want the right traffic. You want your ad to be the most relevant possible. Choosing highly targeted keywords will deliver the right consumer, rather than spamming 150 different ones. You’ll see your conversion rate go up by being selective.

Don’t… Use a Call to Action in Your Visuals

Visuals are the bread and butter of Pinterest. It’s what makes your pin sharable, or stale. If you start tossing CTA’s into the image, it’s no better than a flyer. Who wants to pin a flyer? Also, CTA’s in the image won’t be approved anyway. Use the visual to its achieve its desired goal: grabbing people’s attention.

Don’t… Set it and Forget It

Much like monitoring, you don’t want to leave a successful ad to just run while you go off ship products. It will get stale and become less effective. It’s hard to say exactly when, but you will reach critical mass. You should always be doing split testing to see what works, what’s stale and what you can improve upon.

Do… Include A Call to Action

In the description of your pin, you’ll want to include a call to action. Unfortunately, Pinterest has rules against direct calls to action, so you’ll need to be subtle and not be too sales-oriented. This is a good thing – it actually makes your ad less like a sales pitch and more like a helpful tip. Use CTA’s like “learn more” or “See the entire collection” or “get a free sample”.

Don’t… Send Them to a Landing Page

This is tough to understand at first. Everything in the digital marketing world is telling you that this is exactly what you need to do. However, Pinterest is different. It’s a small snapshot of what you do. You should be linking people to where they can find out more about who you are and what you offer. Not just a direct link to a sales page about that product.

Do… Target your Demographic

Targeting your demo is all about choosing the right people to promote your ad to. It’s also about creating the best description and image for that demo. If you’re not a great writer, you can use one of the services on this list. The Pinterest demographic tool will make sure your ad is shown to the right people – but the messaging you provide will be what resonates with them.

Don’t… Redirect your Promoted Pin

Whatever URL you use, you need to use the accurate and full URL. If you try to redirect the page your pin links to, Pinterest will shut your ad down. It also isn’t a great experience for the end user. Pinterest wants the process to be straightforward, and so does the user. You should want this too.

Do… Be Aggressive when Bidding

If you’re used to AdWords or Facebook bidding, you may think Pinterest is a higher priced service. However, your ad has a chance to get way more organic growth than AdWords. You only pay for the clicks you get, so be aggressive when you start. Don’t be afraid. You’ll see that as the campaign moves along, your costs are actually quite low. Don’t sit back and wait for the right pricing – go get what you need. Once you see the actual cost, you can measure the results, and adjust accordingly.

Don’t… Use Hashtags

Ugh. If you want your ad to look like spam, use hashtags. They’re not real big on Pinterest, and are a great way to get people to ignore your ad. Even though Pinterest allows them, hashtags are more of a Twitter thing. Just avoid them. They’re not in style.

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