Pinterest advertising in 2024: Your guide

Pinterest advertising is a great way to get your message out there. But how much does it cost, what are the ad formats, and what should you avoid?

Using Pinterest advertising

Advertising is a crucial part of social media, and Pinterest is no different. Whether you’re a freelancer, enterprise, or somewhere in the middle, you’ll probably find value in Pinterest ads. Let’s go through the key details today. 

We'll cover:

What are Pinterest ads and what do they do?

Pinterest ads are paid-for posts – or ‘Pins,’ as they’re officially called – that advertise a product or service to users on the platform. As Pinterest is a visual platform, advertising focuses on image and video. These ads come in various shapes and sizes, which we’ll discuss shortly.

Looking at Pinterest ads

Why should you advertise on Pinterest?

Pinterest is more than a social media platform – people go there with the specific intent to browse and buy. Sure, it’s a hub for inspiration and discovery, but the focus lies heavily on taking that purchase journey further.

For that reason, retail brands using Pinterest ads rake in double the return on ad spend than they would on other social media platforms. Pinners – that’s what Pinterest users call themselves – are also seven times more likely to say Pinterest is their most influential platform for purchase decisions.

Should you advertise on Instagram or Pinterest?

Advertising on Instagram has its appeal, but Pinterest ads are cheaper on average. We get why people might to-and-fro between Pinterest and Insta, because they’re both visual-heavy platforms.

However, Pinterest presents you with customers who're more primed to purchase. It won’t be right for every ad campaign, but it certainly makes this platform worth considering. 

What are the different types of Pinterest ads?

There’s a whole bunch of different Pinterest ad formats and specifications. Let’s take a look and figure out which is right for your campaign.

Using Pinterest ads

Standard ads

The old reliable. Standard ads feature just one image, and given that Pinterest is largely image-based, this option isn’t the worst idea in the world. It blends in, and if you nail the spec and make it pop, it’ll lead people closer to purchase. 

Standard ads look the same as regular Pins – the only difference is they feature a ‘Promoted by’ tag next to your brand’s name. 

Let’s take a look at the specifications for standard ads:

  • Device: Desktop via PinBuilder for Ads, bulk editor, or during a campaign setup in Pinterest Ads Manager
  • Creation options: Paid and organic campaigns
  • File type: PNG or JPEG
  • Maximum file size: 20MB in-browser, 32MB in-app
  • Aspect ratio: 2:3
  • Title: Maximum 100 characters
  • Description: Maximum 500 characters 

Shopping ads 

Shopping ads show one image, allowing Pinners to buy products they’ve found on Pinterest. They’re packing a handy ‘Buy’ button, which can take users to complete their purchase in-platform, or to a third-party site. If your brand uses Shopify, you’ll be able to leverage the former option, keeping the transaction user-friendly and within Pinterest’s walls. 

Luckily, the specifications for shopping ads are the same as regular image ads.

Using Pinterest ads

Standard-width video ads

While people think of Pinterest as an image-first platform, it’s awash with video. Standard-width video ads could work a treat – they’re the same size as regulars Pins, so will sit nicely next to in-feed content. 

Video ads are ideal for brands with a lot to offer. You could use a video ad rather than a carousel or collections ad, hitting viewers with everything all at once. Video ads also allow the use of music, which can give your Pinterest ads that extra slice of character. 

Here are the specifications for standard-width video ads on Pinterest:

  • Device: Desktop via PinBuilder for Ads, bulk editor, or during a campaign setup in Pinterest Ads Manager
  • Creation options: Paid and organic campaigns
  • File type: MP4, MOV, or M4V
  • Video encoding: H.264 or H.265
  • Maximum file size: 2GB
  • Video length: Minimum 4 seconds, maximum 15 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: Shorter than 1.2, taller than 1:91:1
  • Title: Maximum 100 characters
  • Description: Maximum 500 characters 

Need some music for your Pinterest video ads? We’ve got you covered. Check out our catalog below.

Now, let’s keep this show on the road. More ads! 

Maximum-width video ads

Maximum-width video ads are created similarly to standard-width, but they hog the entirety of a viewer’s feed. 

Let’s dig into the details for maximum-width video ads on Pinterest:

  • Device: Desktop via PinBuilder for Ads, bulk editor, or during a campaign setup in Pinterest Ads Manager
  • Creation options: Paid campaigns
  • File type: MP4, MOV, or M4V
  • Video encoding: H.264 or H.265
  • Maximum file size: 2GB
  • Video length: Minimum 4 seconds, maximum 15 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Title: Maximum 100 characters
  • Description: Maximum 500 characters 
Going through Pinterest ads

Idea ads

Idea ads cram in a mix of videos, images, lists, and custom text, all in a single Pin. They comprise multiple pages, allowing users to flick through them like they would an Instagram Story. For that reason, they’re great for ‘how-to’ or product demo content.  

Pinterest says these ads receive nine times more engagement than regular Pins – why not get involved and see what all the fuss is about? 

The specs for Pinterest idea ads are as follows:

  • Device: Desktop or mobile via the Pin creation tool, or during a campaign setup in Pinterest Ads Manager
  • Creation options: Paid and organic campaigns
  • File type: BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, or WEBP for images; and MP4, MOV, and MV4 for video 
  • Video encoding: H.264 or H.265
  • Recommended file size: 16MB for Android and iOS, 20MB for web images, and 100MB for videos 
  • Video length: Between 3 seconds and a minute 
  • Aspect ratio: No larger than 1:1
  • Title: Maximum 100 characters
  • On-page text: Maximum 250 characters 
  • Safe zones: Place content within the blue lines, or the following dimensions, to guarantee that Pinners can view your ad no matter which device they’re using: top, 270 px; left, 65 px; right, 195 px; bottom, 790 px.
Looking at different Pinterest ad rates

Carousel ads are commonplace on platforms like Instagram and Facebook nowadays, allowing users to swipe through multiple images as part of a wider catalog. 

It’s the same deal on Pinterest, giving you a golden opportunity to spotlight a product range or item in use. 

Check out the details for carousel ads:

  • Device: Desktop via PinBuilder for Ads, bulk editor, or during a campaign setup in Pinterest Ads Manager
  • Creation options: Paid and organic campaigns
  • File type: PNG or JPEG
  • Maximum file size: 20MB per image
  • Amount of images: Between 2 and 5 images
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 2:3
  • Title: Maximum 100 characters
  • Description: Maximum 500 characters 

Collections ads

Collections ads appear as one larger image above several smaller assets – they’re similar to carousel ads, but clearly spotlight one hero image above the rest. The hero image can also be a video, which makes these ads stand apart from carousels. 

Looking at Pinterest ads

The specs for collections ads are as follows:

  • Device: Desktop via PinBuilder for Ads, bulk editor, or during a campaign setup in Pinterest Ads Manager
  • Creation options: Paid and organic campaigns
  • File type: PNG or JPEG for images; MP4, MOV, or M4V for video
  • Maximum file size: 20MB per image, 2GB for video
  • Video length: Minimum 4 seconds, maximum 15 minutes 
  • Amount of images/video: 1 hero image or video, with between 3 and 24 secondary images. 
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 2:3 for images; shorter than 1:2 and taller than 1:91:1 for hero videos
  • Title: Maximum 100 characters
  • Description: Maximum 500 characters

Are Pinterest ads pay-per-click?

There’s no set pay-per-click price for Pinterest ads, as they work auction-style. On average, you can expect to pay between:

  • $0.10 to $1.50 per click
  • $0.10 to $1.50 per engagement 
  • $2 to $5 per 1,000 impressions

It’s worth noting that these prices are averages. How much you spend on Pinterest ads depends on factors like the audience and keywords you’re targeting, location, the desired outcome of your Pinterest ad campaign, and more. 

Using Pinterest ads

How long should you run Pinterest ads for?

If you’re advertising on Pinterest, you’re playing the long game. Sure, people head to the platform with the intent to research and purchase, but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy advertised products on a whim. 

If it figures into your budget, it’s best to leave your campaigns running on Pinterest for at least a few weeks. You’ll struggle to see results if you blast users with a week’s worth of ads, then disappear – try a month, if you can. Then, collect your data, see what worked and what didn’t, and base your next campaign’s length on those results. 

How do you create Pinterest ads?

Now that we’ve looked at what Pinterest ads are, why you should use them, and how much they cost, we’d may as well learn how to create them. Let’s take a look, step-by-step – for simplicity, these instructions are for in-browser. 

1. Create a Pinterest business account

Before you do anything, you’ll need to create a Pinterest business account. It’s free to do so, and relatively straightforward. Head over here to get started, and remember: sign up with your existing Pinterest account if you’d like to link it to your business activity, or use another email address if you’d rather keep them separate. 

Looking at Pinterest ads

2. Create an ad and choose your objective

Once you’re signed up with a business account, an ‘Ads’ section should appear at the top of your screen. Click on it, then select ‘Create ad’ from the drop-down menu. You’ll be presented with five campaign objectives, which determine what kind of ads you’ll run and how you'll bid in the ad auction. 

The different objectives are:

  • Brand awareness: This helps introduce your business to a new audience, putting ads in front of as many people as possible. These campaigns are charged per 1,000 impressions. 
  • Video views: Similar to brand awareness, video views campaigns are all about getting eyeballs on your business – in this case, on your videos. They’re also charged per 1,000 impressions.
  • Consideration: These campaigns are traffic-based, and are pay-per-click. All of these options are, in some way, traffic-based – consideration campaigns just make it the main goal.
  • Conversions: These campaigns are geared around a specific action on your website. For example, your ad could prompt people to sign up for a membership on your website, subscribe to a service, leave a review, and so on. Ads in this category employ a special tracking code that adjusts your campaign’s targets based on performance.
  • Catalog sales: These campaigns are specifically for Shopping Pins, used to promote your inventory with Shopify. 

3. Fill out your basic campaign details

You’ll be prompted to name your campaign. Give it an obvious, clear title that’ll make sense to you and other people later down the line. You’ll also be able to set your campaign’s budget  – weekly or lifetime – and schedule at this stage.

Looking at Pinterest ads

4. Set your targeting details

Next, you’ll create ad groups for your campaign. Once you’ve done this, you can select targeting details for each specific ad group. 

For targeting, you can either ‘Reconnect with users’ or ‘Find new customers.’ Whichever you pick depends on your campaign goals, so think carefully before deciding.

If you want to get specific, you can hit the ‘Create Target Audiences’ option, which lets you target users who’ve liked your Pins. You can drill down even further if you wish, filtering through demographics like age, location, device, and more. 

You can also target based on interests and keywords. Using the former will target users based on the categories they’re interested in. For example, your ads for a makeup brand would show up in someone’s feed if Pinterest knows they’re interested in beauty products. 

If you use the latter, your ads will appear in search results based on the keywords users search with. It’s worth spending time with keyword targeting and being as accurate and specific as possible, as Pinners searching for a product are further along the purchase journey than those who’re just browsing. 

At the end of this section, you’ll need to set a frequency target and cap. This determines how often users will see your Pinterest ad during a week or month. 

Using Pinterest ads

You’ll also be able to set a target rate per action, or let Pinterest bid automatically for you. If you don’t have much experience with advertising, we’d recommend letting Pinterest do the heavy lifting here. It’ll take a lot of the pressure off. 

5. Choose your Pin

You can either create a new Pin for your ad, or select an existing one – if you’ve created Pins based on the ad specs we mentioned earlier, now’s your time to shine. Once you’ve confirmed that, you can add the clickable URL you’d like to be associated with your Pinterest ad. 

When you’re happy with everything, submit the ad. It’ll go under review, and as long as Pinterest confirms everything’s OK and you've set up your payment method, your campaign will start running at a scheduled start date. 

6. Track your campaign’s performance 

After you’ve created your Pinterest ad campaign, you’ll want to check its progress. You can do so in Pinterest Ads Manager, which lets you know which of your campaigns are live, how they’re performing, and how much you’re spending on them. 

Pinterest Ads Manager is a for all your analytical needs. It includes crucial information like:

  • Number of clicks, impressions, and saves
  • CTR
  • Effective CTR
  • CPM
  • Total ad spend
Confirming Pinterest ad spend

Why were my Pinterest ads rejected?

You’ve gone through the hard work of fine-tuning and uploading your Pintetest ads, and they’ve been rejected – what’s the deal? Well, your ads need to fit within Pinterest’s advertising guidelines. If you’ve slipped up anywhere, Pinterest are well within their rights to reject your ads – better to be safe than sorry. 

Now that we’ve wrapped all of that up, why not give Pinterest ads a try? Start as small as you like, figure out what works for your brand, then build on your ad strategy based on analysis within Pinterest Ads Manager. 

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