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A Complete Guide to Pinterest Ads for Digital Agencies

Unlike other social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest is more of a search engine and discovery platform. This means that Pinterest is filled with people who have a high intent to find and purchase new products.

With far fewer advertisers compared to Facebook or Google, Pinterest advertising largely remains an underutilized platform for many marketers. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about advertising on the platform, including:

  • Key Pinterest Statistics

  • Overview of Pinterest Ads

  • Pinterest Ad Formats

  • How to Set Up a Pinterest Ads CampaignPinterest Ads Reporting

Let's get started

Key Pinterest Statistics

Before we get into setting up a Pinterest ads campaign, let’s look at a few statistics that give you an idea of the platform’s potential from Hootsuite's Global State of Digital 2021:

  • Monthly Active Users: MAUs are at 459 million with more than 100m users gained in 2020.

  • Pinterest is Shopping-Oriented: In Q4 2020, Pinterest reported that 6x more businesses are using Shopping ads, which corresponded to an 85% increase in engagement across shopping surfaces such as “Shop tabs”.

  • Weekly conversions grew by 300%: Pinterest users are engaging with shopping ads more and also checking out. The platform released a number of shopping-related features that are driving users to convert at a much higher rate.

Now that we know Pinterest is a product-first platform, let’s look at an overview of the Pinterest Ads platform. 

Overview of Pinterest Ads

Pinterest Ads are displayed just like normal Pins, except with a small “Promoted by...” tag. The fact that Pinterest Ads fit in so seamlessly with regular Pins is part of what makes them so powerful.

In general, Pinterest decides which ads to display in a user's Home feed by their historical activity. In other words, the ads a user sees are going to be similar to topics that they regularly search for.  

Similar to other ad platforms, Pinterest Ads can be targeted based on demographics including age, location, categories, and interests.

Pinterest Ad Formats

In terms of ad campaigns, your campaign objective determines how you bid in the ad auction and the different ad formats that are available. Pinterest breaks down campaigns into the following five formats:

  • Brand awareness: These help people discover the brand and are based on a maximum CPM bid, or the maximum you’re willing to pay for 1000 impressions.

  • Video views: These ads require advertisers to set a maximum CPV bid, or the amount you’re willing to pay for a 2+ second view of your video.

  • Traffic: Traffic-based ads can either use an automatic bidding strategy or you can set a custom maximum cost-per-click (CPC) you’re willing to pay.

  • Conversions: These ads are used to drive specific actions such as a checkout and can use automatic bidding or you can set a target cost per action (CPA) for the conversion

  • Shopping catalogs: These ads are product-focused and can be bid on with either a maximum CPC or an oCPM bid, which is the optimized maximum CPM amount you’re willing to pay. oCPM bids also take into account your target CPA.

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How to Set Up a Pinterest Ads Campaign

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of Pinterest Ads formats, let’s look at a step-by-step walkthrough of setting up a new ad campaign.

Create a Business Account

The first step to creating a Pinterest Ads campaign is to create a business account, which you can do by click on your user profile in the top right.

The next step is to describe your brand, including the focus of the brand and the type of business you run.

Create a Pinterest Ads Campaign

After you’ve set up your business profile you’re ready to create your first ad campaign. To do so, you click on “Create” in the top left, and then “Create Campaign”.

Choose Your Business Goal

The next step is to choose your business goal, which as discussed above include:


  • Brand awareness: Help people discover your brand, products, and other services

  • Video views: Promote videos to help people discover your brand or drive actions


  • Traffic: Increase your traffic to destinations on or off Pinterest


  • Conversions: Drive people to take actions on your website

  • Catalog sales: Promote your product inventory with shopping ads

For this example, we’ll go with a simple traffic campaign.

Provide Ad Group Details

Next up we need to provide our ad group details, which includes four sections:


In terms of targeting, you can either choose to create an audience from your own customer list or website visitors, or you can choose to use existing Pinterest audiences. In this case, let’s look at using existing Pinterest audiences, of which there are two options we can choose from:

  • Interests: This allows you to pick topics related to your brand so you can reach people based on other Pins they engage with.

  • Keywords: This allows you to choose relevant keywords to increase ad impressions in search results and Related Pins. For the best results, Pinterest recommends using a minimum of 25 keywords.

Next up, we need to choose our audience demographic, which includes:

  • Gender

  • Age

  • Location

  • Languages

  • Devices

Finally, we can choose from two advanced targeting options:

  • Browse: This means your ads will appear as people browse their home feeds and related Pins.

  • Search: This means your ads will appear in search results and related Pins.

Budget & schedule

Budgeting for Pinterest Ads is similar to other ad platforms, we can either choose from a daily budget or lifetime budget for each ad group. We can also choose a start and (optional) end date for the ad group. 

Optimization & delivery

Next, in terms of optimization we can choose from:

  • Automatic bidding: Pinterest aims to get the most clicks for your budget

  • Custom: You control how much to bid at auction

Ad Creative

Finally, we’re ready to create our Pinterest ad creative. If we click on “Create Ad”, Pinterest actually recommends using to Pin templates from Canva:

In Canva, we can see there are plenty of pin-ready graphics and video pins that fit seamlessly with the platform:

Pinterest Ads Reporting

Now that we’re ready to publish an ad, let’s review the analytics metrics that Pinterest provides each campaign. Below you can see an example of our Pinterest Ads dashboard within AgencyAnalytics that includes tabs for the following metrics:

  • Campaigns: This includes campaign-level metrics such as the number of clicks, engagement rate, total ad spend, and so on:

  • Ad groups: The ad group level is a mid-level between campaigns and ads and includes the same metrics as the campaign level:

  • Ads: The ad level provides more granular metrics such as the top ads in the campaign and how many clicks each has received.

  • Keywords: Next, we have a tab for the top keywords that are driving clicks and conversions:

  • Demographics: Finally, we have a tab for demographics that includes metrics such as the age groups, top cities, and gender of the audience:

Summary: Pinterest Ads for Digital Agencies

As discussed, Pinterest is more of a discovery platform than other social media platforms. This means that it can be the perfect place for users to find new products. If you or your clients have a visually appealing product, Pinterest Ads can be an excellent place to promote them that's often overlooked by advertisers.

Like any other ad platform, a key part of your success will depend on tracking and analyzing the PPC results. By automating the data collection and visualization process, this allows marketers to focus more on the creative aspects of their ads and streamline their reporting. If you want to learn more about our recent integration with Pinterest Ads, check out this video about how to highlight your clients' Pinterest Ads success using AgencyAnalytics.

Written by

Peter Foy

Peter Foy is a content marketer with a focus on SaaS companies. Based in Toronto, when he’s not writing he’s usually studying data science and machine learning.

Read more posts by Peter Foy ›

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