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Getting Started With Your First Pinterest Ads Campaign: Step-by-Step

Pinterest Ads is a paid media platform unique from all others. Learn how to use Pinterest audiences, targeting opportunities & more for paid social success.

How to Get Started with Pinterest Ads

Pinterest is different from other paid media platforms in that it is a visual discovery engine.

If you’re one of the many companies that still have not leveraged the opportunity to connect with audiences using Pinterest Ads, this article is for you.

In this post, we will cover the people and the platform, targeting opportunities, and tips for set-up.

Who Will You Find on Pinterest?

The people on Pinterest are as diverse as the pins they create, and 95% of Pinners state that Pinterest inspires them/gives them ideas for their life.

This diverse collection of people are ready to take action and explore something new. Over 80% use it for purchase inspiration or actual purchases, which is important to keep in mind as you build strategies around the concept of inspiring ads and messaging.

Pinterest advertising is available in at least 20 countries.

Each month, 459 million people use Pinterest to look up recipes, plan vacations, research what to buy, and more. Pinners are active in seeking out and exploring ideas.

Pinterest has a 20% market share of all US social media when it comes to monthly visits, which doesn’t seem like much until you consider it is actually ranked #2 behind Facebook, which has 60% of U.S. visits in January 2021.

It’s not just Americans pinning, either. Although the largest number of users (over 100 million) are in the U.S., Pinterest Ads can reach users all over the world.

Pinterest Worldwide Users

Source: Statistica 2021

Are Pinterest Ads Right for Your Business?

There are hundreds of categories on Pinterest, with some super popular categories. If your products or services don’t fit in perfectly with the broad categories, you may have a complimentary product affinity with one.

For example, home improvement can range from a big-box retailer to a local services provider.

Popular categories:

  • Technology.
  • Home improvement, décor, design.
  • Fashion.
  • Food + drink lover.
  • Beauty.
  • Travel.

Pinterest Ads Campaign Set-Up & Strategy

To get started with ads, a business account is required at

Pinterest will walk you through various options when creating a new campaign.

The campaign manager prompts you to choose one campaign objective of three objectives that mirror the sales funnel:

  • Build awareness: Brand awareness, video views to help people discover the brand.
  • Drive consideration: Fuel consideration by getting more people to click your ad on Pinterest.
  • Get conversions: Drive people to take action on the website or purchase from a shopping ad.

Choose your campaign objectives in Pinterest Ads

Pinners’ Journey

As a visual discovery engine, Pinners start their purchase journey with “just looking,” gathering ideas up to, “I know what I want,” and seeking out specific products.

Understand the customer journey for Pinterest Ads.

Source: Pinterest

Again, this looks a lot like the old sales funnel and the campaign objective you will choose when you get started.

Since there is one objective per campaign, select targeting and creative that meets that goal and the stop in the pinner’s journey.

Using both brand awareness and conversion campaigns separately to reach your audience at different stages in the sales funnel is a good starting strategy for almost any type of business.

Learn Pinterest Ads Targeting

Next, you will select targeting for your ads, by:

  • Interests.
  • Keywords.
  • Demographics.
  • Placements.
  • Expanded targeting options (audience targeting/retargeting).

Pinterest recommends targeting ad groups to either interests + keywords OR audiences to separately target the two.

Identify Search Trends

Pinterest has a nifty tool for identifying search trend traffic on their site in the US, UK, Canada.

You can enter several search terms and Pinterest will chart them on a graph against one another in terms to show searches over time.

You can find this tool in the Pinterest Ads account under Analytics > Trends.

Pinterest Trends


Choose from a wide selection of pre-defined interests related to your brand. Aim for two to three interest attributes per campaign.

As the interests are selected, the potential audience size is estimated on the right-hand side. Pinterest recommends an audience size in the 1 to 5 million range.


Use Pinterest’s keyword tool to discover keyword ideas based on searches on Pinterest. They also allow keyword match to broad, phrase, and exact, similar to other search platforms.

You may notice the keywords suggested are broader like you might expect in a site search, rather than search engines.

Couple keywords with interests, as these targeting methods work well together.


Next, you can select demographics.

Pinterest recommends that it’s best not to limit targeting with demographics unless the product or service has constraints, such as age or gender constraints.


To target audiences, they must first be created and then applied to campaigns. There are four main audience types that can be defined and refined for more advanced campaigns:

  • Website visitors: Retargeting visitors who have been on your website.
  • Engagement audience: Engaged with pins.
  • Customer list: Upload a lead list to target.
  • Actalike targeting: a.k.a., look-alikes or similar audiences, these are Pinners who behave similarly to lists you already have.

These list types create great opportunities to drive action through the sales funnel and the Pinner’s journey.

Ad formats

Pinterest Ads are served on or on their app. Therefore, all of the ad formats fall into pin format:

A good rule of thumb is to use static pins and video pin creative types in separate ad groups.

Pinterest has a guide on the specs for each ad type.

Pinterest Creative Best Practices

Although we do not go into details for the ad creative here, there are some overarching concepts used to develop a strategy:

  • Inspirational Content.
  • Unique Call to Action.
  • Multiple Products.
  • Trends and Seasonality.
  • Influencers and Lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

With a 20% market share and laser-targeting for unique audiences, Pinterest could be a great second-tier platform to test for 2021.

Consider these three things:

  • How does your business fit into popular categories on Pinterest?
  • How can you reach your audience at each stage of purchase?
  • How can you inspire Pinners to engage and convert?

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, February 2021

Category Pinterest PPC
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Lisa Raehsler SEM Strategy Consultant at Big Click Co.

Lisa Raehsler is a search engine and social media ads pay-per-click (PPC) strategist, International speaker, and columnist for industry publications. ...

Getting Started With Your First Pinterest Ads Campaign: Step-by-Step

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