I recently launched a Periscope series where I answer your burning social media questions on Periscope. If you know anything about me, you probably know that Pinterest is my jam, so it’s fitting that I got several questions from viewers asking me how to get started on Pinterest and what to pin.
The first thing I recommend doing is setting up a Pinterest business profile. If you currently have a regular Pinterest account, you can convert it to a business profile by visiting business.pinterest.com. Operating as a business account will give you more detailed analytics, added functionality, and allow you to promote your business content while still being in compliance with Pinterest terms-of-service.
The second thing I recommend for getting started is using a scheduling application. I personally love Tailwind. It is very intuitive and helps you save time and maximize your reach on Pinterest.
The main thing you need to keep in mind when building your Pinterest boards and pinning content is that people are on Pinterest with a specific intention. As you build your profile think about what people will be searching in order to see your content. You want to use keywords that target exactly what your content is about. People do not want to have to sift through irrelevant content in order to find what they are looking for.
Now that you are aware of the tools and intent to build your Pinterest profile you are ready to roll.
Watch my full tutorial for detailed instructions on how to use Tailwind and share content:
Note: This article will be updated as Pinterest continues making changes to their board cover image size. Signup for the newsletter for the most up-to-date news!
Pinterest has recently rolled out a new layout, after just rolling out a new layout. The Pinterest board cover image size went from rectangle to smaller rectangle to square!
The bad news is, this change has not fully rolled out so depending on where you are in the process you may see the old-new layout or the new layout.
In the newest format, any square will do, but I recommend leveraging a large size image so the photo renders well across both desktop and mobile.
If you have the old-new layout, you’ll want to make sure all of your copy or images is contained to the top 217 x 111 pixel area, because that is the part which is visible with the new design.
Check out this video for a full how-to on making custom board cover images and then uploading and changing on Pinterest!
The main goal with your Pinterest profile page is to help folks self-select into the content they are looking for so leverages images which allow people to quickly find the content which will resonates best with them.
We speak of Pinterest as a social media platform, but Pinterest is actually a search engine. Think about it… we go on Pinterest to search for recipes, ideas, fashion, house decor, inspiration, business tips and more! And although it’s focused on visual media, we’re not very social on Pinterest.
We don’t really socialize with each other on there. Pinterest calls itself a “discovery platform,” which is just another name for search engine. What I love most about Pinterest is that not only can I get found within Pinterest, but Google indexes my pins and boards. So essentially, my pins and boards can show up in Google results and Google Images.
See for yourself: Google any topic, and most likely you will see a Pinterest result either in regular results or images. So if Pinterest is a search engine, let’s chat about how to become a Pinterest SEO powerhouse and get organic traffic back to your blog.
Step 1: Learn about your desired keywords, a.k.a. what terms and phrases you want to be found for. Keywords can be one word, two words, three words or even full sentences people type inside a search engine (like Google or Pinterest) to find information on products, places, services, and so much more.
You will need to create your own keyword list and do some keyword research. I see keyword research happening in two phases… the first is your main set of keywords.
Main keywords: All about you. Answer the following:
What do you do?
What do you sell?
Do you sell online or in person? Both?
Do you teach?
Do you do speaking engagements?
Do you represent other clients?
Do you want to be found locally?
I am a wedding photographer, and I sell wedding & engagement photography services in Myrtle Beach. I also service Pawleys Island and all of Horry County.
I am an SEO strategist for creative entrepreneurs. I offer online classes on SEO and blogging. I sell e-products, courses and consulting services.
Secondary set of keywords: This is where it can be a gold mine and they usually cover the topics on your blog, so think about your blog categories and blog posts.If you are a food blogger, yes, you want to be found for “food blog,” but that will be extremely hard to do because you’re competing with ten spots on the first page of Google (or the first few spots in Pinterest).Honestly, not many people wake up and say, “I want to find a food blogger.” But, they do wake up and say, “I want a great butternut squash soup recipe.” Do you see the difference?
FOOD BLOGGER VS. GREAT BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPE.
We want to be found by topics our ideal audience cares about, and Pinterest is great for that.
There are a few other ways to find keywords. If you need help finding keywords, check out the upcoming webinar Jess and I are hosting: All About Pinterest SEO and Paid Traffic.
Step 2. Now it’s time to plug in your keywords and optimize Pinterest.
Add keywords to your profile business name
Fill out your profile description with a keyword or two instead of just cute names
Your Boards: You should move more important boards up and create more boards pertaining to your content only. So, instead of having just one main board called [your name + content], you can make more boards using subtopics. Think blog categories.So, I will have a niche board of all my blog posts, then I will compartilize my niche boards with new boards. For example: My main board is DIY SEO. I have a board about Social Media Tips, and one for blogging. These are still my work-only boards. This will give me more room for SEO juice.
Make sure EVERY board in your account has text in the description. Text is the basis for SEO, and Pinterest gives you lots of room for that. Add text even to boards of general interest—the non-business boards. So, if I have a beauty board, make up, food, etc., I still need to add text in there.
Add keyword-rich text to your work-only board. If you want to be found in your local market, you can even rename your board. Let’s say you’re a social media consultant like Jess. In that case, you can have your main niche board be “NY Social Media Consultant.” Then you pin all of your blog posts there.
Add keyword-specific text to your niche boards, too.
Your Pins. Only about 20% of pins on Pinterest are original content. This means that the remaining 80% is just repins, so I encourage you to be a leader and be part of the leader pack. It is vital that you add your own blogging content on Pinterest.
When you create graphics for your posts, you can optimize your photos both for Pinterest and Google. Image SEO consists of three areas: Title, Description and Alt Text.Alt Text is the most important one and is the text that Pinterest pulls to fill the description field when a pin is created. Pinterest is pulling about 80 characters only, so when you blog, do the following: Add a keyword-rich description in the Alt Text in your photos, but don’t add too many.Add just enough so when a visitor pins, you get some keywords in there. Then, when you pin your own, you can increase the text when you manually pin it for the first time. After that, you’re looping pins to group boards and your other boards, and that will carry the text on through.
Your schedule. Being active on Pinterest is key, and using a program like Tailwind ( affiliate link) can help you stay on schedule. I love their new Beta tool that shows some high-quality related pins that I can repin—because after all, Pinterest is looking at the source, quality and engagement to push pins forward, so I want to be a great resource inside of Pinterest. Overall, Pinterest is an SEO powerhouse, both in Google and within its own site, and it’s important to boost your profile to be ready to receive some search-result lovin. Download the free Pinterest SEO Checklist below, and sign up for our upcoming webinar to learn how to get found on Pinterest for the holidays.
Note: Pinterest recently updated their board cover image size to be square – I recommend using a larger size so it renders better on both desktop and mobile devices. Canva has great images at 800px x 800px.
Once you create the custom image, uploading and setting it as your board cover image is super simple. Check out this video for step-by-step instructions!
One of the quickest ways to increase Pinterest traffic is to tie your Pinterest boards in with your website. I say ‘quickest’ because it takes just five super easy steps – check out the GIF below to see the steps in action.
Now, let’s get advanced – because you’re awesome and I know you’re ready to get fancy with your widget
Through the HTML you can modify:
CHANGE THE WIDGET SIZE
When determining the optimum size for your widget be sure to test how the widget renders with different screen sizes. A width of “800” might look awesome on a large monitor and fill the entire space, but on a tablet or mobile (where more traffic most likely is) it may not render at all.
The pin scale is a valuable variable to tweak because it will increase your pin readability. Readability refers to the ability for someone to get what they’re looking at without needing to squint or spend 10 minutes looking at it.
Do you want to embed your entire Pinterest profile on your site so that people can follow you? Follow the same steps above, but this time you’ll find the code for your widget on your Pinterest home page, under the gear icon:
These are just two ways you can do more with your efforts on Pinterest. When you put effort into creating beautiful, engagement-worthy Pins you should make the most of them. Users love the Pinterest interface and they’ll love it on your site too.
To make your board as beautiful as possible, check out some of my advice about crafting gorgeous creative for your Pinterest campaigns.
Running ads on Pinterest can feel for some like exploring uncharted territory; a seemingly futile quest for the hidden temple. These lost souls are half right!Pinterest is one of the most underused and underappreciated social platforms, particularly when it comes to paid campaigns.But get this, 80% of people go to Pinterest to engage with branded content.
It’s a relatively unknown way to drive traffic and run ads with more inventory and less competition.
The problem is, while it looks similar to Facebook or Twitter, it’s completely different. But don’t let that deter you from this enormous opportunity.
I’m going to take use this post to introduce you to the basics and prepare you to launch your own Pinterest campaign.
Once we’ve covered the simple stuff, I’m confident you’ll be eager to learn more advanced tips and tricks (I’ll give you those too!).
There are two key components to a Pinterest ads campaign:
The Campaign Structure
PART 1: THE PIN
The Pin is the biggest factor influencing campaign performance and the most critical part of your campaign.
The better your Pin performs organically the better it will do when promoted because ad positioning (how high up in search results the ad is placed) is determined by click-through rate (CTR) and bid amount.
Ad Rank = Click-Through Rate X Bid Amount.
Poor performing Pins require a higher bid to achieve the same placement as better performing content with a lower bid.
You can buy a higher bid, but you can’t buy a high click-through rate – your Pin needs to earn it.
So how do you earn it? In my opinion, the best way to optimize your Pin’s creative is to split test Pins with slight variations to find which one resonates the best. But first you need to lock in your creative.
Rich pins are awesome and do great organically but not all types are eligible for promotion when running ads natively through Pinterest.com.
YOUR PIN’S CREATIVE: DESIGN
On most platforms, user generated content does really well. It serves as a testimonial where a user demonstrates how they use your product/service and endorses it. The same should be true for Pinterest, right?
On Pinterest this content does not perform well. Top performing content on Pinterest should take the following to heart:
Looks professionally done with high quality, large photos (Note: That doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot for it! These free tools will get you there.)
Text overlays are a great way to help highlight the value proposition of the item pinned and grab the user’s attention as they are scrolling through their Pinterest feed.
One of my favorite techniques is to use multiple images together in one pin to show different steps in a process or before/after
Please note: If you are running a completely new creative with no established CTR, then Pinterest will actually give that creative a boost so it’s served higher on the page to quickly determine CTR.
After a set number of impressions are reached, that CTR is used for the Ad Rank calculation (CTR x Bid) so introducing new creative can help get that boost more often.
YOUR PIN’S CREATIVE: COPY
On most platforms shorter copy performs better. Same goes for Pinterest, right?
Your audience on Pinterest is looking for:
The answer to a question
Help planning their future
Top performing Pins include a description that focuses on the value proposition of whatever the Pin is pointing to. Just this once, do not be afraid to use long copy!
When running ads through Pinterest.com and not through an API partner you can only promote Pins which have already been created and are live on your page.
However, when you run Pinterest Ads with an API Partner you have the option to promote unpublished Pins from a Secret Board or a Protected Board.
This is crucial because it allows you to test different Pin elements without overwhelming your audience with the same ad or creating an unpleasant user experience by exposing one fan to a bunch of marginally different but ultimately similar pins.
Here’s how to make it happen:
Public Board: A public board is one which is listed on your Pinterest profile and available for anyone to see.
Promoting pins from here can help demonstrate greater social prof since all engagements earned from your ads are being applied to live, public pins.
Secret Board: A secret board is one which is not listed publicly on your Pinterest profile, but can be seen by individuals who have been added to the board.
My favorite technique is to promote Pins from a secret Board because when a user views your promoted Pin and tries to click back to your Pin they will be directed to your Pinterest profile.
Protected Board: A protected Board is a Board which is not listed on your profile but can be seen by anyone who the URL is shared with.
When building a Pin through an API Partner who does not have access to organic publishing, this is where you create Pins.
Note: At the time of publish, SocialFlow is the only API Partner who has access to both organic and promotion APIs.
Protected boards are a great option for agencies or anyone who needs to have Pins approved before launch. You can simply send the Board URL to the client for approval.
PART 2: THE CAMPAIGN SETUP
Once the pin is ready for promotion you can start building the campaign. The following options are the same order as they appear when building a campaign native, through Pinterest.com.
The campaign objective is going to determine which action(s) the campaign is optimized for and which actions you will be billed for.
All actions outside of your objective are essentially free, including actions which occur on a repin of the promotion which are classified as earned actions.
The following are the only objectives available for campaigns built natively through Pinterest.com:
Cost per engagement (CPE) -This is the objective aligned with the ‘Boost engagement with your Pins’ option. It will optimize the campaign so your pin sees more action, while charging for any closeup, repin, or click on the promoted pin.
After running thousands of campaigns I’ve found that the CPC objective generally results in a better CPE than the CPE objective, but you’ll want to test how your audience responds.
Cost per Click (CPC) – This is the objective aligned with the ‘Get traffic to your website’ option. Pinterest defines a click as a click-through to a website, so this action optimizes the campaign to drive traffic off Pinterest to your website.
With CPC you are only billed for clicks on the main promoted pin. Any click-throughs occurring on a repin of the promoted pin are considered earned traffic and not billed against.
Pinterest will automatically append PP=0 to all direct clicks and PP=1 to all earned clicks so you can differentiate between the two in your analytics platform.
When leveraging an API partner, you can run against the objectives above (CPE or CPC) or any of the following:
Cost per Action (CPA) (API Only) – Cost per Action is the preferred objective for any direct sales or conversion campaigns. This is the objective which must be used with buyable pins.
Cost per Install (CPI) (API Only) – Cost per App Install is the most frictionless option for promoting an app on Pinterest.
Cost per Mille (CPM) (Pinterest only) – Cost per Mille was the first objective introduced by Pinterest when ads were in private beta. This objective can only be ran when working directly with Pinterest for campaigns.
START TIME & PACING
Another way Pinterest separates itself from the pack is in campaign start time and how the daily budget is paced.
Campaign start time: If you’re building a campaign through Pinterest.com you can define which day the campaign should start, but not the start time because Pinterest launches all campaigns at midnight UTC.
If you are running ads through an API partner this limitation is lifted and you can start a campaign at anytime.
Running ads through an API partner creates a crucial competitive advantage here because campaigns can be started later on in the day when there are fewer campaigns running and less competition for the same inventory.
Campaign Pacing: Unlike all other ad platforms, Pinterest does not evenly pace spend over the course of a day which means that when your campaign’s daily budget is reset at midnight UTC.
When the budget is reset the campaign will begin running anew and shut off as soon as the daily budget is exhausted – which may be 20 minutes or 20 hours.
This means that for many advertisers their ads only run in the morning. There are three options to reach an audience later in the day:
Increase daily budget so the campaign runs for a longer period of time
Decrease bid amount so fewer auctions are won and budget lasts longer
Work with an API Partner which allows you to launch campaigns at any time
Pinterest provides the option to easily customize the destination URL for a promoted pin that is different than the URL used for the organic pin.
I highly recommend using specific Google Analytics UTM tags to differentiate between paid and organic traffic.
For Google Analytics use the following keys and values:
Pinterest will automatically append the following to the destination URL to help distinguish between where clicks on promoted pins were generated:
pp=o for clicks on the promoted pin
pp=1 for clicks on a repin (or any subsequent repins) of the promoted pin
The shared URL will look like:
If split testing different Pin creatives for the same URL leverage the utm_content key to get more granular user data.
The keystone of Pinterest advertising is in keyword targeting. There are are two types of terms: exact match and broad match.
The term choice is important because it will determine where your Pin is displayed.
Exact Match: These are the specific terms or string of terms that match exactly what a user is searching for. For example, “best vacation destinations” will display the ad when someone searches for that term.
The inventory for these terms may be smaller because the pins will most likely only be served on the search results page.
The intent of a user to engage with these pins is often high though, since the user is specifically searching for the content, and there will likely be less competition for the terms.
If your pin is related to a very specific, niche industry or product you may find more success using exact match terms.
Broad Match: These are keywords that Pinterest’s algorithm will expand out to include other related terms not just to those searching for the term or related terms, but also display the Pin in category feeds and the home feed to people who engage with content related to that term.
For example, “vacations” will expand out to include other variants of vacation and also include “swimwear” and other related terms, and will be displayed in the home feed of people engaging with pins about vacations and the category feeds related to vacations.
Because of this behavior, broad match terms reach the largest potential audience..
When I first started running campaigns on Pinterest most impressions earned in campaigns were on more close math, long tail terms such as “best vacation destinations” or “top mobile apps for iPhone” but recently broader terms such as “vacation” have been more successful.
Pinterest’s ad platform is continuing to evolve, so this indicates to me that they are improving the broad match terms.
Aim for 20 – 25 broad match terms and 5 – 10 exact match terms.
My recommendation is to leave the following targeting options as broad as possible, and then exclude as needed based on performance.
After a campaign has started running you will be able to see how it has performed broken out by each of the above targeting options – see below for example.
The bid amount is half of the equation in determining how far up on the page an ad will display. (Remember, the other half is bid x CTR = ad rank.)
Based on the keywords, Pin, and daily budget Pinterest will recommend a bid range.
Pinterest has not yet disclosed if there is a specific floor to their auction that you must bid above in order for your ad to serve.
In my experience, when bidding at or below the lower recommended amount I’ve struggled to spend through an entire daily budget.
And there you have it! Feeling overwhelmed? Stop and take a deep breath. Better?
Listen, Pinterest may have its idiosyncrasies when it comes to paid ads, but if you know social media, you know Pinterest.
Where it sets itself apart in strategy, it more than compensates in opportunity.
If you’re running paid on Facebook or Twitter, take an afternoon to experiment with launching a campaign on Pinterest. I’ll be here to help and provide more in-depth articles as you discover the power of Pinterest and seek out new ways to exploit it. See you soon!
Rich Pins are powerful because of the information they provide additional information, look aesthetically pleasing, and increase the amount of screen space the pin occupies. Rich Pins work by displaying metadata markups from your website in a human-readable manner. Once you’re setup, content on your site with metadata will become a Rich Pin when someone saves it, pulling in the article headline, description, recipe, product info, site name, logo, etc.
WHY SHOULD I BE USING RICH PINS?
They’re more relevant to your users, more useful and therefore more likely to be pinned, repinned (saved), or liked.
They’ll update automatically when you change information on your site.
They occupy more of that valuable screen space
Rich Pins drive traffic to your site. Make sure to setup your Google Analytics to track this uplift
More traffic, more conversions!
But wait! There’s more…
Using Rich Pins with your verified account means they will appear higher in search results. With detailed, well-crafted Pin descriptions you’ll be bumped up even further.
Rich (Product) Pins are an especially valuable option for retailers. Pins with prices are proven to get more likes and you can even notify users when prices drop. This information is another way to get out of the way of your shopper, making it easier for them to buy your products with information on availability and location.
This is how a regular Pin and Rich Pin appear in feed:
When expanded, the Rich Pin leads with the site name and article headline:
TYPES OF RICH PINS
Article Pins will pull in the article headline, description, and author when your article is pinned (by yourself or others) and presents it in a specific format.
Product Pins include real time product availability and pricing information.
Recipe Pins pull in the entire recipe section, showing ingredients, serving sizes, directions, etc.
Movie Pins provide cast information, ratings, and reviews.
Place Pins will include a map and location information.
App Pins give the option for someone to install the app, linking directly to the iTunes of Google Play app store.
Each type has a corresponding markup for your website that can be found in the ‘Rich Pin Code for Your Site’ section. The great news though is, many of the required markups are the same ones that Facebook uses – so your site might already be setup for Rich Pins!
If you’re looking for examples or inspiration check out the ‘Resources: Pin Examples’ section 🙂
HOW TO SETUP RICH PINS
With business for Pinterest, getting started is easy. It’s only two-steps so listen close:
Add Metadata to the content on your site, usually in Open Graph or Schema.org format. There’s specific metadata for each type of pin; you can find the markups by looking at the “Rich Pins Code” section.
Many of these fields will be the same as what is required for Facebook, so using a plugin like YoastSEO can make this easier.
You can use more than one kind of Rich Pin on your site, they’ll just appear in order of type priority which is as follows: App, Product, Recipe, Pins, Movie, Article, Place.
Apply! You need to get verified before your Rich Pins can appear. You only have to submit one of your pages (article, product, etc.) once and your entire site will become verified.
Pick a page you’ve tricked out with metadata, grab the URL (you only need to do this with one URL for your entire site) and validate it on the URL debugger page in the URL submit field.
After submitting a URL Pinterest will check to ensure that all of the markups are proper and indicate if there are any errors. It will look like this:
If any problems do appear (such as Site Name not pulling in) simply fix and check the URL again. Once you’re ready to go just hit apply! and then your site will be processed for Rich Pins.
The process takes up to 24 hours, so check back later!
One thing to note, you only have to enter one non-homepage URL for your entire site to be verified.
Pinterest offers a vast array of geo-targeting options, but it can be hard to sift through all the options while building a campaign.
Here are the locations you can target in a promoted pins campaign: Want to view this in a spreadsheet? Click here
Birmingham (Ann And Tusc)
Columbus, GA (Opelika, AL)
El Paso (Las Cruces)
Hartford & New Haven
La Crosse-Eau Claire
Lincoln & Hastings-Krny
Little Rock-Pine Bluff
Mobile-Pensacola (Ft Walt)
Salt Lake City
San Francisco-Oak-San Jose
Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota)
Tucson (Sierra Vista)
Washington, DC (Hagrstwn)
West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce
Wichita Falls & Lawton