Pinterest Marketing Strategy: The Complete 2021 Guide

Pinterest Marketing Strategy: The Complete 2021 Guide

Did you download the Pinterest app when you were redecorating your living room and forgot that it existed for the last three years? Many people can relate to that because...

Did you download the Pinterest app when you were redecorating your living room and forgot that it existed for the last three years? Many people can relate to that because Pinterest was born as an ‘inspirational’ place for infinite scrolls of fruit cake recipes, jaw-dropping pictures, colorful knitting projects, and DIY tasks do delegate to your partner. It truly became a digital marketing platform through its pins feature.

What are the pins? Pins are the digital, orderly mess of a busy desk: scribbled notes, recipes, newspaper clippings. You can create pins and add them to boards, and you can like and comment on other people’s pins and boards. Pinterest is truly a unique social media platform, and it has evolved over the years into much more than an infinite collection of beautiful images.

So who’s on Pinterest? Women in the 25-34 age group are the largest audience. This is good news since women influence 70-80% of consumer spending. Another big population on social media are moms; 8 out of 10 moms are Pinners. The men’s population is around 20% of the audience, but growing. While there might not be as many young people as Snapchat or TikTok, most of the audience shows a ready-to-buy attitude. They are on Pinterest when they’re planning and making decisions.

Pinterest is now a social network, with over 320 million monthly active users and over 12 million unique users. Though it’s not quite as big as the other social media giants, it still has a strong audience base, and companies should not miss the opportunity to leverage their brand on this platform. 

So let’s take a deeper dive into the different ways Pinterest can help your business grow in 2020.

Pinterest Evolution: Discovery to Shopping

Pinterest has a prominent discovery and inspirational component that is reflected in the neatness and beauty of the pictures shown.

You might be tricked into thinking that their audience resembles the tireless feed-scrollers of Facebook or Instagram, but you’d be wrong: pinners are a ready-to-shop audience. In the last year, the platform has developed into a real discovery and shopping engine. Pinterest puts your brand in front of people looking for ideas and products. The more users interact with pins, the more the platform is learning about their tastes and will send personalized suggestions based on that history. Every brand has an opportunity to sell and up-sell.

Marketing and Growth Goals 

A Pinterest marketing strategy can prove beneficial for long term results and can fit into many different stages of your acquisition funnel. When your pins become ads, you can boost brand awareness but also drive sales and increase conversions. While some ads and videos work well for top-funnel traffic, others can help you drive conversion goals like app installs. If you would like Pinterest to showcase your products, you can also integrate your catalog and feed into the platform. This last opportunity is obviously the one that could grow your business the most. Here are other reasons you should consider Pinterest marketing strategy:

  •  Pinterest has a lower average CPC compared to Facebook/Instagram. The platform is not as popular among marketers, so the competition is a lot less fierce than other social media platforms. Remember, the social media world has a lot more to offer than simply Instagram and Facebook!
  • The ad formats are as attractive as the ones on other platforms, if not more so.
  • The keyword layering, similar to a search campaign, is an indication of strong intent.
  • A campaign on Pinterest can help your SEO strategy too. With the right pins, the platform is a great ally to help your content climb to the top of the SERP. Pinterest is a ‘path to purchase,’ much more so than other media.

Organic Component

Pinterest has a social component that needs to be managed: following other pinners, repinning, commenting – after all, it is a social media. The difference between Pinterest boards and something like a Facebook page is that, with the right keywords, you can get a lot of ‘organic’ traffic and push leads into your funnel.

A pin is a visual bookmark, and you should create them on a regular basis. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience, but you want to stay top of mind. Pins can be static images or videos, they only need a description and a link, and some brands post 10-12 pins a day. Creating this type of content is only one half of the work; the other is to build a dedicated and engaged audience. Since pins don’t expire, they will always be available and researchable, and you can keep seeing results for months.

Consider Pinterest as a platform for storytelling. You’ll be rewarded if you create value, but it won’t work for a one-off campaign. Again, your first step should be creating a board that tells the story of your brand. Also, don’t forget to leverage the user-generated content (UGC) that speaks about your brand. You can repin it and use it in your ads too. If you are not on Pinterest today, odds are that your customers are, and might well be talking about you.


Being on Pinterest with both organic and paid pins is a great branding opportunity. The platform is a great space to showcase your brand identity and your storytelling. To differentiate yourself from others, you should tell your specific stories and be straightforward about your brand’s purpose. As the time spent on social media increases (because of the lockdown), brands have more opportunities to get in front of their audiences.

An example of great brand storytelling on Pinterest by “Imperfect Foods,” a subscription-based food box that sells fresh produce that looks ‘imperfect’ and would go to waste if not ‘rescued.’ Pinterest is a popular platform for food-related content. Imperfect Foods took advantage of this by creating posts with facts on food waste, recipes, and even storage tips for fruits and veggies. They expanded their reach by running ads on search terms that were core to their brand and business, such as “Sustainability,” “Meal Planning,” and “Healthy Eating.” Lastly, they leveraged Pinterest data to learn more about their audience, such as additional interests that weren’t as intuitively linked to their brand, such as “Finance,” and used these insights within future creative. According to the company’s data, Imperfect Foods was able to increase its subscriptions by 20% with Pinterest ads.

Targeting Opportunities

What’s unique about Pinterest is its mix of search campaigns and social media features. We can call it a “search-social platform,” which means endless campaign opportunities! Besides the ‘classic’ demographic targeting (geography, gender, age, etc), you can segment your Pinterest audiences by a list of customers who visited your site, an ad-hoc list of customers you upload, an audience that has engaged with your pins already, or an act-like audience that behaves similarly to the one you already have (similar Facebook’s lookalike audience). Even the interests you can target are plenty, including entertainment, DIY, education, finance, and more.

The actual list can be found here for your nerdy browsing pleasure.

Leveraging Keyword Search

In addition to the above-mentioned targeting capabilities, Pinterest ads allow you to create a campaign on specific keywords.

Being a visual search engine requires you to be smart with your keywords, so make sure you do thorough research on the keywords you want to use and make sure they appear in the titles and descriptions of your pins and wider boards. Use keywords the smart-way, do not over-stuff your placements and don’t corrupt the message that is part of your storytelling.

This is one of the key features of Pinterest Ads: on top of all the demographic and interest layers, you can target users who have specifically searched for something you sell. Since Pinterest is a type of search engine similar to Google and Bing ads, it will show your ads based on the search terms and keywords people are typing in. The keyword layering exists in combination with other types of targeting, or on its own. We recommend that you don’t try too many features at once since you won’t be able to isolate them, control the results, and tell what is working and what isn’t. You can use a minimum of twenty-five keywords from a broad phrase to negative matches.

For biggest impact and ROI, you must choose your audience carefully. Like every other search engine, you want to be relevant and answer the questions that have been asked. Another big opportunity on Pinterest is clear from the following statistic; 97% of all searches on Pinterest are unbranded, which means that Pinners are open to discovering new products and ideas.

Ad Formats

Pinterest offers ads for every goal. This includes a standard pin, video pin, app install, shopping pin, carousel, rich pins, etc. They can be used in conjunction with your goals and the products you sell. Carousels showcase more images and are particularly helpful when you need to ‘zoom-in’ on your product, while video creates a bigger engagement and works well in the ‘discovery’ phase.

The inspiration, better, the “Pinspiration” is endless.

Among the latest ad formats, Pinterest recently launched the “Shop the Look Pins” that links to the product page where you can buy the item. These pins do very well on apparel and fashion categories as they have white dots highlighting different parts of the look, and tapping on them will send you straight to the item page.

This feature is currently available to all business accounts in the US, and specific business accounts in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and the UK.

Here’s how ‘Shop the Look pin’ appears:

 More than 300 million people use Pinterest every month to find new ideas and new products. 89% of people on Pinterest use it for purchase inspiration. 90% of weekly pinners make purchase decisions on Pinterest. Pinners are known to plan early and spend more.

It’s important to understand Pinterest is a visual platform. Your visual assets (static images or videos) have to be top quality, impeccably neat, and incredibly awe-spiring. Pinterest carries a big emotional component, and it’s recommended for brands that are ready to do some storytelling. When you create a board on Pinterest, your goal is not just to show your product but to tell a story and communicate your brand values. More than that, 98% of pinners have tried things they find on Pinterest, and 83% have made purchases based on-brand content. Storytelling on Pinterest is fundamental because it conveys emotions and creates empathy. And emotions and empathy will help you sell. If your brand can reach them early, you can easily bring them into your sales funnel. 

Interested in learning more?

Pinterest is also at the forefront of visual search, allowing users to search using images instead of text.

And if you are a small to medium-sized business generating $2M+ in annual revenue, looking for an agency to take the hard work off your plate – feel free to reach out to our team for a consultation.

Mostafa ElBermawy
Mostafa is a seasoned performance and growth lead with over 13 years of experience leading and advising growth teams of various VC-backed startups, venture funds, and fortune 500 brands including Microsoft, Startupbootcamp, American Express, and P&G. Mostafa has written for industry publications such as Wired and Business Insider and is a regular tech contributor for the BBC and France24. When he's not at work, you can find him playing soccer, experimenting with new recipes, or roaming Brooklyn on a Citi-Bike.


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