How to Increase Your Holiday Sales with Pinterest’s Promoted Pins

The holiday shopping season is around the corner and for ecommerce sites you want to do all you can do maximize your sales during Black Friday & beyond.

Not only are shoppers shopping online more (a record 66 million of them on Black Friday), they’re also increasingly shopping via their mobile devices. Did you know that more than 90% of Pinterest usage is on mobile?

Black Friday will be this holiday season’s first billion-dollar-plus online shopping day, with the total online take for the day expected to be $1.2 billion, up a hefty 15 percent over last year.

According to IBM’s Annual Black Friday survey 2013 on average, holiday shoppers referred from Pinterest on Black Friday spent 77 percent more per order than shoppers referred from Facebook. Facebook average order value was $52.30 versus Pinterest average order value which was $92.51.

One of the key sales tactics we are using with our clients is taking advantage of the DIY Promoted Pins which is an ad that you pay for on Pinterest.

Don’t even second guess whether this is worth your money. Why? I explained in an article in May about how Pinterest was experimenting with Promoted Pins with a few blue chip brand names.

These advertisers are asked to spend a whopping $1 to $2 million on advertising. The CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rate for the ads is in the $30 to $40 range. But guess what? In reality it can be quite different. For example, I have clients who are paying CPC (cost per click) for as low as .06 cents! Amazing! That’s because there’s still very little competition with these ads because they are so new and currently only available to U.S. based businesses.

Unfortunately you have to apply to use Pinterest’s Promoted Pins. This process can take some time so you’d better get on it right away!

Once you’re approved you’ll get an email from Pinterest and the process is very simple but Pinterest is not just going to let you promote any pin any way you want.

They have very strict guidelines which isn’t a surprise because they want these ads to be a great experience for everyone. Pinterest can also reject your ad and if your ad receives any negative feedback they can remove it as well.

Here are the rules from Pinterest about what you can’t do (there’s a lot!)

1) Here is a list of what you can’t put on the pinned image

  • promotional material, discounts, sales copy like “10% off”, “2 for the price of 1”, “Summer sale”, “Limited time offer” however you are allowed to say something like “Sale lasts until Dec. 1-30, 2014”
  • Promotional material, discounts or sales
  • Commercial and functional calls to action
  • Prices
  • Improper grammar, excessive symbols, or multiple hashtags
  • Confusing design elements
  • Product or service claims
  • Fraudulent or deceptive claims or content
  • Nudity or sexually suggestive content
  • Harassment or hate speech
  • Shocking content or profanity
  • Implied Pinterest affiliation

2) Don’t put any of the following in your Promoted Pin’s text description

  • Promotions, sales, or events without full dates
  • Prices
  • Improper grammar, excessive symbology or multiple hashtags
  • Fraudulent or deceptive claims or content
  • Harassment or hate speech
  • Shocking content or profanity
  • Implied Pinterest affiliation

3) Destination landing pages (the place your Promoted Pins link to)

  • Shouldn’t have email sign-up requests or similar design elements that block content
  • Must comply with our Acceptable Use Policy and these ad rules
  • Should contain content relevant to the ad

4) Be straightforward about your product

  • Your ads should accurately reflect your brand or the offered product or service
  • Make sure you target the right audience
  • Identify an accurate destination URL

5) Your ads may not promote

  • Adult products and services
  • Alcohol
  • Imitation or counterfeit goods
  • Drugs and tobacco
  • Products from endangered or threatened species
  • False documents
  • Online gambling and lotteries, or games of skill
  • Illegal activity
  • Malware and hacking
  • Pharmaceuticals and supplements
  • Pinterest incentives
  • Deceptive subscriptions services
  • Unacceptable business models
  • Weapons and explosives

6) Other

  • Respect our community’s data and privacy
  • Stick to one advertiser per account
  • Respect the rights of others
  • Affiliate Pins

Now that you know the rules the next steps are pretty simple:

1) Go to

Hover over the image you want to promote as shown below.

Pinterest's promoted pins


2) Complete the next steps:

  • Choose your keywords. I’m sure that you’ve already been adding keywords to rank high on Pinterest so this should come easy to you. If not use the Guided Search tool to help you.
  • Choose your location. You’ll notice that the only cities available are in the United States because this service is only available in United States.
  • Choose English under “Language”
  • I would leave the “Device” as “All”
  • Choose gender

Pinterest's promoted pins

3) Next, fill the items you see below

  • If you’re not sure how much to enter for your maximum CPC bid you can start with .50 cents.

The cost per click might vary and the amount spent per day will be dependent on the number of clicks you receive. You’re competing against other people who are bidding to show their pins to a similar audience. This doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily pay the full amount that you’ve bid, which is why you might see your average cost per click lower in your metrics. Pinterest is using a second-price auction model. That means you’ll only be charged what you would have needed to pay to beat the next bidder in the auction.

Remember that you’ll never be charged more than the daily budget set for your campaign, so this might be a good thing to increase if you are trying to get more reach for your pins.

  • Double check that the destination has the correct URL
  • Give your campaign a name. Don’t over think this and make it simple. This is just for your records anyway.
  • Decide when you want to start and end your campaign. If it’s your first time and you’re a little nervous about the process try it for seven days.
  • Decide on your daily campaign budget. Start with a $100 budget and if you’re spreading that out within a 30 day period it would be $ 3.33 per day.
  • Next, click “BILLING”. Once you set up the billing you won’t need to do this step again for future ads.

CPC bid

4) After completing the billing process it will take you to your dashboard.

You won’t see any data yet because Pinterest still needs to approve your Promoted Pin.

Pinterest promoted pins dashboard

5) Track what’s working

Once your campaign starts running, you’ll start to see how your pins are doing on this dashboard. These metrics only track your Promoted Pins:

  • Impressions: The total number of times your Promoted Pin appeared on Pinterest.
  • Repins: The number of times someone added your Promoted Pin to one of their own boards.
  • Clicks: The number of visits back to your website.
  • CTR: Your click through rate.
  • Total spend: What you’ll be charged.

You can also edit your campaign in the following areas:

  • campaign name
  • start and end dates
  • daily campaign budget
  • pause the campaign

edit Promoted pins

All about billing from Pinterest:

  • You get charged on the 1st of every month, no matter when your campaign started.  You’ll be able to see the amount you’ve spent on your dashboard. Pinterest won’t charge you more per day than the amount set on your campaigns and you can pause your campaign or Promoted Pins at any time.
  • Payments coming from international IP addresses won’t be accepted.
  • You might see a $1 charge on your bank account from us because we’re verifying your account.

I highly recommend that you apply for the Promoted Pins if you haven’t done so already.

There’s not a lot of competition right now and I believe this is the most cost effective ways to reach your target audience. This to me makes more sense that spending your dollars on Pinterest contests. After all the Promoted Pins are in the hands of Pinterest and they know how to reach your target audience on your behalf.

Over to you

Have you tried the Promoted Pins? If so, did it generate ROI for you?

If this is overwhelming for you and you feel like you are going around and around with Pinterest and not getting anywhere contact me about my Pinterest management services or to learn more about my Pinterest Marketing Course for Business.

Pinterest Marketing For Business Online Course