The power of Pinterest Shopping Ads for brands and retailers

[WP Import] The power of Pinterest Shopping Ads for brands and retailers

Updated June 2019

*“Everything begins with an idea.”*-Earl Nightingale

Pinterest is a discovery engine that allows users (Pinners) to explore and share new interests, ideas, and inspirations by pinning (posting) images and videos. From kitchen cabinet ideas to holiday destinations or recipes, if you can think it, you can pin it.
Founded in 2010, Pinterest has grown to become one of the world’s most-used discovery engines - with over 300 million monthly active Pinners. Moreover, according to ComScore, 31% of time spent on Pinterest is spent shopping - higher than on any social media platform. But how did it get so popular and is it really worth your time? The short answer is yes.
This article will focus on what makes Pinterest and its audience unique and why brands and retailers should consider using the channel’s newest advertising format, Shopping ads.
Ready to go? Things are about to get Pinteresting!

What makes Pinterest and its audience unique

Pinterest’s 300 million monthly active users may not appear that enticing when compared to Facebook’s one billion. Therefore, in order to understand the value of Pinterest, it’s important to first look at what makes it, and it’s users unique.

  • Pinners are open to new ideas and inspiration

While social networks were originally designed for keeping in touch with family and friends, Pinterest has, from the start, been about idea discovery. Therefore, every time a Pinner logs in, it’s safe to say they are actively seeking new ideas and open to new interests. In fact, according to Pinterest, 84% of Pinners say the network helps them learn new things.
But Pinterest isn’t limited to finding ideas and intangible inspiration, it’s also about product discovery and holiday planning. With 77% of Pinners saying they’ve discovered a new brand or product from business content on Pinterest, it's clear these users are open to more than just conceptual content.

  • Pinners are highly-engaged and active

Pinterest users are actively searching for, tapping, saving, and sharing all kinds of Pins. Not only does this engagement lead to action, but Pinners actually look for action. In fact, 89% of Pinners use Pinterest to plan purchases, while 50%__ frequently use Pinterest to shop__ - which is 2X higher than users on other media platforms (TalkShoppe, US, Pinterest Personalization & Relevance Study). Perhaps this is where Pinterest’s slogan, “Pinners are doers,” comes from?
So now that we’ve looked at why Pinterest’s users are unique, you may be wondering who these Pinners actually are. Let’s take a look at the channel’s user base.

Who uses Pinterest?

While it’s common to see Pinterest as a network for crafty, money-savers, it actually has a much further reach.
According to Pinterest, Pinners are:

Pinterest shopping audience

Essentially, a Pinner can be anyone who is actively searching for inspiring new ideas and interests - making it the absolute perfect marketing channel for retailers, brands, and the travel industry.
Pretty impressive, right? Now, let’s talk about how to reach this diverse demographic with Pinterest Shopping Ads.

What are Pinterest Shopping Ads?

In March 2018, Pinterest announced the expansion of Shopping ads, which were previously only available to a few dozen select retailers. As of March 2019, the format can now be used by all merchants in the US, CA, UK, IR, AU, and NZ, and is accessible within Ads Manager. 

Pinterest Shopping Ads


Shopping Ads on Pinterest are automatically created with dynamic information directly from a product feed. Therefore, they work similarly to Google Shopping Ads, and require a lot of the same information. This also means that the quality standard between the two formats is similar. That said, in order to get the best results from Pinterest Shopping Ads, you need to provide a high-quality product catalog.

The Benefits of Pinterest Shopping Ads

It’s no secret that marketers benefit from audience engagement. So with Pinterest’s highly active and open-minded user base, it may be just the channel that brands and retailers have been looking for all along.  
Here are the benefits that have been recorded by retail giants during the testing phase of Pinterest Shopping Ads:

  • Reach customers early in the shopping journey

Pinterest allows you to reach people early on in the marketing funnel. While people go to Google to search for products and Amazon to buy them, they go to Pinterest to explore - giving you the chance to reach them before they even know they need/want your product. Instead of marketing to those who have already shown an interest, Pinterest allows you to spark that interest yourself!
Here is what beauty retailer, Ulta, had to say after testing Pinterest Shopping ads:

“Through non-branded search we’ve been successful in enabling Ulta Beauty to connect with beauty enthusiasts earlier in the consideration phase which has led to increased awareness and purchase.” - Bhatt, Ulta Beauty
  • Increase ROAS

According to initial reports, the benefits of investing in Pinterest carry on long after your campaign had ended. If your Shopping ad is saved or repinned by a user, it stays with them, even if you aren’t running the ads anymore.
In fact, US hardware giant, Lowe’s, recorded their return on ad spend as being 76% better than their initial goal thanks to Pinterest Shopping ads.


  • Boost traffic

Pinterest is a great way to increase the traffic coming to your website. With millions of daily active users being redirected to other sites through referral traffic, it seems that Pinners aren’t afraid to leave the platform and go directly to your product page or app. Moreover, because Pins can be saved and shared, the traffic generated from Pinterest can occur long after your marketing campaign has ended.
All in all, Pinterest is a great way of capturing the attention of an eager, active, and creative audience. Whether you want to increase traffic, boost sales, or build brand awareness, Pinterest offers a variety of best practices catered to each goal.

How to get started with Pinterest Shopping Ads

You’ll first need to have a Pinterest Ads manager business account. This is where you can manage your target audience, define your campaign goals, and track performance.
From there, it’s good to get a head start on your Pinterest Shopping product catalog. Luckily, if you have a Google Shopping product feed, you’ll already have most of the required information.
Here are the required fields for a Pinterest product feed:

  • Brand
  • Product category
  • Description
  • Item-group-ID
  • Valid GTIN
  • Image
  • Title
  • Price
  • Link
  • Condition
  • Product ID
  • Availability

Once you've structured and prepared your feed, you can import it directly into Ads Manager.

Other selling opportunities: Pinterest Buyable pins

Pinterest is one of those social channels that were practically made for selling products. Users are constantly pinning ideas for projects, outfits, occasions, and more. Each of these pins represents one or several products the user may want to buy.
That’s why many brands and retailers don’t stop at just Shopping ads. They also leverage Pinterest’s unique and native opportunities, like the Buyable pin.

pinterest buyable pins

How does it work? Check out that pin in the image above. That tantalizing “Add to bag” button links to the merchant’s store. Now, any browser who sees and falls in love with that product are able to not just pin it to their dream board, they can buy it. Yes, these can also be promoted, further driving interest and sales!


In March 2019, Pinterest launched a catalog feature to help brands and online retailers more easily leverage Pinterest as a shopping channel. The feature enables businesses to turn their entire product inventory into Product Pins all at once by uploading their product catalog directly into Ads Manager. These dynamic pins can then be included in targeted campaigns.


Note that this feature absolutely requires a product catalog consisting of all product attributes required by Pinterest. For a complete list of all technical requirements and product catalog specifications, read here.
The feature is currently available to ecommerce businesses in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Interested in getting started with Pinterest Catalogs? Start here.

Planning and analyzing Pinterest campaigns

Many Facebook campaigns last for days to weeks. Maybe the business wants to promote new products, a specific landing page, or run a retargeting campaign to energize cold leads. This will be similar to marketing on Pinterest…but not the exact same.
Each time a pin is saved and shared, it grows in strength. In fact, good pins grow more valuable over time, rather than disappearing as soon as you stop paying to promote them. That means a marketer’s strategy could be entirely different on Pinterest compared to other social channels like Facebook and even Instagram. Using Pinterest for business marketing will require some unique planning and long-term thinking. In order to accomplish this, marketers should leverage all user analytics data generated on Pinterest.
Businesses on Pinterest will have access to stats like:

  • How many times a pin has appeared on Pinterest
  • The number of closeups a pin has acquired
  • How many times that pin has been clicked or saved

Get creative with this data to figure out what pins will work and start structuring a long-term marketing strategy. This great quote from The Food Network’s Alton Brown sums it up nicely:

“Do my fans prefer ice cream desserts or pies in the summer? I can easily look at this data and then produce recipes ahead of time to push out during peak months.

Productsup and Pinterest Shopping Ads


If all this sounds like a lot of work, don't stress. Productsup can help! As a proud Pinterest Partner, Productsup is jam-packed with everything you need to make the perfect product catalog for Pinterest Shopping Ads.
Why waste time structuring your feed when you could use our preconfigured Pinterest Shopping export template - complete with all the required and recommended fields.
Not sure if your GTINs are up-to-date or correct? No problem. With our bulk GTIN analysis, you can automatically detect any invalid GTINs. Easy peasy.  Wondering if there is an easier way to keep your product availability up-to-date on Pinterest? Productsup has the answer! With our availability rule box, you can be sure that your stock levels are always accurate and up-to-date.
Pinterest is all about compelling visuals, which means you’ll need to make your images and videos are top-notch. With the Productsup Image Designer, creating compelling, eye-catching creatives has never been easier. Need product videos? No problem. Productsup’s Dynamic Videos tool makes it simple to create customized, compelling videos for every single item in your inventory!
Ready to get started with Pinterest Shopping Ads? Request your free platform demo today!

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