Pinterest 101: Ad Targeting Options

By Julie Ennis

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Marketing & Sales Intern

In a social media marketing world where headlines are dominated by Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, Pinterest tends to get lost in the fold. Over the last year, Pinterest has quietly grown into a platform that is projected to earn over $500 million in advertising revenue this year, putting them within distance of Snapchat’s ad revenue projections.

Where Pinterest differs from the Facebooks of the world is the mindset of the “Pinners”, a nickname for the userbase, which just surpassed the 175 million mark. Users are actively searching for content, products, or ideas to engage with, as opposed to content posted by their friends or connections.

According to Pinterest, because these individuals are actively searching – thus already in the purchase funnel – 93% of users have leveraged the platform to plan their purchases, and 87% bought something because of content they saw on Pinterest.

Due to stats like this, Pinterest is becoming a must-test for advertisers. Along with great creative, in order to have a successful test you’ll need an equally great targeting plan. Here’s everything you need to know about Pinterest’s ad targeting options.

What are Pinterest’s Ads Targeting Options?

Pinterest ad targeting comes in four flavors: interest targeting, keyword targeting, demographic targeting, and audience targeting. Each method has its own pros and cons, and each method can be used in conjunction with each other.

Here’s the breakdown of each.

Keyword Targeting

Like Google Adwords, advertisers bid on keywords that they believe their audience will be searching for.

Interest Targeting

Pinterest makes available dozens of interest categories based on what their users are searching the most. When you target a specific interest, you are targeting every individual that has indicated a propensity for that interest based on the content they have engaged with in the past.

Demographic Targeting

As of this writing, Pinterest allows advertisers to target their ads based on a very limited number of demographics: gender (user-defined), language (user-defined), device and location. Looking at the model built by Facebook, this targeting with surely expand in the future.

Audience Targeting

Detailed more below, this targeting methodology uses more advanced approaches like audience onboarding, the “Pinterest Tag” (also known as the Pinterest pixel) or machine-learning.

Pinterest Audience Targeting Options

Engagement Targeting

Reach users who have already engaged with your past Pinterest ads. You can even customize your ads based on what kind of action the Pinner took, such as liking or sharing.

Customer Targeting

Through Customer Targeting, you can match a third-party prospect or customer list by email to the Pinterest userbase, and serve those matching users ads. Similar to Facebook’s Custom Audiences, Custom Targeting paves the way for a more direct-level of targeting.

Visitor Targeting / Retargeting

Target Pinterest users who visited your website but who did not complete a purchase. Leveraging the Pinterest Tag, which is very similar to a pixel from Google Analytics or Facebook, visitor activity is tracked and tied back to the profile of the Pinterest user for a comprehensive retargeting strategy. Ads can be customized to display the same item that the individual was viewing on your website.

Actalike Targeting

Lastly, Pinterest has recent introduced Actalike Targeting, which leverages machine-learning to hone in on common attributes of those who have engaged with past ads. Using the knowledge it obtains, you can target groups of Pinterest users who have yet to interact with your ads, but who shared qualities of an engaging audience.

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Published on Jul. 20, 2017, Last Updated on Aug. 02, 2018