Pinterest Marketing: Your Ultimate Creative Guide (2023)
This Pinterest marketing guide is part of our Ultimate Guide series on social media video marketing best practices. Learn more about how harnessing the power of video marketing helps brands stand out on other platforms, from Facebook and Instagram to TikTok and Snapchat.
Whether you’re Googling your favorite product, researching a new recipe, or simply looking for a striking image, you’ve likely run across a Pinterest Pin.
As a platform for research and discovery, Pinterest is a collage of creative ideas, tied together through shared interests. Pins are the visual language that Pinterest’s aspirational, aesthetically elevated environment speaks in. They act as bookmarks for the content Pinterest users — also known as Pinners — love that they can save for future inspiration or share with their friends and followers.
Pinterest’s unique approach to social content has helped catalyze tremendous growth, ballooning to over 445 million monthly active users (MAUs), making it the third-largest social channel today.
There’s a bit of a misconception here though. We tend to lump Pinterest into the gallery of social media giants, but that’s not exactly how they would describe themselves. Co-founder Evan Sharp said, “People thought of us as a social network, but that was really a misunderstanding. It’s our fault for not being clear. We think of Pinterest much more as a search engine.”
As the majority of Gen Z and Millennials prefer visual image searches over text, Pinterest is transforming the way we find content online. The platform’s power as a visual search engine is why marketers need to leverage Pinterest marketing as a unique avenue for growing their brands.
As Pinterest continues to roll out new features to help brands make a mark, the visual platform has seen a huge rise in video content. Compared to 55% of users on other social channels, Pinners are 75% more likely to watch a video about a topic that interests them on the platform. This rise matches the swelling popularity of video across the advertising industry.
If you want your brand to stand out in a saturated content landscape, video must be a key pillar of your marketing strategy on Pinterest.
This guide will give you an overview of Pinterest marketing, the type of ad placements you can utilize, as well as creative best practices and tips to help you succeed in growing and converting your audience on the platform.
Pinterest Platform Overview
Pinterest Marketing Ad Placements and Specs
Pinterest Marketing Creative Best Practices
What Is Pinterest? Platform Overview
Even though Pinterest doesn’t self-identify as a social media platform, it has a lot of the hallmarks of the social experience:
- Pinners can create their own profiles and follow other users.
- The Pins users create act like a post on any other social media site.
- You can add descriptive call-out text for users to leave comments and feedback.
- You can group related Pins into a themed Board so that your content is cataloged and easily accessible from one central location.
- Pinners can also follow Boards and get updates on when new Pins are added.
Pinners can then Repin posts to grow their own Boards or share a Pin with individual users, as well as on other social platforms.
If you are looking for inspiration, but don’t know where to start, Pinterest Today is a great way to find new content from a range of categories, like the latest platform trends in food or fashion. It’s similar to Instagram’s Discover page, but rather than simply being an aggregate of your interests, Today groups Pins into Boards focused on curated topics picked by the Pinterest staff.
While Pinterest acts like a social channel, it isn’t the main reason why users flock to the platform. Instead, it’s because Pinterest is a beacon of inspiration, brimming with a creative community eager to share the visuals that fuel their imagination.
However, Pinterest has grown into so much more than just a source of online inspiration. It’s evolved into a creative way for organizations to stand out as consumers search for new brands and products.
The platform introduced an even easier way to search in 2015 when they rolled out Pinterest Lens for mobile devices. This tool gave Pinners the option to search for a product in real-time with their phone’s camera, instantly returning related products via Pinterest’s robust visual search engine. With a commanding presence on the app, that’s a fast and easy way to funnel consumers directly to you.
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Social Commerce Is Rising
As Pinterest innovates how we search online, the platform has also made it easier for brands to sell their products. In 2015, Pinterest introduced Buyable Pins, which allowed users to buy products directly on the platform. Two years later they added machine learning capabilities, like the aforementioned Lens, as well as Shop the Look, which uses artificial intelligence to identify products in a single image that can then be purchased in-app.
Since then, Pinterest has continued evolving its social commerce offerings. Now when you search for Pins, you can toggle between two sections: Explore and Shop. Explore shows results for a normal Pinterest search, while Shop aggregates all of the products you can buy right now on the platform.
Brands can even upload their entire catalog of products, and Pinterest will automatically convert them into shoppable Product Pins. They also offer shopping recommendations based on products that you’ve previously pinned.
Since 72% of Pinners say they feel inspired to make a purchase off the platform even when they aren’t actively shopping, the potential to convert customers and increase your ROI with Pinterest marketing couldn’t be more apparent. Pinterest is a platform that helps users decide what they want to purchase, so your brand needs to be part of that conversation. And as the platform has its own diverse, platform-loyal demographic of users, Pinterest can be an effective new tool to target consumers that are becoming increasingly harder to reach.
Let’s dive deeper into the ad placement types to help you get the wheels turning on how to cost-effectively harness the power of Pinterest video marketing on the platform.
Pinterest Ad Specs and Placements Types
While the platform has traditionally been a female-dominated one — 60% of Pinterest users are women — this recent growth can largely be attributed to men, as well as Millennials and Gen Z.
As Pinterest grows, so does its suite of ad placements. The platform has expanded beyond static images to include Video placements. If you want your brand to pop today, you must lean into Video Pins.
Related: Pinterest Video Ad Specs & Placements
Need help with other networks? Check out our complete Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide
Video Pins and Ads
This paid or organic ad placement is perfect for brands to tell an unabridged story about their product to inspire awareness, consideration, and conversion. Many Pinterest Video Pins are short, so make sure to pinpoint a single idea in concepting and grab attention with a dynamic hook. Videos play in-feed without audio by default, but if a user taps on your Pin, it will expand into a larger player with audio. This ad placement is compatible with both desktop and mobile.
Video Ad Specs
- Aspect ratio: Shorter than 1:2, but taller than 1.91:1. Pinterest recommends making your videos square (1:1) or vertical (2:3 or 9:16)
- Video length: Minimum 4 seconds, maximum 15 minutes, but 6-15 seconds is optimal
- Max file size: 2GB
- File type: .mp4, .mov, or .m4v
Supporting copy may be included for your Video Pins. Titles can be up to 100 characters and descriptions can be up to 500 characters, but may be truncated depending on a user’s device. A strong title with keywords and helpful information can make your Video Pin more easily discovered in search.
Max. Width Video Ads
Pinterest Max. Width Video Ads allow your videos to be 4X the size of traditional Video Pins, spanning across Pinterest’s two-column grid. This engaging ad placement can grow brand awareness and increase purchase intent. Aim to feature your logo and product prominently in the opening few seconds to inspire further engagement. Unlike regular Video Pins, Max. Width Video Ads are only compatible with mobile devices.
Video Ad Specs
- Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 16:9 (widescreen)
- Video length: 4 seconds to 15 minutes
- Max file size: 2GB
- File type: .mp4, .mov, or .m4v
Supporting copy may be included for your Video Pins. Titles can be up to 100 characters and descriptions can be up to 500 characters, but may be truncated depending on a user’s device.
Evolving Pinterest Ads
Pinterest continues to innovate new ad placements to help users find the products they love.
In March 2021, they unveiled Pinterest Premiere, an exclusive placement that appears in a user’s home feed. This placement stands out through its ability to target hyper-specific demographics, categories, and interests, which will be imperative as looming privacy-friendly updates evolve the way brands reach consumers.
They’ve also introduced Idea Pins and ads, which appear to users as a set of videos, images, and other content within a single pin. They are similar to Carousel Pins, however, Idea Pins can include more content types. According to Pinterest, “Idea ads are designed to tell a story that inspires your audience and encourages action.”
Pinterest Ads Best Practices
Pinterest is a platform built to engage imaginations and inspire creativity. You can really flex your brand’s creative muscles when ideating your video content, but stay aware that Pinners will also have a more discerning eye as to what’s trendy and relevant. Pinterest has identified a few key best practices to help users have a greater understanding of what makes content pop on the platform.
- Focus on yourself. Your brand should be at the forefront of any ad you create. This isn’t the time to experiment with abstract visuals. Take out any guesswork from your videos, and plainly showcase your offering.
- Contextualize your product. Pinterest reports that 90% of Pinners use the platform to decide what they want to purchase. Use the visual elements of your ad to demonstrate the benefits of your product. Visualize for your audience how they can use your product in their own lives, pushing consumers further down the path to purchase.
- Hook your audience. Video Pins are the best thumb stoppers on Pinterest. They’re a great way to grab a Pinner’s attention, but if they aren’t instantly engaging, a user may scroll past them. According to Pinterest, video drives impact at just 2 seconds and users are 2.6x more likely to make a purchase after viewing brand video content. Employing dynamic video styles, like stop-motion animation, can help your brand immediately stand out in a user’s feed.
If you don’t have an in-house team of video professionals or access to a video production marketplace of expert creators, we’ve got you covered. We’ve identified some best tips and strategies when planning Pinterest video ads for your social media video marketing campaign.
Use Pinterest Trends
Pinterest has a fantastic, free trend search tool — Pinterest Trends — where you can easily discover what people are searching for, and when. Topicality and relevance are key when it comes to social, so use the tool to research trends over time for all keywords related to your brand or products. When you execute a search, you’ll see search volume for the past 12 months, so you can strategically plan ahead for historically seasonal spikes.
This seasonal creative from Frito-Lay for National Taco Day communicates their message with eye-catching on-screen text.
Discover new trends: Top 10 Social Media Video Marketing Trends
Use Pinterest Predicts
Another great way to stay on top of upcoming trends is to utilize Pinterest Predicts.
This business- and creator-oriented feature showcases upcoming trends Pinterest expects to see. This feature allows you to sort predictions into different categories, including audience and brand values. According to Pinterest, “This is a not-yet-trending report—a window into the future, from the place where people go to plan it.”
Some predictions for 2023 include:
- Early 2000s romantic-comedy-inspired fashion making a comeback
- An increased focus on parents’ wellness after having a child
- Pool parties for dogs
While not every prediction will be a good fit for your brand, it’s still a great idea to take a look. With these and other predictions, your brand can focus on things most important to your audience while staying ahead of the competition.
Design for Inspiration
Brands have an opportunity to be seen as a source of inspiration on Pinterest. Pinners are on the platform at every step of the planning process, making it a great home for full-funnel creative.
With a diverse set of video creatives targeting different points of the funnel, you can grab your audience’s attention early in the discovery process and lead them down the path to purchase with a cohesive narrative.
Further connect with Pinners by featuring on-screen talent in your video creative. Lifestyle shots with relatable talent and situations help your viewers make a personal connection with your brand or product. Plus, you’ll be able to associate aspirational imagery with your product using on-screen talent.
Think Outside the Box
As a creativity and inspiration hub, Pinterest is a place where people seek novelty. To fulfill Pinners’ intent and make your content feel like a native video on the platform, produce video creative that feels new, unexpected, or off-beat.
Videos are naturally more visually engaging than static images, but they’re short, so think of creative ways you can grab attention and sustain it for the length of your narrative. Even with as little as 6 seconds, you can chart a compelling arc.
Stop-motion is a super cool technique that turns photos into eye-catching, satisfying videos.
Publish Shoppable Content
According to Pinterest, 89% of Pinners used the platform for inspiration in a recent purchase, so it’s clear the majority of users view it as a shopping destination.
This makes product-centric, lower-funnel creative a natural fit on the platform. Pinterest rolled out a slate of new features to further encourage in-app purchase behavior, such as linking products in Boards, Search, and Pins to streamline buying paths for users. Now, its Collections ad unit features video as the hero creative.
In the platform’s story-focused environment, simple eCommerce product videos won’t work. In order to catch users’ attention, you’ll want to feature creative graphics and standout colors. Focus on a motivating feeling you want to spark in your viewer that will inspire them to take action.
Even in just a few seconds, you can craft a compelling narrative with your product as the star.
Pinterest Marketing: The Takeaway
Over the past 13 years, Pinterest has grown from an aspirational social platform into a visual search engine that organizations can leverage to raise brand awareness and convert a wide array of consumers.
But that doesn’t mean it’s changed its core ethos. It’s still a platform built for creativity and your brand’s presence must reflect that. Pinners use the app to feed their imaginations, so serve them a full-course meal by harnessing the narrative power of video marketing.
Keep a keen eye on the latest Pinterest video ad features to further support your objectives in a privacy-friendly way, like Pinterest Premiere, which will allow brands to target users with specific interests and other characteristics. This will be critical as data privacy updates continue to evolve over the next few years.
Pinterest is an incredible platform to break through the noise, scale your audience, and make a mark in today’s highly competitive content landscape. With a creative eye hungry for innovation, you can start generating mesmerizing, high-performing video content that will give your organization an advantage in our rapidly evolving digital world.
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