Did you know that Pinterest users spend twice as much time shopping every month as non-Pinners? Ka-ching!

Pinterest is unique among social platforms because its users are largely going there to discover new products, and they respond well to ads. Pinterest offers a mix of free and paid advertising tools, and combining both can earn you 3x more conversions and twice the ROAS (return on ad spend) versus paid ads alone.

Plus, Pinterest has one of the lowest CPAs (2.3x more efficient than other platforms) in social media advertising.

Sounds amazing, right? Buckle up as we dive into everything you need to know about Pinterest ads, from ad formats and specs to creative ad examples to inspire you.

Benefits of Pinterest advertising

Discovery is at the heart of Pinterest. Users go there to find new ideas and inspiration, while they’re using other social media platforms to connect with friends and family.

Pinterest users want to discover new products, brands and projects. And Pinterest ads naturally work into that because they don’t interrupt — rather, they add to the sense of discovery.

Because users are already looking to shop, they’re more likely to appreciate ads than on any other platform.

Take a look at this example search for “living room furniture.” While there are organic pins in the results, we can also see ads from Wallpaper Direct and Wayfair that appear almost as native search results.

Pinterest living room furniture search results with integrated ads

They look exactly the same as the other search results and they’re hyper-relevant to the search, making these ads incredibly useful and much more clickable than other social media ads would be.

But there’s more to Pinterest ads than that. Here are a few additional benefits that your company can take advantage of.

Generate sales

Pinterest users are ready to buy as they browse. If someone is searching on the platform for something like “living room furniture,” it’s likely because they’re redecorating their living room and are actively looking for both ideas and products.

Running ads to get your product in front of these searchers helps you make more sales, which helps your business make more money. Pinterest shopping ads can triple your sales performance, ensuring you’re bringing in an ROI to write home about.

Reach a wider audience

Pinterest ads can appear in both the home feed and search results. This means that even if someone is filtering through their home feed without looking for specific inspiration, they can still come across one of your products.

Pinterest has over 518 million users — more than the entire population of the United States — and the platform is popular across all age groups and genders. Not only can you reach a wider audience, but you can reach your audience.

Get more bang for your buck

Finally, Pinterest pins (say that five times fast) have a longer lifespan than other types of social media posts and ads. Someone may see one of your ads in their feed or search results and decide to save it to a Pinterest board rather than take action immediately.

This then gives your ad the potential to reach that user’s audience and be seen again by the user in question as they browse back through their boards.

By creating a longer-lasting pin that can reach a wider audience than you’re even paying for, you’re able to get more bang for your ad bucks.

Pinterest ad types

You can choose from several different Pinterest ad types based on how and where you want your ads to appear.

Standard pins

Standards pins are the simplest type of ads to run on Pinterest because you’re essentially “boosting” or promoting an existing Pin.

This type of ad is a single image or video that appears in the home feed. The only thing differentiating standard pins from organic pins is a small “Promoted by” label.

When a user clicks an organic Pin, they see the Pin detail page. With standard pin ads, they’re taken directly to the URL you specify.

Pinterest home feed standard pins with Promoted by label

Standard pins may be simple but they’re also very effective, especially when combined with automatic bidding (covered later in this article). You can create a standard ad with any ad objective.

Video pins

Video pin ads are similar to standard pins — but they’re more eye-catching as they use video as the creative asset, drawing people in from the static image pins. They appear as video pins with the same “Promoted by” label as standard pins.

You can use any ad objective to create a video pin — just use video as your creative when building or choosing the pin — or you can choose a “video views” or “video completion” objective.

Carousel pins

Carousel ads look exactly like organic pins but contain a group of images users can swipe through on mobile or desktop. You can tell it’s a carousel by the small dots underneath the image.

Importantly, when a user saves it, the entire carousel is saved to their board. You can have 2-5 images per carousel ad.

home feed For You page carousel pins

The above carousel ad walks viewers through the steps to make a margarita. Pinterest carousel ads are also great for showing different angles of the same item, lifestyle shots of the product in use, or showing related accessories or items.

Shopping pins

Shopping ads are pulled directly from your product catalog, meaning you’ll need to have a catalog set up before creating one of these ads. Many platforms, like Shopify, offer a direct connection with Pinterest for this.

To create a shopping pin, select catalog sales as your ad objective before getting started with your ad creative.

One great thing about these ads is how easy they are. Anyone can set them up in minutes. Pinterest uses the data in your product information, as well as your industry, to automatically target Shopping ads to the most interested audience.

You can also set up your own targeting and advanced audience retargeting options, but this is one of the most “set it and forget it”-friendly ad types out there.

Shopping pins can look and act just like standard pins. The difference is how they’re made. With shopping pins, Pinterest can dynamically create ads based on your product groups, rather than you choosing or creating specific pins to promote.


Collections are shopping pins that promote multiple products at once. These are mobile-only ads that allow users to shop amongst multiple products at once.

In the feed, collection ads appear with one large, featured video or image and 3 supporting images. If a user taps your ad, you can then show up to 24 supporting images on the ad detail page.

Nestig's exclusive new collection cribs

These types of ads are perfectly suited for e-commerce brands, especially in the fashion, home decor and beauty segments. However, with the right creative strategy, anyone can benefit.

It’s especially powerful to combine video and product or lifestyle images. For example, use an editorial or lifestyle video for the featured asset and support that with product and detail shots for the secondary assets.

Another nice thing about collection ads? Pinterest can automatically create them for you, including choosing related products from your product catalog. Nice.

Quiz pins

Quiz pins enable you to share personalized content with users based on how they respond to a quiz. To create these, you’ll create a cover pin that each viewer will see, as well as a results pin for each potential result.

Quiz pins which pet is right for you Hill's Pet Nutrition
Source: Pinterest

This can be a great way to provide hyper-relevant content to your audience based on their response to something. Like in the example above, you can gather a clearer idea of which pet is best for your audience’s lifestyle to then provide them with even more personalized content.

Showcase pins

Showcase pins are another mobile-only pin type. They consist of multiple pins within a single ad unit, with each pin able to link to a different page of your website.

L'Oreal discover your skincare layering routine Showcase pin

These ads help your audience find exactly what they might be looking for on your website. While the full ad itself cannot be saved to a board, each individual pin can.

Pinterest ad sizes

Ad sizes vary based on the type of ad you plan to run. It’s important to stick to the right ad specs so that your visuals appear as high-quality and seamless as possible, improving your overall ad quality — and hopefully ad clicks.

The recommended ad sizes for each ad type are as follows:

  • Standard pins: 2:3 aspect ratio, or 1000 x 1500 pixels. Max size 32MB. PNG or .PEG file type.
  • Video pins: 1:1, 2:3, 4:5, or 9:16 aspect ratio. Recommended 6-15 seconds in length, though max length is 15 minutes. Max size 2GB. MP4, MOV or M4V file type.
  • Carousel pins: 1:1 or 2:3 aspect ratio. Max size 20 MB per image. 2-5 images per carousel. PNG or JPEG file type.
  • Shopping pins: Follow the same specs as standard pins.
  • Collections: 1:1 or 2:3 aspect ratio for hero image. 3-24 secondary creatives. Max size 10MB. PNG or JPEG file type.
  • Quiz pins: 2:3 aspect ratio, or 1000 x 1500 pixels. 3-60 seconds in length if using video. Max size 32MB. BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WEBP, MP4, MOV, or M4V file type.
  • Showcase pins: 2:3 aspect ratio for title pin and cards. 1:1 aspect ratio for feature images. 3-60 seconds in length if using video. Max size 32MB. BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WEBP, MP4, MOV, or M4V file type.

How much do Pinterest ads cost?

Your Pinterest ad costs are fully up to you, as you set your own bidding maximums. However, keep in mind that the more you spend, the more potential reach you gain.

When creating a Pinterest ad, you’ll be able to choose between two options: a lifetime budget or a daily budget.

A lifetime budget runs your ad continuously until that budget has been hit, then turns the ad off.

A daily budget runs the ad each day until your daily limit has been reached. This is a continuous ad that runs until you manually turn it off unless you set specific date parameters.

Campaign budget lifetime best performance

However, just because you’re able to set your own budget doesn’t mean you need to go in blindly. Let’s talk about benchmarks so that you can get an idea of what you’ll be spending to reach your goals.

One survey found that, on average, you’re looking at:

  • Up to $0.10 per click
  • Up to $2.00 per conversion
  • Up to $1.50 per 1000 impressions

More than half of the survey’s respondents spend up to $500 per month on Pinterest to see these types of results, meaning you can make a big impact without needing a huge ad budget.

How to create ads on Pinterest

Ready to start running your own ads on Pinterest? We’ll walk you through the eight steps it takes to easily create ads on Pinterest and start increasing reach, traffic, and sales through this platform.

1. Head to the ads manager

First things first, you need to navigate to the Pinterest ads manager. If you’re already set up with a Pinterest business account (which is required for running ads), as soon as you go to Pinterest.com, you’ll be sent to your business hub.

From there, click the Business hub menu in the top left corner to access more options. Under Ads, head to Create campaign to get started.

Ads Manager business hub create campaign

2. Select your campaign creation mode

There are two modes for creating your Pinterest ads campaign: automated and manual. The next step is to decide between the two.

Select campaign creation method automated or manual options

With manual campaigns, you can get a bit deeper with your objective, targeting, and bidding. If you want to create some of the more complex types of ads, you’ll need to run a manual campaign.

However, most of the steps are very similar, so we’re going to continue by showcasing what it’s like to create an automated campaign. Play around with the manual campaign options as well — but understand that even though it gives you more options, it’s still a similar process.

3. Choose your objective

With automated campaigns, you can choose from two main objectives: conversion and consideration.

Choose main objective consideration or conversions

In order to run a conversion campaign, you need to have the Pinterest tag that tracks conversions set up on your website. Otherwise, you can only run consideration campaigns that help get your business and its products/services.

Some of the manual objectives you can choose from include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Video views
  • Video completion
  • Consideration
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales

4. Select or create your pin(s)

After choosing your objective, it’s time to select or create the pin that you want to feature in your ad.

Select or create pins to promote

You can easily choose from pins you already have created and saved to your boards in order to save time. Or, you can create a new pin. You’ll need to choose this option to create one of the more in-depth ads, like a collection pin.

5. Add targeting details

One nice thing about the automated campaign is that it selects your targeting for you based on who Pinterest thinks will benefit most from your ad.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you’ll need to create a manual campaign. But Pinterest also benefits from serving relevant ads to their users, so you can trust their judgment.

target who will see ad with age restrictions and location settings

In this area, you can select any restrictions you want to set, such as specific ages (e.g., if you’re promoting alcoholic beverages) or specific locations (e.g., if you only operate in certain areas of the world).

6. Input your budget

Now it’s time to decide how much you want to spend on your ad.

The automated campaign lets you choose from a few options, like $5-10 per day, but you can input your own daily budget if you want to set a different amount.

Select budget and duration of campaign

Then you’ll choose the duration of your ad. Preset options include running continuously, 10 days, or 30 days. You can also set your own duration if you want to try a different time frame, like a full quarter or a two week span.

7. Publish your campaign

Finally, it’s time to publish! Review all of the settings you input to make sure they match your desired targeting, budget, duration, ad creative, and anything else you’ve set.

Create campaign summary and estimated impact with potential audience size for ad group

You can also, at this point, choose to switch to advanced ad creation in order to input even more changes that you couldn’t throughout the automated campaign creation process.

Or, if you’re happy with how it looks, simply click Publish and let your ad start running!

8. Monitor your campaign

Once you’ve published your campaign, you don’t want to let it sit without monitoring it. Throughout the campaign, you can return to your Ads Manager to monitor its performance and ensure it’s reaching the right audience.

Make any changes you need to make if it’s not performing well. You don’t want to waste money on a useless campaign.

Then of course, at the end, you can measure your campaign performance to your overall goals to see if you were able to hit the audience, the reach, and/or the sales you were looking for.

Best practices for advertising on Pinterest

Want to get the most out of your Pinterest ads? Keep these best practices in mind as you create your ad visuals and build out your campaigns.

Test both automated and manual campaigns

Automated campaigns make your life easier. Pinterest even lets you know at the onset that creating an automated campaign can take just 2-3 minutes while manual ads can take up to an hour, depending on how in-depth you want to get.

If you plan on running multiple campaigns, taking advantage of the automated settings can save you a lot of time, though it might not get you the results you want.

This is why testing both options is a good idea. If manual campaigns are generating exponentially more results, then of course it will make sense to dedicate that time to your campaigns.

But if the results are the same, or if automated campaigns are performing better, don’t waste extra time building out a manual campaign. Use the automated features and sit back to watch your results pile in.

Use vertical aspect ratios

Take a look at this search query on Pinterest for “home decor.”

home decor search results on Pinterest with vertical aspect ratios

Every image is some form of vertical. Imagine if your ad was a small horizontal amongst these vertical images. It would get lost. Even square images don’t stand out as much as vertical images, though Pinterest’s ad specs say you can use square.

To ensure your ad stands out amongst the other results, stick to vertical aspect ratios, usually a 2:3 aspect ratio or around 1000 x 1500 pixels.

Stay on brand

Incorporate your brand fonts and colors into your Pinterest ad graphics. Make sure your ads and your pins on this platform are recognizable and similar to your ads and graphics on other platforms. This can help with brand recognition and strength across the board.

Choose the right landing page

Be strategic about the landing page you pair with your Pinterest ad. You should be sending your ad clickers to the page that continues the journey they started by viewing your ad.

For example, if your ad showcases a specific couch, make sure it leads to that couch’s product page, rather than your website’s home page or a full collection page. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to take action after seeing your ad.

Play with different ad types

You might start your Pinterest ad journey with a handful of standard ads. They’re simple and effective, so why not?

However, we recommend testing out the various ad types. Try a quiz ad or collection ad to put even more personalized content in front of your audience. See which ad types perform best. Aim to consistently increase your reach and sales.

Include a call-to-action

Tell ad viewers exactly what you want them to do, either in your pin description or on your ad graphic. Calls-to-action like “learn more,” “shop now,” or “take the quiz” can help increase clicks and conversions.

Get creative with your visuals

Finally, get creative with your visuals. You don’t have to just have a single product photo as your ad creative. You can create a collage, use a video, or design a graphic that showcases even more to your audience.

More creative ad visuals grab attention better, increasing views, clicks, and conversions.

3 great examples of Pinterest ads

Get even more inspiration before you launch your first (or next) Pinterest ad. Here are three proven success stories with Pinterest advertising.

1. Kroger

Kroger ran some holiday ads during the 2023 holiday season in an effort to get even more shoppers in the door. One of those ads was a quiz ad meant to help people discover new holiday dishes so they can add the key ingredients to their Kroger shopping list.

Kroger holiday flavours quiz

By positioning itself as the number one destination for holiday grocery shopping—and by using unique and visually appealing ad creative—Kroger was able to increase awareness, generate a 50% quiz completion rate, and hit a 67% lower CPM (cost per impression) than estimated.

2. Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty is a women’s activewear company that runs shopping ads through Pinterest. With basic product photos as the ad creative, Sweaty Betty targets people by identifying the most popular exercises and clothing types, focusing their ads solely on those.

Sweaty Betty women's activewear run and yoga workout clothes ad

This trend analysis has worked well for Sweaty Betty, helping Pinterest become their number one ads channel, and increasing their ROAS (return on ad spend) by 39% YoY (year over year).

3. Cetaphil

Cetaphil knows that Pinterest is always on top of new trends, so the brand decided to lean into that with its first big Pinterest ad campaign.

By using language like “2023 Trend” in its ad and creating an eye-catching, product-centric graphic, Cetaphil was able to grab the audience attention it was looking for.

Cetaphil Canada 2023 trend simple skincare ad

With these ads, Cetaphil was able to increase brand awareness by 4.5% as well as boost pin recall, helping to improve the overall conversation around its brand and its face wash.

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