Pinterest eCommerce strategy – How to use Pinterest for promoting your online shop

Pinterest has visuals: while Instagram has built its business model on the spontaneously shared moments, Pinterest has actually become what it is because of the well edited and selected pieces of content. Anyone can compile their own collections, and many people do this in order to collect ideas.

Ideas that can be realized later, ideas for cooking, building houses, interior decoration and for a million other things where online commerce plays a very important role.

Therefore, we are going to review how you can use Pinterest effectively if you want to increase the conversion of your online store, if you want to direct more customers to your product pages while already having captured their imagination.


We are going to talk about the following:

  • Useful data about Pinterest
  • Mobile device users and Pinterest
    • How important is it actually?
  • Types of pins
    • Buyable pins
    • Promoted pins
    • Traditional pins
  • Targeting and following
  • How to use Pinterest efficiently?
  • Is it worthwhile for you using Pinterest?


Some useful data about Pinterest


To begin with, let’s see what is definitely worth knowing about Pinterest.

  • 110 million active users
  • The estimated number of users for March 2017 will be 200 million
  • Users spend an average 100 minutes on Pinterest per month
  • The 13th most popular website in the US and the 30th in the world
  • A total of more than 50 billion pins
  • 70% of users are women, 30% are men


Mobile device users and Pinterest


Even though the popularity of Pinterest is much lower than that of social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, still, it represents a significant power in online commerce.

Currently, Pinterest has 110 million active users – that’s how many people log in to the site at least once a month.

The problem with the pins for advertising purposes is that they appear exclusively in the mobile phone application – this means that the desktop users can’t be reached with such messages. (We are very soon going to talk about how this is still possible.)

All you have to do is look at the statistics in order to be able to see how attractive this social platform is for ecommerce stores. Everybody can create their own boards on Pinterest, where they can freely pin different pieces of content. At present there are

  • 130 million boards with the topic of interior decoration,
  • 180 million with that of food and beverages, and there are
  • 300 million boards focusing on fashion.


A considerable proportion of the items on these boards are elements that people would like to have. Things that have fascinated them from some point of view, towards which they feel some kind of visual attraction.

We have already talked about it earlier, how great the significance of authentic and good quality product photos is. You shouldn’t use stock photos for the presentation of your products, but rather photos that fulfil two criteria:


  • they show the product from every angle to the potential customer, and
  • they help to compensate for the experience what kind of feeling it would give to take the product into one’s hands and examining it.


In case of Pinterest, these aspects are combined with another one: creativity.


How useful is Pinterest actually?


It’s good news for e-merchants that according to the surveys, the majority of the users have already used the platform for shopping, which means that they are not at all reluctant to spend their money at the same place where they meet the content.

As a matter of fact, many people use it to make purchasing decisions: they search for products, compare them, thus merchants can superbly use the pins to convince those that are hesitating. The proportion is quite impressive: 9 out of 10 users have already used the site for such purposes.


Statistics: Approximately 75% of the content appearing on Pinterest originates from various brands – on the other hand, this also includes those pieces of content shared by the users that were uploaded by the brands themselves.


A great deal of people use Pinterest to get new ideas – at the same time, capturing their attention is not easy, since an amazing quantity of new visual content is uploaded on the site each day.

A brand that doesn’t have a strategy, uses only buyable pins: pins that users can directly purchase with on Pinterest, without leaving the site.


This phenomenon is worth a bypass.The biggest social media platforms, e.g. Facebook, nowadays promote original content publishing and not content sharing between the users. Instead of being an aggregator, they want to become a source, the appearance of Instant Article suggests the same. They don’t want us to leave the page – they’d rather realize the content consumption, the conversion within the site.

It’s a question how successful this ambition will be, however, regarding the current user habits, ecommerce stores can’t really do anything else but to adapt to the trends and try to reach as many sales even within these platforms as they can.


Types of pins

pin types


Buyable pins


Buyable pins have both advantages and disadvantages. One of its obvious disadvantages is that you can’t reach desktop users with it – at the same time, the majority of the users of Pinterest use the mobile application, which means this doesn’t represent such a serious disadvantage as it seems at first glance.

It might also create a problem that the willingness of mobile users to purchase is much lower than that of those browsing from desktop. At the same time, the gap is getting smaller, the proportion of the users purchasing through their mobile devices is increasing month by month.

An advantage of such pins is that there’s a big blue purchase button on them, so the CTA is given, moreover, Pinterest even displays the price, and the transaction can be performed within the application, without being redirected to the online shop.

This latter represents a disadvantage again of course: although you can offer other goods for the users in follow-up letters, there’s no such opportunity for up-sell as you would have on the page of an ecommerce store.

Currently, Pinterest can be integrated with 5 ecommerce platforms, which are the following:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • BigCommerce
  • Demandware
  • IBM Commerce


Promoted pins


You also have the opportunity to promote your company, your products or even your online shop, with the help of promoted pins. Pinterest, like other large platforms, has an algorithm monitoring the behaviour of the users, thus they are capable of the personalized display of the promoted pins based on the areas of interest and previous activities of the user.

A great advantage of promoted pins is that they don’t appear as obvious advertisements, but they appear natively on the surface. You can learn only from a small text that someone has paid for them. The users also have the possibility of making a promoted pin disappear if they don’t like it – this facilitates personalization and at the same time, lets the users decide. Consequently, with all this, it becomes less likely that the promoted pins fall victims of banner blindness.

For this very reason though, you should make sure that they don’t appear to be advertisements. It’s worth creating them in a way that they raise the interest of the users for themselves. It should be the value of the content why the users click on them, whether they are useful or aesthetic.


You can run two sorts of campaigns with promoted pins.

  • You can increase your reach with one of them (this is the Engagement campaign), the system tries to display the pins in the best possible positions, and the advertiser pays for the impressions. These may be very useful if you want to build a brand, if you want to reach the audience by showing them your brand and your products.
  • The other type aims to get traffic: the aim of this is to direct the users to your website, and the advertiser pays for the clicks, not for the displays.


Traditional pins


If you don’t want to spend on advertising, you can still upload pins that help you build your brand: you should just simply create pieces of content that will most probably be interesting for your target audience, and make selections of these.


Targeting and following


Pinterest selects what pieces of content it shows to the users mainly based on their previous activities and their areas of interest. As a consequence, if you build your own pieces of content smartly, you will have a good chance of reaching them even without significant targeting.

On the other hand, you can more strongly target paid pin types. On Pinterest, there are basically 5 criteria according to which you can determine who you want to display your pieces of content to:

  • search terms
  • geographical location
  • language
  • device
  • gender


Unfortunately, following is not that simple: you can monitor the URL of promoted pins if and only the original pin itself already had following parameters – this, on the other hand can obviously distort the data, because you won’t be able to separate the paid and the organic traffic.

However, there’s opportunity to edit the promoted pins afterwards, to add following parameters to the URL this way.


How to use Pinterest efficiently?


When planning the campaign, it’s worth keeping in mind that you can achieve the best results with a single, well-selected pin. Even if you used several of them, a single pin would bring the majority of the conversions, and for this very reason, you can be the most efficient if you focus on one in the first place.

You will have to determine which is the best with A/B testing, of course – since we are talking about a platform that focuses mainly on creativity, it’s almost impossible to tell in advance what will and what won’t be successful, so you can’t skip this step.

You should also make sure that the focus of the campaign stays narrow enough. You shouldn’t want to show everything at the same time, choose a single product, a single area that you will strengthen – and target the best fitting audience with the tools that are at your disposal. (You will have a great deal of opportunities to do that: you can determine 420 of the areas of interest only.)

Use vertical pins: the height dimension should be larger than width, because thus it will take up more space on the screen of the user, thanks to the organizing principles of the platform.


tips Tip: It’s best if you use your organic pins as advertisements as well: you can save A/B testing by using what your audience already likes, and you can make a buyable or promoted pin of it straight away.


You can also do retargeting: in case you are working with a Pinterest Marketing API Partner, you will have the chance of reaching the users again on various platforms, and you can effectively increase the number of conversions with retargeting.


Is it worth using Pinterest?

The greatest proportion of online customers are present on Pinterest. According to the 2016 Internet Trends report 55% of the American users have already used it for shopping, while all the other platforms fall far behind it: this proportion is only 12% in case of Facebook and Instagram, 9% for Twitter, and only 5% for LinkedIn.

This, and all other statistics show that the users have already got used to shopping on Pinterest, they are willingly using the platform for that, they are looking for ideas, and they are also using it to reinforce their purchasing decisions.

Since you may be able to take advantage of the opportunities of brand building even for free, and advertising can effectively work based on all that, in case you invest time and effort in the elaboration of a good campaign, not being present on Pinterest is simply a missed opportunity, if you are an online store operator.

Of course, you will have to put a lot of energy into building a good brand here: you’ll have to take content creation seriously, you will have to spend money on professional work – photographers, graphic designers – producing you the pins that will be successful organically as well.

Pinterest is perfectly capable of increasing the turnover and the popularity of your ecommerce store at the same time, which is why we suggest you start planning your first pin campaign today if you haven’t yet done that.



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