A look at one possible strategy to effectively use Pinterest’s new ads platform from one of Brafton’s own social media managers.

Use real-time user data to better target new Pinterest ads

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Pinterest is enhancing their advertising and targeting capabilities to better compete with leaders in the social media advertising space. The Wall Street Journal reported that Pinterest now sees about 150 million monthly users, and their ad targeting options have expanded beyond Promoted Pins to help marketers better reach qualified audiences. In fact, since Pinterest has more users than ever, and is even growing faster than Twitter, according to Adweek, marketers have the ability to reach their ideal target audiences using the network’s new line of advertising options.

I asked Brafton’s Social Media Engagement and Promotions Manager, Allie Stone, how she’d manage a Pinterest ad campaign. While Pinterest ads can be valuable for anyone in the B2C marketing space, we decided to approach the social media strategy for a brand that doesn’t inherently “fit” into any one of Pinterest’s typical categories.

Allie lays out a possible campaign for a hypothetical company in the home security space. Let’s call them “HomeProtector.

Target users granularly with Pinterest ads

With the newest version of Pinterest’s ads platform, Allie will be able to target HomeProtector’s audiences based on how they have interacted with the content on the client’s website, as well as on their Pinterest page. Allie can now segment and target HomeProtector’s in-network audiences via five avenues of engagement:

  • Likes
  • Saves
  • Comments
  • Closeups
  • Clicks

Engage every audience segment

We chose the home security industry because its products aren’t an obvious match for the stereotypically arts-and-crafts culture of Pinterest.

“Pinterest is extremely popular with hobbyists, designers and artists,” Allie said. “But it can be a very effective platform for marketing your business, especially in the B2C space.”

Let’s say HomeProtector had been using Pinterest for a few years, and has found moderate success. The engagement hasn’t been through the roof, but there is still plenty of user data for Allie to leverage. The first step is to identify how audiences are currently engaging with the brand. Then Allie can begin segmenting the lists of users.

Closeups and comments = Early-stage nurture

If people have commented on or viewed HomeProtector’s Pins close-up, they likely would be fairly high in the funnel, since these actions represent some of the lightest engagement options Pinterest offers. Allie would target these audiences with content that had a broad appeal – rather than immediately try to sell them home cameras or alarm systems, she’d show them eye-catching photos of houses that they can imagine themselves in.

What to post:

  • Beautiful photos of homes to keep audiences returning, and to establish your brand.
  • Content depicting daily life and luxury in houses to help viewers imagine themselves in the photos, living that lifestyle.
  • Photos of belongings, valuables and family members enjoying their lives in their homes to imply how valuable the home is, and how important it is to protect theirs.

“Pinterest is a lifestyle social network – not a store – so our Pins will need to follow the general Pinterest style,” Allie explained.

This Pinterest board of "dream homes" helps to capture people's imaginations, and sell the lifestyle.

Compiling Pinboards of “dream houses” like these can help HomeProtector capture its users’ attention and sell the lifestyle of living in a house that you love, and feel safe in.

Goal: Get this audience to move into the next stage and start saving and liking Pins.

Likes and saves = Stay on their radar

Pinners save and like posts when they don’t have time to look further into them at the moment, or if they plan to revisit them later. Allie pointed out that the only problem with this is that “they pretty much never remember to.” For a home security brand like HomeProtector, the start of summer might be a good time to re-engage people who have saved or liked Pins.

Sometimes re-engaging users requires a little push, and a minimal strip of text placed over a photo can be an effective way to mobilize your audience. Allie explained more about some of the constraints when posting a Pin with text across it: “As long as the image is the main focus – not the words – and as long as the image isn’t just of your product without a context, text can have a place in a Pin.”

What to post:

  • Post Pins about home security in May when audiences are likely planning vacations (leaving their homes unguarded).
  • Don’t shy away from using some subtle promotional text to enhance your Pins.

A luxurious bedroom or sleek modern bathroom, for example, can imply the necessity of protecting a home and its valuables, without directly advertising it. Pairing that with a caption offering a promotion, or encouraging users to visit HomeProtector.com can help move the audience toward converting.

Goal: Encourage users to not just pin HomeProtector’s content but return to the Pins and click through to the website.

Click-throughs = Time for the hard sell

The most immediately valuable segment of Pinners engaging with HomeProtector are those who have already clicked through to HomeProtector.com. This is a crucial stage in the Pinterest targeting campaign. Pinterest notes that people who click on Pins are 4.4x more likely to engage with that pin. They are the deepest in the funnel, and the closest to making a decision.

Plus, there’s even more data that Allie can collect on people who have clicked through to fine-tune HomeProtector’s targeted Pin campaign. Like many other retargeting ad services, Pinterest allows you embed a pixel code in your website’s HTML to keep track of how visitors engage with the site. If they later return to Pinterest, you can target them based on their activities on your site.

Allie’s strategy for audiences in this bucket would be to track actions like site searches, store checkouts, cart changes, form sign-ups and video plays. Each action is a goldmine of data that will help Allie determine what kinds of promoted Pins would resonate best with HomeProtector’s audience once they return to Pinterest.

What to post:

  • Buyable Pins to present people who had visited HomeProtector.com with an option to buy directly through Pinterest.
  • Photos of the actual product, not in the context of a home. This is where we can break the “Show The Lifestyle, Not The Product” rule by sharing images of those specific products.
  • Photos that reflect the content a user was engaging with on the website.
    • if a user viewed a video on the site about mobile app integration, post Pins about travel and tech.
    • If they read a blog about silent alarms, images of garage doors, elegant foyers and front hallways might convey the need for the product.

Goal: Entice users to go to the client’s site and make a purchase.

Pinterest ads can help you segment and target your audience based on how they interact with you on Pinterest or your website. No matter what a B2C brand is selling, Pinterest’s targeted ads can deliver specific and relevant messages to your audience. Before you start planning your own ad strategy, keep this one last piece of advice from Allie in mind:

“With a network like Pinterest, style is key. If it doesn’t look like Pinterest, your audiences won’t respond the way you want them to.”

Ben Silverman
Ben Silverman is a former marketing writer for Brafton. His writing experience dates back to his time reviewing music for The UMass Daily Collegian at UMass Amherst. Ben comes from a background in marketing in the classical and jazz industries.

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