Do Pinterest Ads work? Have you heard from other business owners that they don’t?

In this episode, Erin Harding, our Pinterest Ads Director at Simple Pin Media, teaches us why they DO help people get long lasting results, while meeting their audience at every stage of their journey.

Erin has managed and consulted on hundreds of campaigns for clients and ads students in the Simple Pin Ads Society

Erin’s guest on the podcast is Chelsea Hall, a Pinterest Management Expert and member of our Simple Pin Ads Society. She specializes in helping businesses understand how to use Pinterest to plan ahead, save ideas, and take action.

So you’ve been told Pinterest ads don’t work?

Both Erin and Chelsea have been hearing this a lot, especially in Facebook groups and through inquiries on Instagram.

Chelsea thinks a lot of it has to do with the fact that there’s a very different mindset when it comes to Pinterest marketing, in comparison to other social media platforms. (Pinterest often gets pigeonholed as a social media platform, but it’s actually search and discovery – similar to Google)

A lot of business owners expect that Pinterest ads will work the same as Facebook or Instagram. The problem is, they don’t act the same. This is actually a benefit, because people are going to Pinterest to discover new ideas and get inspired. They’re not just consuming content.

pinterest ads mindset

The mindset around Pinterest ads often isn’t there. Business owners (understandably) want more of a quick win, and Pinterest is much more of a slow burn, similar to Google and YouTube. It takes time, ads included.

Erin says she sees this all the time with clients and members. There’s an education piece that’s missing, whether you’re doing it on your own or having someone like Chelsea or Simple Pin Media manage for you.

If you don’t know how Pinterest works for your business, then you don’t know how Pinterest ads are going to work. The assumption that they will work like Facebook, TikTok, even Google, will send you down the wrong path.

You’re not going to get the same type of results, and they don’t work in the same way.

RELATED: Is Pinterest Social Media? (podcast/blog post)

what’s different about pinterest?

While it’s true that if things are going well on Facebook or Instagram for your business, moving to Pinterest and Pinterest ads makes sense. But you can’t take the tactics you use on those platforms and apply them to Pinterest.

People use Pinterest to plan their wedding, the decor of their nursery, remodeling their kitchen, etc. But these things can take time. People may save your Pin on the best wedding shoes, but not actually BUY those shoes for weeks or even months.

Chelsea gave the example of how she found information on feeding her young daughter solid foods. She started searching for information when her daughter was about six months old, then got targeted with ads based on her searches. She saved some of these ideas to her Pinterest boards. Then almost a year later, went to those boards and bought a course on baby-led weaning and solid food transitions.

This doesn’t mean that every buyer will take a full year to make a decision, but most Pinterest users are on the platform to plan ahead and save ideas for the future.

For example, Chelsea said she would go to Instagram looking for ideas and inspiration for a meal to serve her daughter, but she goes to Pinterest to find a solution to a problem.

If you’re a business owner looking to get on Pinterest, you have to shift your mindset from showing your audience how to do something, to actively teaching them why. Preparing a meal a certain way (Instagram) can help your child want to eat the food, which then plays into future eating habits (Pinterest).

RELATED: Pinterest vs Instagram for Marketing Your Business (podcast/blog post)

so how do people use pinterest?

Let’s use the example of remodeling a bathroom. When your customer is at the planning stage (top of the funnel), they’re looking for inspiration, saving pictures and ideas.

The next stage is deciding what materials to use, specific layouts and designs, what type of flooring. This is more middle of the funnel, getting more specific with the planning.

Once it’s time to start buying, people may go back to those Pins and Pinterest ads that they saved in the beginning and start purchasing! It could be a few weeks later, or several months.

RELATED: Inspire, Inform, Decide Pinterest Framework (podcast/blog post)

instant results or play the long game?

With Pinterest, it’s just really rare to see instant results. On Instagram, your ideal customer might save your post, but for the most part, they see it and either purchase or move on. With Pinterest, if they save it to a board, it’s on there forever. They can go back to it whenever they want.

Conversions are not immediate, especially if you’re just starting out.

If you don’t have that engagement on Pinterest already, you have to go through this process of establishing a baseline. Who is your audience, what are they doing? And then you have to meet your audience at all of their phases.

You have to inspire them. You want them to consider you for their planning and decision making. Going straight to the bottom of the funnel (the purchase) just doesn’t work well on Pinterest.

This is what a lot of people try to do. They say – “If I’m going to run Pinterest ads, I have to get xyz results”. This is just not how it works.

black notebook with air pods on top, next to eyeglasses.

how does it work?

Teaching people to give their ads the right amount of time and ad spend to get results, is one of the biggest parts of Pinterest ads management.

If your audience is on Pinterest and your product has been proven to sell, you will get those results.

“You have to meet your audience at all of the phases. You have to inspire them. You want them to consider you for that decision making and then they need to take the action and you need to meet them at every single phase.”

Chelsea says that in the Ads Society community forum, she will often see new members post about how their ad they’ve been running for 3-4 days isn’t working and nothing is happening. They’re in panic mode.

She says there’s such a misconception around ads. Many people think that if you start an ad, you’re supposed to get an immediate return on investment.

The time it takes to yield higher results on Pinterest does mean you’ll be paying a bit more in the beginning.

Pinterest needs enough time to understand what your ad is about, what audience to serve it to, and more.

RELATED: 3 mistakes you’re making with Pinterest ads

is this a good thing or a bad thing?

What takes Pinterest so long is also a benefit of Pinterest. The platform is using your keywords and the interests people have, to really target a specific audience.

Another benefit is that you can run ads on Pinterest, people save your Pins to their boards, and even after you’ve stopped or paused the ads, you may still see conversions coming in. At this point, you’re not paying for those conversions, so it’s all gravy, so to speak.

It really does benefit to be advertising on Pinterest for most people, for most businesses. Have a product that does well in other places and you think your audience is on Pinterest? Give Pinterest ads a try!

Ultimately, no matter what you do, it is going to benefit and kickstart you on Pinterest. Even if you see that your product didn’t necessarily work well or the sales cycle was off, you will get data and understand more about your product and ideal customer. And your ads may continue to get traction even AFTER you stop running them.

The way that you can meet your customer at every phase of their journey is truly something you don’t get on other platforms. One of the most important things to know before running ads is HOW Pinterest works and how it can benefit your business.

To learn more about Chelsea, check out her website or follow her on Instagram.

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