This week, Erin Harding is stepping in for Kate to bring you all of the best tips and golden nuggets of information you’ll need to learn how to advertise on Pinterest for the holiday season.

Erin is the Director of Promoted Pins Management and the Simple Pin Ads Society at Simple Pin Media. The Simple Pin Ads Society is sponsoring this episode since it’s all about how to use promoted pins to generate holiday sales.

Our guest today is Alex Kopytov, founder and president of Kingpin Services (a Pinterest Advertising Agency for eCommerce). He is also part of the team here at Simple Pin Media. 

We’re so excited about this episode! We are going to talk all about:

  • how and when to start your holiday advertising on Pinterest
  • who shops during the holidays
  • campaign-specific tips. 

Before we dive in, I do want to tell you about our Simple Pin Ads Society. It’s our membership community that’s designed to guide you through the ins and outs of how to advertise on Pinterest.

Through live coaching calls, workshops, and an exclusive membership forum, you will have all the tools you need at your fingertips to build, start, and run Pinterest ad campaigns for you or your clients. 

Now let’s get into our conversation with Alex about holiday advertising on Pinterest with a brief overview of what we already know. 

collage of promoted pins on Pinterest - text "How to Advertise on Pinterest to Generate More Holiday Sales".

Pinterest is a platform where people go to discover new ideas and find inspiration. Holiday times are no exception. Alex says Pinterest is the first place holiday shoppers go for gift-giving ideas — and they show up early for that holiday inspiration!

Recent studies show it’s a great idea to promote your product or offer early on Pinterest during the holidays. Brands that start their holiday campaign earlier in the season get better results: 

  • There are 4.7x more conversions when people are exposed to Pinterest ads earlier in the holiday season
  • Brands advertising early see an average 6% increase in sales 

Alex believes the most important thing to understand about holiday advertising on Pinterest is proper timing. It may come as a surprise to you how early your advertising needs to start.

Pinterest has reported that by Cyber Monday (November 29th in 2021), 60% of holiday gift sales will have already been made. 

That being said, Alex says the most effective holiday campaigns start in September with additional phases added later.

So now is the time to begin your holiday marketing on Pinterest!

If you haven’t launched your campaign yet don’t worry. The first step is awareness-based marketing. You still have time to double up during the higher converting months that are ahead.

Alex sees the time from September to October as a period for inspiration. According to Pinterest’s best practices, it’s the most effective time to launch a campaign for the holidays. Therefore, awareness and consideration campaigns should be at the forefront of your ad strategy. 

As for ad imagery, Alex says you can begin using holiday themes now but it’s not necessary yet. Just having your regular pin images appear regularly in the feed is sufficient at this point.

By November, shoppers are beginning to make purchases. This is the perfect time to launch a conversion campaign. Pinterest suggests continuing to run your awareness and consideration campaigns to prospect new clients. But that requires a large budget.

If you don’t have the budget to run three campaigns at once, my advice is to opt for the conversion and consideration campaigns with a budget focused on conversion

— Alex

By November we recommend that your ad visuals contain fully holiday-themed design elements and have a strong call to action to convert now.

Moving into December through January, purchases are still being made so Pinterest suggests you keep the ad spend up and focused on performance. 

For those with a limited budget, Alex recommends allocating most of the ad spend between October and November. Then, launch a catalog dynamic retargeting campaign to those who have added-to-cart from your store or visit your site and/or a retargeting consideration campaign for those who have engaged with your pin. 

While it’s true many shoppers will stop holiday shopping one to two weeks into December (in order for purchases to arrive in time), don’t forget there is an abundance of gift card purchases made during the holidays as well.

People will be spending gift cards and returning gifts they don’t want. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to catch their eye. We’ve observed that advertising for the holidays into January and even a bit into February can still be effective.

Holiday Elements for Pinterest Ads

Let’s talk more specifics about the ad elements that help create a holiday feel. 

We know messaging needs to be different around the holidays

Messaging should be more gift-giving-focused relative to other months. Holiday terms that people are searching for include:

  • stocking stuffers
  • gifts under the tree
  • gift guides
  • gifts for men
  • gifts for women
  • gifts for kids

You’ll want to make sure your pins are optimized for those keywords.

Related: Use Gift Guides to Create Passive Income

Stocking stuffer messaging works especially well for small products. One thing we know is that people will often buy five different products instead of one when they’re small and they’re shown as “the perfect stocking stuffer.”

As for the design elements on pins, Alex says it’s time to bring out the reds, greens, and gold colors. It’s also a good idea to incorporate holiday-related creative elements, such as:

  • bows
  • Christmas lights
  • stockings
  • holly berries
  • candy canes
  • snowflakes
  • Santa hats 

All those elements work to bring that holiday feel to your pins. You can even duplicate your highest-performing pin and put those design elements on it.

Calls to action are different for the holidays too. Here are some effective holiday marketing CTAs to consider:

  • Give the gift of __
  • Start Gifting
  • Deliver the Perfect Gift
  • Shop the Holiday Collection

Videos are also big during the holidays. Unboxing videos work particularly well. 

Alex suggests incorporating action shots of your product — putting it under the tree, in a stocking, etc. add that perspective of what it looks like as a gift. 

Alex described a video reshoot a client did for his wood-burning designs in which they added a Christmas-themed design in the video. It worked well for his client and was still performing well into March (in fact, it was their highest-performing pin).

Using something that’s already performing well and adding a little bit of holiday element to it can be effective.

Toss a gold bow on that and you’re good to go!

Sometimes the holidays just sneak up on us and we realize we should have been prepared earlier. So there may not be a whole lot of time to do extra photoshoots.

However, I will say as a “professional shopper” who does a lot of online shopping, when I can imagine a small child near the Christmas tree opening a gift and seeing that look on his or her face, it speaks to me as the gift-giver. It’s worth taking that extra step, if possible, to invest a bit in your holiday imagery.

Six Pinterest Holiday Shopper Personas

When it comes to learning how to advertise on Pinterest, it’s crucial to understand what motivates certain pinners to make a purchase. To help us in this process, Pinterest has identified six holiday shopper personalities.

The early bird

The nature of a typical pinner is to plan. But early birds are next-level planners trying to find the best deals or offers. They start their journey earlier than most. Some begin their planning right after Christmas and continue throughout the year. 

Coupon codes, free offers, or Buy One/Get One messaging will appeal to the early bird shopper. 

the traditionalist

This pinner wants everything to be normal this year. They enjoy the rituals of the holidays. They want specific things to happen year over year. 

Don’t try to change the traditions for this pinner. They want to stick to traditions they know like familiar desserts, opening one gift on Christmas Eve, or fixing the same holiday roast every year. 

the self-gifter

The self-gifter is a “one for them, one for me” kind of shopper.

Buy One Get One offers or messaging around “A gift to you from Santa” will speak to the self-gifter.

Self-gifters have an I deserve it mindset. If they want something they’re just going to get it. Some, like me, will put that “From Santa” tag on it, sneak it under the tree, and call it all good. 

Don’t forget about us when you plan your holiday marketing!

the rookie host

This is the very first time they’re going to be hosting the big holiday get-together. It might even be the first time they’re hosting ever. 

Easy batch cocktails, appetizers, hostess gift-giving, and any product that will make their bash a blast is the type of content that will catch their eye. 

Use messaging that communicates the ideas of easy and simple. Think about all the things that go into entertaining for the holidays from the perspective of someone who is doing this for the very first time.

the “shipping first” shopper

This shopper doesn’t want to be bothered at all with ordering a gift, having it sent to them, having to wrap it up, and then send it off again. They want to spend the least amount of time possible to give a thoughtful gift. 

Messaging to this shopper should include things like:

  • free gift wrapping
  • guaranteed shipping times
  • free shipping
  • delivery to their doorstep.

The next-level party planner

This is the hostess with the mostest.

Inspire this pinner with:

  • extravagant outfits
  • photo backdrops
  • signature cocktails
  • anything that’s Instagram-worthy.

Playful, colorful, bold, and sparkly imagery will reach this shopper. 

They are also attracted to videos. So don’t miss out on video and idea pin opportunities for the next-level party planner.

Now that we’ve talked about who is shopping and how and when to reach them, let’s talk about the actual campaign itself. 

how to advertise on pinterest: holiday ad campaigns

Alex points out that holiday campaigns differ from those that run outside of the holiday season in a couple of ways. 

First, the keywords that you use in the campaigns will be more holiday-focused because that’s what pinners are searching for. They’re more gift-giving targeted pins like “holiday gifts for my husband” or “stocking stuffer ideas for my kids”. The keywords people are bidding on and pinners are searching for are different than they would be in July. 

The biggest difference in holiday campaigns is the cost of advertising around this time. More businesses are trying to reach customers so the competition for that ad space is high. The cost per action of acquiring a purchaser increases. 

There are a lot more advertisers spending those advertising dollars to get those eyeballs looking at their ads. You need to consider this when planning for your holiday campaign budget.

Alex also feels holiday pinners have a more “down-funnel” mentality than during other periods of the year. People are more willing to buy now than buy later because there’s a deadline. They will act more quickly when they are inspired for holiday shopping than they will during other times of the year. 

Think about how all of this flows with your own tendency toward holiday shopping. I start casually looking around the beginning of September because I don’t want to miss any of the holiday gift guides from the big stores like Target. 

Those guides come out quite early and your kids get hold of them. Then they see these things that they just have to have. By the time you can make it to the store, they’re sold out! 

September is that early time for taking a look at what’s new for the season and forming a plan of attack to get the best deal that you can.

Another thing that is important in September is the Save metric. People may save your ad because they don’t want to forget what you have to offer but they’re not quite ready to buy. 

This is the time to get them on your email list. Offer a discount if they sign-up. In this way, you can catch their attention and collect their email. Then you can nurture them through that purchase decision. 

Don’t forget that all those engagements and saves will come in handy when you want to implement a retargeting campaign. If you want to reach the last-minute buyers, you can run a campaign for those that have engaged with your pins in September and then run a campaign targeting them again in December or later in the year.

That’s the big advantage of Pinterest over any other platform in digital marketing. Pinners are saving your ads. Name me one other place where you can have your audience save your ads and share them and make them go viral.

— Alex
collage of gift-giving images.

When it comes to how to advertise on Pinterest, every person comes with a different experience, every product is different, and every business is different. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. But what we know about holiday advertising on Pinterest and the ideas we’ve shared today are true for a typical Pinterest shopper. 

I’ve noticed there always seem to be a lot of companies advertising on Pinterest that you don’t see year-round. 

My guess is they have a higher advertising budget during the holidays so instead of putting all of their eggs in one basket, they’re branching out into Pinterest just during the holidays. 

For someone who doesn’t advertise on Pinterest year-round, it can be important to understand the difference between consideration and conversion campaigns.

Alex says nine times out of ten, beginning advertisers on Pinterest begin with a consideration campaign to garner an audience and get them to the website.

If you are just starting to advertise on Pinterest, we do recommend starting with a consideration campaign. Identifying your audience and being able to see how people interact with you on Pinterest are important first goals.

You don’t want to start with a conversion campaign without this information. It just won’t work well — especially if it’s your first time.

The data you gather about your audience and the events that move them through your sales funnel during the consideration campaign can inform the direction of a conversion campaign. 

A conversion campaign allows you to optimize for one of those events — whether it is checkout, add to cart, sign-ups, etc. Then you can fine-tune your strategy using your results.

We hope our discussion about how to advertise on Pinterest (The Holiday Edition) has been helpful as you begin or continue your advertising on Pinterest for the holidays.

Now you know the ins and outs of:

  • when to start your holiday advertising on Pinterest
  • who shops on Pinterest during the holidays
  • how to use different elements inside your advertising
  • different campaign-specific tips to consider.

Thank you for joining us today and don’t forget to check out the Simple Pin Ads Society. We hope to see you there!

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