If you’re running a Pinterest Promoted Pin campaign for awareness or traffic, you might be wondering – how do I know if it’s going well?
If it is, how can I get MORE great results?
If my ads aren’t working, how can I fix them?!
Don’t settle for ads that aren’t working – and don’t throw in the towel too soon. Pinterest ads can deliver incredible value when you get them right!
But First, Set up Conversion and Event Tracking
If you have a site that allows you to install conversion tracking, do this first. You’ll want to also install event tracking so you can see how your ads are impacting signups, checkouts, leads, etc. If this is too technical for you, drop me a note or tweet me (@alisammeredith) and I’ll introduce you to someone who can help. Seriously – do not skip this step just because it’s technical.
If you’re not able to do this (if, for instance you sell on Etsy, Teachers Pay Teachers and some other sites), you’ll need to use UTM URLs. Unfortunately, this will only give you part of the picture, so you’ll be looking in your dashboard for other important metrics, such as CTR and CPC. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Step Away From the Dashboard!
That’s right – give your ad a chance. If you analyze your ads after a week on Facebook, give it two on Pinterest. It just takes a bit longer for people to convert from a Pinterest ad – about twice as long as on other platforms.
Oh, and it takes 24 hours to see stats on your new ad. Can’t wait? Switch to viewing hourly stats – but even then you won’t usually see conversions quite yet.
The reason for the long game with Pinterest ads is also one of the wonderful things about the platform. And that is, 98% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded. People come to Pinterest for inspiration and discovery. They might visit your page, save your Pin, but only come back to buy or sign up a few weeks or a month later.
This means, that for the patient, Pinterest advertising offers something of a leveled playing field with the big advertisers. YES!
How to Triage Your Ad Groups
You know what a conversion is worth. You know what your spend is. If you’re managing a large number of ad groups and a large budget, you need to prioritize. So, look at and address issues with ads in this order:
- Ads spending all the budget, but with too high a cost per action. Adjust or pause these ad groups ASAP!
- Ads with a desirable cost per action, spending the daily budget. Tweak these now by simply increasing the budget to get more of those great results.
- Ads not spending all the budget, but with too high a cost per action. Adjust or pause these ad groups.
- Ads with a desirable cost per action which are not spending the daily budget. You may need to expand targeting or raise your bid.
- Ads which are not getting any impressions at all. Likely culprit – a way too low bid.
What to Look For In Your Pinterest Ad Dashboard – and How to Optimize for Each Key Metric
What you’re going to track can be a matter of personal preference or prescribed metrics set by your company. But here are a few important indicators:
Find it: In the Dashboard’s Performance Table
Analyzing and optimizing Pinterest ad conversions is where the money is! You may be tracking checkouts, signups, leads, or something else that is important to you. But, for most of us,this is where the true value of your ads is ultimately measured.
NOTE: By default, the dashboard will show you conversions based on the date the ad action occurred. That means, if I click your ad on April 1, but then I purchase on April 22, the conversion will appear on April 1. Confusing, right?
This makes for an ever-changing view of conversions which may or may not be helpful to you. For instance, it could be helpful to see the impact of daily spend on conversions, but not so much for looking at the month’s performance. To change this, look in the lower-left corner of the dashboard for “Conversion Settings,” and click that. Change “Attribution date for daily reporting) to “Date of conversion event.” With that setting, you’ll see conversions as they occur on the date on which they occur.
Choose Which Conversions You’ll Count
Also good to know is that Pinterest will report conversions for clicks, engagements, and views. So, it goes way beyond last-click attribution. Decide for yourself which of these conversions you want to count. Rremembering that what could happen in the case of a “save” engagement is that someone sees your Pinterest ad, saves it to a Board, and then in a few weeks sees your Facebook ad or an organic search result and completes the conversion from there.
With that in mind, I typically count click conversions only.
Conversions Too Expensive?
Fix it: Look first at CTR. If your CTR is below .55%, you are paying more than necessary for clicks – which means you may be paying more than you need to for conversions.
Other issues to consider are your targeting – are you targeting cold traffic using keyword targeting? Since the introduction of mandatory one-tap Pins (meaning a click on your Pin skips the close up and sends people right to your site), it’s gotten a bit more expensive to convert cold traffic – at least in my experience. Conversion cost tends to even out across all audiences, though. So try to target some owned audiences as well.
Another issue with targeting could be that you’re going too broad. Maybe you’re targeting everyone who has visited any of your website pages in the last 180 days. Should your shorten the time period? Should you instead target only people who have gone to certain pages? Maybe you add on some phrase-match keywords and have your ad ONLY appear in search? These are all settings in your ad groups which are easily adjusted.
Finally, did you know you can look at the impact of each keyword on a conversion? Recently I noticed a keyword phrase was resulting in a handful of conversions, but at a ridiculously out sized cost compared to other keywords – so out it went!
To see this information, you can click on any ad group which uses keyword targeting and click over to the Keywords tab. Then adjust your table view so you can see Conversions (see below for creating a custom table). Don’t pay any attention to Broad match keywords – those won’t be real accurate here as they’re treated more like interests – just look for phrase and exact match keywords and the impact those have on conversion cost. To remove one, click the box to the left of the word and Archive it.
Not Enough Conversions?
Fix it: You may need to expand your targeting. Also, realize it may not be practical to expect to scale your ads to the same level as ads on a platform with far more users than are on Pinterest – yet.
Ways to expand targeting include finding your owned audiences that convert well and creating actalike audiences based on those. You may find that adding in phrase-match keywords to those large audience helps them convert affordably.
You can also allow Pinterest to expand your targeting for you. At the ad group level, under “Advanced options,” click on “Use your Pin to expand your targeting.” Pinterest won’t override your audience selections if you’re using them, but it will look at your Pin, your Pin description, and even meta data from the source page to figure out which keywords and interests to use for targeting this Pin.
When first released, I saw very mixed results for these ads using expanded targeting. Recently, though, they have been highly effective and affordable. Give it a try. Include just a couple of broad-match keywords to give Pinterest even more context about the Pin, while still allowing it flexibility to figure out where to serve the ad.
One of the biggest culprits in a case where conversions are low in volume or high in cost is the landing page itself. Make sure you’re promoting items or optins that do well with your Pinterest visitors. And make sure there is consistency from Pin to landing page.
In a webinar put out by Pinterest, they shared their findings after analyzing Pinterest ads that converted well for awareness, signups and sales. If you want to increase your sales, you can:
- Include a call to action on the image and in the description (for a 6% lift). This primes people for action once they hit your site.
- Keep your Pin and page consistent in look and style (13% lift). This builds the needed trust for them to opt in or purchase.
- Lean in to seasonal and everyday moments (20% lift). Help people see the value of your offering in their real lives.
- Include a price on your image (28%) lift. This one is touchy – if your price ever changes, there will be repins out there with the wrong price on it. If you use the bulk editor you can set your Pins to expire so that there is no save button, but most of the time you’ll want to leave saves on – you can get a lot of traffic from that even after your campaign is over. It might be better to promote a Product Pin.
Click-Through Rate – CTR
Find it: In the Dashboard’s “Delivery” Table
While click-through rate is a bit of a “soft” number, you do want to make sure your traffic ads have around a .55% CTR. Any less than that and you are paying a premium for distribution – assuming you’re getting any. Any more than that, you’re getting a deal.
Fix it: If your CTR is too low, try a different image or description – and make sure your targeting makes sense for the ad image.
Caveat: If your CTR is low, but you are still getting affordable conversions, you may not want to change a thing. Using Pin creative to “prequalify” visitors by, say, putting a price on your image, may decrease CTR but raise conversions. If you suspect this is the case, don’t change this ad – run another one with new creative and see what happens.
Optimize it: If your CTR is good or high, make the most of it by raising your daily budget. You can probably also lower your bid and still get impressions, but you’re likely not hitting your bid limit anyway, so you might want to leave that alone.
Cost for Impressions – CPM
Usually more important to running awareness ads, CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is the true cost of the distribution of your content.
Find it: In the Dashboard’s Overview Table
Fix it: If you’re paying more than you want to for impressions, look at your click-through rate. Is it lower than .55%? If so, check out the “Fix it” section for CTR above! Note: there is no “good CPM.” It’s unique to you – so you can compare to ads you run on other platforms and also you other Pinterest campaigns.
Optimize it: Try multiple images. Let them run for a few weeks and then turn off the ones with a lower CTR and higher CPM. Just realize that if you add a new image (or two) to an existing ad group, they don’t always serve up. You may have to start a new ad group with the new images. I know. 🙁
Tracking Something Else?
Maybe engagement or save rate is most important to you. Not to worry! You can improve those metrics by following the same advice as for CTR. Spell out the benefit of the offering clearly right in the image of your Pin and you’ll attract engagement and saves by the right people who are likely to act on it later.
No matter what you’re tracking,
Make it Easier! Create a Custom Pinterest Ads Dashboard
Your future self will thank you. Once you figure out what you want to look at, you can make a custom table in your dashboard – and you can set it to load up as the default. Super time saver!
I set mine up to show date started, spend, (click only) conversions for checkouts, signups, and leads, and the Pin image. This allows me to see exactly what is most important to me at a glance.
I have another view I use for reporting that is slightly different. Set up as many as you need.
You can tweak an existing dashboard by clicking the little pencil icon to the right of existing columns or you can start from scratch by clicking on “Manage table settings” in the bottom-left corner of your screen.
Pinterest will even make one for you based on what you want to look at (and then you can tweak it later)!
How to Keep Track of What You Changed
This is one of my favorite new features in the Pinterest ads dashboard! If you select an ad group, you can click on the “See history” button to see what you’ve done to your ad in a given time period. No more having to remember!
Conclusion: Analyzing and Optimizing Your Pinterest Ads
The best way to get good at this is to do it! Dig in with an understanding of what is important to you and what each click, impression, and conversion is worth to you. Use these tips to get to the results you want over time.
Still stuck? I offer limited one-on-one consulting and ad setup. Give me a shout and we’ll set something up. I’m happy to teach you exactly how to analyze and optimize for exactly what matters to you.
PS – I’ve missed you guys! Thanks to everyone who checked in on me when I was hit by hurricane Florence in late September. The house and everything in it was ruined, but I’m in a great new house and I was just bursting to get back to blogging with you all!
If this was helpful to you, please Pin it for later!