When setting up an ad campaign Pinterest will give you two options, ‘Interests’ and ‘Keywords’. You can use either one of these or both, or neither! When I first started running campaigns I used to use both. I would select several relevant interests and many keywords, making sure to definitely cover all bases of what people might be searching for. But now I do things much differently…
Why do I exclude ‘Interests’?
I now leave this part completely blank. The reason being is that I want to target specific people who are actively searching for the relevant topic of the pin(s). Sometimes a person might not have shown previous interest in a particular topic such as cooking, but today they are specifically searching for a recipe. Should I exclude that person from my campaign? Absolutely not! If the person is searching for a topic, I definitely want my pin to show in their search. On occasion, I do use the interests section, for example, if the topic is particularly broad or unique and I don’t expect people to be actively searching for it. However, this strategy is also leaving a lot to luck and it is likely to have a higher CPC and lower conversion rate.
What about Keywords?
Keywords are extremely important. I want to target people who are actively searching for the topic and provide them with exactly what they are looking for. I will usually start the campaign with just selecting ‘search’ within the search & browse option. If after trialing, not enough people are searching for the topic, then I will change the campaign to also include the browse option. This means that the pin will show up below a pin with a similar topic and also if the person has searched for the topic recently. You should think of Pinterest like Google – you want to appear in people’s specific searches for that specific topic. This is why it’s best to be as targeted as possible. You can use a broad match, “phrase match” or [exact match]. Where possible it’s best to use exact match or phrase match. I will always start with what I think will work best, and then after 24 hours I will analyze the results, (particularly the keyword results) and make adjustments where necessary.
How many keywords should you use?
Above the Keywords box, Pinterest say that you should use a minimum of 25 keywords – but I actually disagree with this. The more keywords you use, the broader the targeting will be, and the more you will be showing pins to irrelevant audiences – i.e. people that are not specifically searching for the exact topic. Nowadays, I use between 1-5 keywords to keep it as targeted as possible. It’s also possible to include ‘negative’ matches if you want to drill down further. The particular keywords are also something I will adjust later if necessary after analyzing the results. Because I start the campaigns with very narrow keywords, sometimes not enough people are searching for the exact topic, in this case, I would add more keywords.
But what if the audience is too narrow?
Well, this is why I start the campaigns at a very low budget. Please see my other article Pinterest Mistake: Spending your ads budget too fast. I will start lots of highly targeted campaigns with small budgets and then build from there. The more you scale a campaign, the broader the targeting will need to be, and thus become more expensive. However, this can depend on many factors. It is best to scale a campaign slowly in order to reach the optimum level of performance. This could be based on various metrics such as conversions (sales or sign-ups), viral growth, or lowest cost traffic (cost per outbound click). See my other articles; How to calculate the Cost Per Outbound Click on Pinterest and 6 Hacks to get the LOWEST CPC on Pinterest.