Why you should skip ‘Interests’ and just use Narrow Keywords on Pinterest Ad Campaigns

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.

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