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Pinterest

B2B Brands Win With Pinterest Ads

On the surface, Pinterest is often seen as a tool for finding buffalo cauliflower recipes, halo engagement rings and inspirational quotes. However, this is a limiting assumption by both consumers and brands, especially in the B2B industry. In fact, the complex simplicity of Pinterest can play a powerful role in your marketing strategy. 

Brands often overlook Pinterest and focus more on the “obvious” social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat. Each of these platforms offers extensive ad capabilities that have proven successful time and time again. And while we aren’t saying you should stop those campaigns, we encourage you to consider incorporating Pinterest into your B2B social media marketing strategy.  

The truth is that 75 percent of Pinterest content comes from brands, while 98 percent of Pinterest searches are unbranded. 

Are the wheels turning yet?

Pinterest is a discovery tool. Users who have a general idea of the products or services they want go to Pinterest to navigate all the possibilities, narrow down those possibilities, and then choose which possibility to buy or act on.

The explorative nature of Pinterest makes the ad experience native to the platform. Pinterest ads are not only encouraged, but actively sought after by users. Through Pinterest promoted pins, users find what they want, and brands have the chance to make an impact that could lead to a conversion. 

Throw away everything you know

Knowing that Pinterest is used as a tool for discovery is crucial to your business’s success on the platform. When starting a Pinterest campaign, throw away everything you know about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter for business.

The intent of a pinner is much different than the intent of a Facebook user who wants to connect with friends or an Instagram user who wants to share a moment. Pinterest is not focused on connecting with others; it is a self-serving platform that is focused on finding ideas, products or services to benefit the individual pinner. It is incredibly important to know this high-level Pinterest principle before creating a strategy.

The intent of a pinner is much different than the intent of a Facebook or Instagram user. 

The “key” to campaign success

Pinterest offers a number of campaign goals and targeting capabilities. Keyword targeting has been particularly beneficial to Symmetri’s B2B clients and is unique to the platform.

Say, for example, your brand creates retail fixtures and displays, and wants to increase brand awareness and drive conversions. Keyword targeting gives you the capability to build awareness through broad keyword searches such as “retail design” or “retail displays.” We can also help you drive conversions through more niche keywords that people further down the funnel search for, such as “custom retail shelves” or “retail display towers.” 

Keyword targeting is incredibly beneficial to B2B brands. Say a user is opening a boutique and looking for retail display ideas. Once the user searches “boutique retail display,” our promoted pin will appear in the user’s feed. The user can then click on the pin to go directly to the site for more information, or can save the pin to a board.

Pin-saving is also unique to Pinterest and an important driver for conversions. A user with a board titled “Retail Displays” is likely to be putting a number of retail display pins on that board to compare and choose later on. Pinterest is used as a discovery, comparison and selection tool as users navigate through tons of possibilities, organize desired possibilities through boards, and eventually revisit their boards again when it is time to convert. 

It’s important to remember that target keywords must reflect what is in your ad image. You may have a boutique that sells a number of products, such as necklaces, notebooks, clothing and shoes. You may want your ad to appear anytime a user searches “pearl necklace” because your store carries that product, and it seems likely that the more keywords you include, the more the promoted pin will be pushed out.

But if there is no pearl necklace in the image attached to the “pearl necklace” keyword, the targeting effort becomes a lost cause. When pinners aren’t seeing what they searched for in the image, they are unlikely to click or engage in the pin because it has no relevance. 

Throw away everything you know, again 

Creative on Pinterest is also very specific to the platform. With Pinterest, a picture is literally worth a thousand words. (Or, dare I say, dollars!) The images compel users to engage, click and convert. You’re selling products and services through visuals, which is why choosing an image needs to be strategic

Unlike other platforms, text overlay and brand logos are encouraged. Text and branding on a social platform might seem blasphemous. But branding a pin turns an idea into an action. As an analogy, imagine seeing an appealing retail display image with no branding. It may express an appealing experience, but only through the addition of branding can it represent a tangible product that you can access to gain that experience.

The emphasis on visual creative is important for B2B brands because it is a way for other brands to see a product or service in action.

How to measure brand winning with paid pinning 

Pinterest does align with other social platforms in one aspect: metrics. You’ll find the usual social suspects such as ER, CTR, CPC, impressions and so on. But you’ll also find saves and closeups, which should not be overlooked.

Closeups reflect engagement and are a good indicator that users find your content interesting, or should I say, Pin-teresting (so sorry). A save deems content as “good,” which is why when a save occurs, the pin is pushed out to more people. A save may also lead to conversion in the future.

If you run keyword targeting, you are also given access to individual keyword metrics such as spend, impressions, click-through rate, engagement rate and others, which allows for even more campaign optimization and overall success. 

Because Pinterest advertising is relatively new, and B2B brands have not yet capitalized on all of its marketing capabilities, the range of case studies and benchmarks available is underwhelming. But we expect this to change, sooner rather than later, and are quite confident that at least one proof of the platform will be coming your way. ;) 

Throw away everything you know, yet again in our defense, you know a lot

Pinterest may seem like a B2C-dominated platform. But we’ve found that with Pinterest (and social media in general) it’s important to forget the B2C and B2B labels. Instead, think B2H: business to human.

Why? Because businesses are made of humans, and humans need ideas for their businesses—ideas that can evolve and solidify into reality through Pinterest. Find success on Pinterest through user intent, targeting capabilities and creative excellence. But remember that it’s not consumers, not businesses, but humans at the heart of all your desired goals. 

Get the idea? 

Finally, when in doubt remember that every Pinterest conversion starts with an idea. And whether a business is brand new or old as time, ideas will continue to form. Discover brands that are looking to discover you. 

Pinterest has the ability to bolster your marketing strategy through its unique targeting options, user intent, and creative capabilities. It’s important to understand what differentiates Pinterest from other platforms before implementing paid efforts. If you have questions or are looking to to optimize your social media strategy, we would love to hear from you