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This week, I moderated a Social Advertising Master Class webinar on Pinterest. This was the second in our series following one we conducted on LinkedIn last month.

For this Master Class, speakers included Michael Akkerman from Pinterest, Tracy Baeckler from eBay, Kaitlyn Czajkowski from agency Unique Influence, Susan Wenner Jackson from our partner, Ahalogy, and by 4C’s Product Manager on Pinterest, Jennifer Wormington.

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We kicked things off with a fantastic presentation from Michael as he shared valuable insider data on how Pinners use Pinterest and how that impacts the way that advertisers should be approaching the platform.

Key Takeaway #1:  Pinterest is a Catalog of Ideas

Ultimately, the right way to think about Pinterest in relation to other publishers is that Pins are really ideas and that Pinterest is a catalog of these ideas. Pinners collect Pins because each one represents an idea or concept that is important to them.

This is interesting because unlike other platforms where people join to connect and network with their friends, peers, and family, Pinners are truly cataloging ideas for themselves. They’re thinking about things like what furniture they might want to put in their new house, what recipes to consider for Thanksgiving, and what kind of wood-working projects they want to tackle next. However, because these Pins and Boards are shareable, everyone can learn from each other and Re-Pin ideas they like.

So, Pins = Ideas. That can help advertisers best understand the medium and how to design their Pins accordingly to fit within the value that so many people find in Pinterest.

Key Takeaway #2: Pinterest = The Future

The second key takeaway that I thought was important for advertisers to know that I learned from Michael is that Pinners begin searching and browsing for big event content many months ahead. Because Pinterest is very much an aspirational, forward-thinking platform about what a Pinner wants to do in the future, it makes sense that Pinners will be naturally thinking ahead in their lives so they can be prepared when these important moments in the year occur.

Michael shared the following graph below which shows how activity around Easter began on Pinterest all the way back in September and then climbed steadily in the four months leading up to actual day.

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For advertisers, the tactical takeaway here is that it’s important to get Pins (and Promoted Pins) out far in advance of when most planning occurs for other marketing channels.

After Michael’s presentation, we brought in the rest of the speakers who each shared a recent pin that they Re-Pinned and why. Knowing that some of the webinar attendees may not have experience with Pinterest advertising, we quickly reviewed some basics on Pinterest advertising ad formats and targeting. Then, we got into a conversation about how to philosophically approach Pinterest advertising – which brought out some very interesting topics.

Key Takeaway #3: Pins Live Forever

Unlike most forms of advertising that either appear for a moment (a paid search ad or Facebook ad, for example), Promoted Pins “live forever” on the site. This concept was brought up several times throughout the webinar and is a fundamental difference than other advertising channels.

  • With regards to ad content, advertisers need to remember that their Pins may potentially show up months later in search results and shared via the community. For example, if you are promoting an event, you might not want to spotlight the date in the creative so that it remains a bit relevant for awhile after the event concludes.
  • The value upside of Promoted Pins is a much longer window than most ads. Whereas most ads deliver their value immediately and then trail off, some of the speakers explained that they see activity driven by Promoted Pins continue to occur for weeks and months after the actual campaigns are over.
  • The impact on measurement is important to understand as well. If you’re running deep advertising attribution models, Pinterest may not fit in the traditional sense of how channels are measured because of it’s long attribution window.

The group then discussed content best practices. Pins seem to be less effective when they’re treated like ads and more effective when treated as content. Tracey from eBay shared some content strategies she uses and Susan and Kaitlin provided a few tips and tricks as well.

Key Takeaway #4: Pin Design Best Practices

Here are the content best practices that were shared in the webinar. I thought you might like to see the slide:

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After this section, Michael spoke briefly about how what kinds of things that the Pinterest ads team are thinking about in terms of 2016 development. From a top level perspective, Pinterest plans to continue enhancing ad formats, targeting, and reporting to help build out its platform so advertisers can really get the results they need from the channel.

Even though we reached the end of our time at this point, the speakers generously stayed on the line to give out top tips. This was certainly an area of interest by the attendees based on the fact that we still had 90% of the audience still on the webinar by the end.

Key Takeaway #5: Expert Tips

Here’s the list of tips provided by our speaker panel:

  1. Use Pinterest’s Resources. This was my tip. The Pinterest ads team puts out a lot of very useful tips and content to help advertisers. Read their blog and check out all of their resources to get insider advice.
  2. Plan Ahead. Kaitlin’s advice was to plan well in advance for content. Refer to the Easter graph above in this post. If you plan Pinterest like other channels, you will miss out.
  3. Don’t Just Think “Ads”. Susan’s tip was to not treat Pinterest ads like other ad channels where you simply put up some ads and spend most of your time optimizing bids and targeting to squeeze out efficiency. Putting more thought into the ad design will pay off.
  4. Really Know Your Goals. Tracey admitted that her first tip was something that all marketers should think about, but given Pinterest’s unique ad formats and Pinner usage behavior, aligning proper goals at the start will help you succeed.
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail. I personally loved Tracey’s second tip which is great advice for all marketers. It’s not about mistakes. You have to know going into every campaign that some elements will not work. If you are afraid of that reality, you will probably not take any chances or risks and that will hurt your performance in the long run.
  6. Know Your Tools. Jen is our product manager on our Pinterest tool so of course she will find value in promoting tool proficiency. I have to strongly agree with her. When it comes to “platform marketing” you have to really understand the platform to get the results you want. It’s vital and there aren’t any shortcuts. You simply have to put in the time it takes to build that expertise.
  7. Pins Live Forever. Jen’s final tip was echoed throughout the webinar. Pins have a unique shelf life that is unlike any other platform. You must know this to design the right ads, appreciate the long-term value, and measure the results correctly.

Another great Social Advertising Master Class is in the books! If you missed it or want to check it out again, feel free to watch the video on demand.

Stay tuned for our next webinar!