In this post, I’m sharing my experience with running Pinterest ads on my blog to help drive affiliate income, how I set it up, my hypothesis for the Pinterest experiment, why it failed, and what I learned from it.
As an online content creator, I wear many hats which includes figuring out a monetization strategy for my various channels. I wanted to explore using a paid search strategy with my Pinterest account. By far, between all of the various niche blogs that I own, my lifestyle blog has a heavy traffic footprint from Pinterest.
Knowing that, and knowing that I was really rusty at Paid Search, I wanted to try my hand at using Pinterest sponsored ads to increase my affiliate income. Long story short, it failed to produce a profit above my initial investment of $200.
What I wanted to do was share with you some of the strategies I took and how I failed so that you guys can learn from my mistake. If you you have ANY RECOMMENDATIONS, please comment below on what I’m doing wrong. I’d love to share with the readers. My goal is to help other bloggers learn how to use paid media to drive traffic and ultimately create a steady revenue stream based on a standardized strategy that works.
My Failed First Pinterest Experiment Attempt
So, I’ll be honest, this was not my first Pinterest ad experiment. In 2017, I had to run an ad for a baby clothing campaign for a sponsored post I was doing. It was for the benefit of the company I was sponsoring, and it was for a $50 ad spend to increase impressions and click-throughs on the pin.
In 2019, I spent $100 running a Pinterest ad for an organic pin that I had that was already super popular. It was showing people tips and tricks on how to hang window treatments. It did really well organically on Pinterest, so I figured it should do well. My thought process:
- Drive people to the pin using pins. The pin itself should have a high click through conversion rate because its proven itself organically already.
- The pin would drive to a blog post that has affiliate links sprinkled throughout, which has had a historically good conversion rate for click throughs. The post was a tutorial post, not necessarily a sales landing page.
- The click throughs would go to Amazon Associates. Anyone that buys within a 24 hour period would earn me an income.
So essentially, my assumption was that if an organic pin did well and converted well, it should convert into affiliate income. I was so wrong. I don’t have screenshots of it to share with you guys, but I do know that I definitely did not get an ROI on that investment. It was a failed experiment.
Lessons Learned or Things to Try
With every failed experiment, I try to incorporate lessons learned so that I continue to iterate. So from the first experiment, here are the new things I’ve implemented based on those failures:
- Make the landing page for the Pinterest ad incorporate more affiliate links.
- The landing page should have better copywriting that leads people to buy.
- Optimize for impressions based on search phrases versus users browsing
My Second Pinterest Experiment
I ran this experiment in January of 2021. At this current time, Pinterest ads are dirt cheap because businesses are still learning how to use Pinterest for helping their business’s bottom line (essentially what I’m doing). I would say the current state of Pinterest ads is what Facebook ads were a few years ago. These days, when you run a Facebook ad, it is super expensive as opposed to when they first started allowing ad campaigns. If you are wanting to experiment with paid search and ads on Pinterest, right now is the BEST time to do it due to the low competition, which translates to low costs for ads.
Here’s what I wanted to learn from this experiment:
- I wanted to test out search phrases vs browsing to see which one would provide a higher CTR to my blog post.
- I wanted to compare Amazon associates links vs Share-A-Sale affiliate links to see which is better. Amazon has a 24 hour cookie versus Share-A-Sale which has a 5 day cookie. I also have RewardStyle links on my sconce ad, and those cookies vary.
- I ran a home decor ad versus a crafting ad for my lifestyle blog, so I wanted to see which would do better.
- Lastly, I wanted to see if I could produce an ROI with the investment I put in.
The Pinterest Ad Setup
I wanted to share with you my ad setup for each of the experiments. Both of these ads were run at the same time and for the same 9-day duration.
Ad #1 Setup: Craft Machine Comparison Ad
Targeted Audience: This ad was targeted towards audiences who wanted to compare two crafting machines. I wanted to gear it towards females in the United States that had buying power.
The Conversion: I wanted the pins to direct to a page that taught the targeted audience about the difference and then lead them towards clicking an affiliate link. The page was sprinkled with both affiliate links from Amazon Associates and Share-A-Sale.
Keywords vs Browse: I set it up to include both keyword searches and browse. They keywords were mainly using “versus” and “comparison” between both machines.
Ad #2 Setup: Collection of Sconces Available
Targeted Audience: This ad was targeted towards audiences who like modern farmhouse style decor and females.
The Conversion: I wanted the pins to direct to a page that taught the targeted audience that was looking for different sconce types that I had in a collage.
Keywords vs Browse: I set it up to include both keyword searches and browse. They keywords were mainly using variations of modern farmhouse sconce lighting.
Here are the results from my 9 day ad spend with the same budget:
- Crafting Machine Comparison: 804 clicks
- Wall Sconces: 482 clicks
- Affiliate Income That Could Be Attributed To These Pages: Nothing from Share-A-Sale and potentially one sale worth $1.00 that could be attribute to the Cricut Sale.
- Definitely, a bust in terms of ROI. However, I did get a ton of data and a second experiment under my belt.
Interesting Result Data for My Pinterest Ads
- There wasn’t a correlation between click throughs and saves. I would have thought that if it had more click throughs it would have more saves, but that wasn’t the case.
- For the craft machine comparison, there were 4 keywords out of the 279 that I provided that drove the most traffic to the pin. If I were to run this ad again, I would run it on those 4 words once I optimized the post a bit better for more of a buy intent landing page. Out of the 804 clicks, there was one keyword phrase that represented 530 of those search phrases, and it was a phrase I would have not thought of as a main keyword search phrase. Goes to show that having data helps make good paid search decisions.
- For the sconce comparison, there were 4 keywords out of the 46 that I provided that drove the most traffic to the pin. If I were to run this ad again, I would also run it on those 4 words. I don’t think I could optimize the page further. Out of the 482 clicks, 390 of them were driven by the top phrase, which WAS one I expected to do well.
Things I Would Do Differently
- I would create a different tracking-ID in Amazon Associates to track sales to this page. (Note: There’s a maximum of 20 tracking IDs you can create on here, so make it generic enough to track while also being able to use date ranges to filter for the campaigns).
- Potentially create bitly links to track other affiliate income from other sources.
- Optimize the landing page with Amazon Native Ads and create more of a sales page for those products.
- Utilize targeted audiences for those that have visited my website and show them those ads by installing Pinterest tags correctly. Meaning, if they ever organically visited my site, and I posted a link on Pinterest and they were scrolling on Pinterest, I’d have a better chance at targeting them for a different page potentially to convert the user into a sale.
Summary of Pinterest Paid Search Experiment
I honestly completely failed at this attempt in a Pinterest Paid Search experiment. However, I did gain a ton from knowing what keywords worked. What I might do is use those in my FUTURE organic pins to drive more traffic to the site. I do think this MIGHT backfire because if there are larger companies using Pinterest ads, they might be targeting those keywords as well, which may cause them to rank higher than my organic ads.
I do feel like just doing this ad this second time, I felt like I had a better understanding of keyword targeting. So, I’m iterating on what I learned. The downside of paid search vs organic search is that I’m using real money to experiment vs with organic search, it’s just time that I’m wasting.
I would LOVE to hear your Pinterest ad strategy or any tips you can offer up. Here are two Pinterest YouTube videos I found helpful AFTER running these ads.
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