colorful line illustration beauty themed

Pinterest Influencers and Pinterest Ads Are Driving Sales for Skincare Brands

Have you ever found yourself clueless about how to use a makeup product? I have. A ton of times actually. I’m not a super avid makeup user, so from time to time, I need a video tutorial or two. Enter, Pinterest influencers!

Pinterest is a GREAT source for information, inspiration, and advice on beauty and cosmetics. You can find anything from vegan product recommendations to drug store makeup shopping lists. If you’re looking for a product, chances are pretty good that somebody has probably already pinned it.

You’d be surprised at how much info you’d find about skincare and cosmetics on Pinterest.

Need to know which moisturizer works best on oily skin when you’re in your 20s? Pinners (and brands) have already pinned the topic for ya.

Convinced you have crepey skin like the ladies on Sunday morning adverTV? You’ll find natural remedies and products on Pinterest.

Beauty Brands Rely On Pinterest for Every Phase of the Purchase Cycle

I’m not the only one lurking on Pinterest for makeup looks or skincare routines. According to Pinterest, there are more than 1.1 billion hair and beauty pins on the platform, and more than 30 million hair and beauty pinners.

Those are some pretty awesome stats.

Having the right boards, pins, and keywords is helpful to reach these audiences. But you can also create Pinterest ad campaigns.

Here’s a Spot-On Beauty Pin That Pretty Much Tells the Tale

The nature of Pinterest is super visual, and the human brain can process an image in as little as 13 milliseconds (oh, my goodness, fellow pinners! Think of how much pinning we could get done if we could blink pins to our boards!). It’s the perfect platform for pretty images of interesting lipstick colors or smartly-done ads with before and after photos like this Bobbi Brown example.

Bobbi Brown created a guide so people know how to “Turn on the light,” so exactly the opposite of Nelly Furtado’s song. Once you click on the pin, you’re directed to their online shop to the featured product.

Bobbi Brown pinterest pin promoting color corrector
Source: Pinterest

Pinterest is a great place to reach people who are already interested in beauty products, and specific types of beauty products. So let’s get into the details.

LET’S START WITH THE BASICS!

To start creating ads on Pinterest, go to this website

Important: Pinterest ads are not available everywhere. To know if ads are available in your country, check this list.

The best part? You can use it for any kind of campaign you have in mind since Pinterest lets you choose your own goal. To start, you should know what you want to accomplish with your campaign. You can choose among 3 goals:

  • Brand awareness to reach people that might be interested in your cosmetics or beauty products
  • Drive consideration to get traffic to your online store, leads that’d be interested in buying mascara someday or app installs
  • Grow sales to convert and sell, sell, sell

HOW PINTEREST IS THE #1 TRAFFIC REFERRAL FOR NATURA BRAZIL

Natura is a makeup brand from Brazil. Their goal was to get more traffic from Pinterest to their website. They started by organizing their boards, pinning 20 images a month, and sharing new products, step-by-step guides, and photos from Pinterest influencers. Of course, they also used rich pins, Pinterest widgets, and the save button.

Just by doing this, after a year, Pinterest accounted for 40% of all social traffic of the brand. Their pin impressions increased by 11x. This is one of their pins:

Guia de Pincéis Pinterest pin defining different types of makeup brushes
Image source: Pinterest

Now imagine that you add ads into the mix, the results will be even better! Reaching audiences organically has benefits, but with Pinterest ads, you can be super specific thanks to its targeting tools.

TARGETING ON PINTEREST

Now let’s get into the interesting stuff about Pinterest ads: targeting.

#1 The easiest one: interests

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Pinterest almost immediately adjusts the pins on your feed depending on what you’ve looked for recently. That might explain all the how to avoid smushy eyeliner on my feed today. If Pinterest is good at something, besides making me try new recipes unsuccessfully, it is at understanding people. Pinterest understands their tastes, likes, and even life stages. It’s a powerful tool to get to customers that might be interested in you!

Targeting interests is very useful for brand awareness campaigns.

Check this:

screenshot of Pinterest ad targeting options

If you target the “Beauty” interest, your audience could be of a bit more than 45 million Pinners in the US. But you can choose just specific interests such as Cruelty-Free Makeup, for example, which has a potential audience of 95 thousand people.

screenshot of Pinterest ad hyper-targeting cruelty-free makeup

Be as specific as you want with your interests. For example, check this pin from Glossier.

Pinterest pin from of collection of Glossier cloud paint
Image source: Pinterest

This blush is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free. The reviews also mention that it’s perfect for dry skin, for skin with acne, and that it looks very natural. So, if you’re creating a campaign for that kind of product, the interests might look something like this:

screenshot of potential  reach on Pinterest for brushes

Even with interests as specific as these, the audience has a decent size.

Talking about trends, something interesting Pinterest does every month is that it publishes the top trends for the following month. They reveal what people will be looking for and how can you use those trends to create valuable content… and great ads in this case!

Pinterest ad promoting new 1990s trends
Image source: Pinterest

You can use these trends to inspire your content the whole year but be sure to also check the monthly trends. Also, think beyond just beauty trends. For example, a trend people will be searching during the year is Galaxy painting. Does your brand have palettes that go with this theme? Make use of it for your campaigns!

#2 Keyword targeting

Yes, since people search for a lot of things on Pinterest, you can target specific keywords. If you add keywords, your ads will have more reach in search results and Related Pins.

Keyword targeting works best for campaigns that want to drive traffic or online actions.

Here, things get a bit like Google Adwords as you can see in this image:

screenshot of potential reach on Pinterest for Christmas-themed searches

Is it too early to start practicing my Christmas makeup for next year?

Get as specific as you want (or can) with those keywords. Brackets and quotations can be used for better results. You can even use negative keywords, just like in Google Adwords.

Remember to include the keywords in your pin.

Besides using the keyword search tool in the ads manager you can also get some ideas for your keywords in the search bar on Pinterest. You know how very weird search suggestions appear every time you start typing in Google? Well, Pinterest has the same, but it has more specific and useful suggestions:

screenshot of skincare routine auto-prompts on Pinterest

If you pick one of the searches some bubbles with more ideas appear.

screenshot of categories related to skincare routine on Pinterest

Sadly, I’m not a teen anymore… but maybe your audience is! This will give you a better guide on what kind of keywords you can use or add to your ads. See what I did there?

Here’s an example:

L’Oréal Paris created a campaign on Pinterest to launch its Botanicals Fresh Care line. They created some eye-catching videos and used keywords to target women in the UK. The keywords they used were around the themes of hair care, beauty, and health.

screengrab from Pinterest 100 on L'Oreal campaign
Image source: Pinterest

Through some tweaking of their keywords for two weeks, they increased the view rate of the videos by 4x! According to L’Oréal’s Haircare Marketing Manager, with this campaign, they “realized that Pinterest is such a unique place to be. Unlike other platforms, people are actively looking for things to try and buy.”

#3 Create audiences

Here’s where things get more interesting because you can do the following:

  • Customer lists: It matches the mails or MAIDs of your customers with Pinterest accounts. The final audience has to have 100 people in it, otherwise, you can’t use it. Customer lists are great for re-engaging past customers!
  • People who went to your site: You first need to set up a Pinterest tag for this. After that, you can use it to run retargeting campaigns on Pinterest.
  • People who engaged with your pins on Pinterest: First you need to claim your website in your Pinterest account, then you can target people who have saved your Pins, commented, liked, or clicked on them. It’s like retargeting but only for Pinterest.
  • People similar to an existing audience list: If you already have an audience, you can create a similar one to target in another location, for example. This helps you get to new customers.

#4 And finally, some targeting capabilities

You can also target specific genders, ages, locations, languages, or devices.

HOW TO USE TARGETING IN A SMART WAY

MANSCAPING IS A BRAND FOR MEN THAT WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR GROOMING AND HYGIENE BELOW THE BELT… WHICH MEANS EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE THINKING IT MEANS. THEY RAN A PINTEREST CAMPAIGN TO GET TO NEW AUDIENCES AND INCREASE THEIR SALES.

screenshot  of Pinterest ad from Manscaped
Source: Pinterest

The company had two goals in mind: brand awareness and conversion.

For the brand awareness part (which was the first part, of course), they created a campaign for a wide audience of men between 18 and 45 years old. Once they had gotten more recognition, they started with phase 2: conversion.

They uploaded a customer list on Create Audience to connect with men that had already purchased their products. With that list, they created a lookalike audience to reach those who could be interested in Manscaping. And, to be more sure about reaching the right people, they added interests and keywords to segment their audience better.

Finally, as the campaign was running, they checked the analytics to know which Pins were doing better and they made the necessary tweaks to optimize the campaign.

All of this sounds nice but, did they get some results? Of course, they did! They increased their web traffic by 13%, their customer acquisitions by 9%, and their online sells in 11%. Talk about results!

Your takeaways when targeting on Pinterest ads

  • Be as specific as possible with interests.
  • Check your potential audience size. You don’t want it to be too big that it’s too vague (unless it’s a massive awareness campaign), and you don’t want it to be too specific that your costs will go up.
  • Check Pinterest’s trends on their blog to know what people will be looking for during the next month. It’ll give you ideas for your targeting.
  • Add keywords to your targeting to reach your audience when they’re searching.
  • Check what searches pop up on Pinterest’s search bar and related searches to inspire your keywords.
  • Use the “Create Audiences” feature for more effective retargeting or re-engagement campaigns.
  • Create lookalike audiences to reach new people similar to the ones that are already your customers.
  • Don’t forget to add ages, gender, locations, devices, and languages to your targeting.
  • Use a combination of the different targeting tools from Pinterest to optimize your campaigns.
  • Tweak keywords, interests, and audiences if they’re not working… optimize on the go!

GET CREATIVE WITH THE AD FORMATS ON YOUR PINTEREST AD CAMPAIGN

SO NOW FOR THE VISUAL PART OF YOUR CAMPAIGNS. REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO HAVE THESE PINS PINNED IN YOUR BOARDS ALREADY. LET’S DIVE FIRST INTO THAT WITH SOME AWESOME EXAMPLES SO YOU GET MORE INSPIRATION!

#1 Promoted pins and promoted carousels

You can promote a single pin or a pin with several images (a.k.a. promoted carousels). Promoted pins are useful for brand awareness campaigns, boosting traffic, and driving sales.

What you have to consider when promoting these is:

  • Vertical, high-quality images are more eye-catching
  • Recommended aspect ratio is 2:3 (so like 1000×1500), if you use other ratios, your image might be cropped
  • Use your brand or product as the protagonist of the image. Avoid stock-ish lifestyle photos that say nothing about your brand.
  • Use your logo! Not as a watermark. Make it subtle. Oh, and remember, don’t use the lower right corner since it will get covered by other icons.
  • Add text to your image. Make it short and sweet, and easy to read on mobile.
  • Don’t forget to add a description so people know more about your pin!

Here’s a great example from ColourPop Cosmetics:

screenshot from Pinterest 100 from ColourPop
Image source: Pinterest

The image is vertical, it has little text, it features the brand, and it’s super eye-catching! Don’t you want to buy this set ASAP?

Another example:

Estée Lauder wanted to reach a younger audience for their new fragrance: Beautiful Belle. They ran a two-phase campaign. The first phase was to raise awareness about the fragrance. The second part was a bit more tricky. It retargeted people that saw the campaign and that visited their website. Also, they created lookalike audiences based on those two. Their final goal was to send physical samples of their fragrance to people interested. 

The images used for the second part were like these:

As you can see, they both feature the name of the brand, they use high-quality images, and they catch your attention immediately!

Using the right kind of images resulted in a “12% higher opt-in rate to receive further marketing, a 2% higher response rate, and a 2x higher click-through rate to online retailers than SoPost’s benchmarks,” according to Pinterest.

#2 Promoted videos

So you want to make more dynamic pins, huh? Here’s what you have to know about promoted videos on Pinterest:

  • The best videos are the ones that teach you to do something or inspire you to try a new product, routine, or technique, etc.
  • Use the first seconds to make people know what you’re talking about.
  • According to Pinterest, 6-15 second videos work best for promoted pins.
  • A lot of people that watch videos on Pinterest play them with the sound off, don’t rely on audio to explain things, better use text.
  • The cover image is SUPER important… make it stand out from the rest! Also, don’t be misleading.
  • Pay attention to the copy of the video, use the right keywords, descriptions, and hashtags.

Promoted videos on Pinterest work the best if your goal is brand awareness. For example, check this pin about a skincare routine:

Pin from Liberex Official
Image source: Pinterest

Go and check this video and amaze at all the energy this lady has to have a perfect skincare routine before going to sleep. Now, this woman uses A LOT of products. Only one of them is from the original pinner, the facial steamer. It’s great that the focus is not on the product, but on the routine itself!

Also, notice how it checks all the marks when it comes to the recommendations above.

I have examples for everything:

Guerlain ran a campaign of promoted pins for the launching of their new perfume: Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire Black (yes, that’s the complete name). All the image and video pins had elements that tied them together: the name of the brand, the shape of the bottle, high contrast, the same color palette, and black silhouettes. The image below is a great example of a video Pin that can be promoted on Pinterest and will catch the attention of Pinterest’s audience.

Pinterest pin from Guerlain
Image source: Pinterest

The results? Guerlain got a lot of visibility… more than 50 million impressions! Their videos reached over 6 million people and they spent less money per impression compared to other digital channels.

TWEAK TO OPTIMIZE

One of City Beauty’s most popular products is their City Lips lip gloss. For the holiday season in 2018, they launched a campaign to increase online sales. Before settling in for an image or a definite audience, they spent some time experimenting with keywords, audiences, and images. Check some examples of their pins:

Notice how they use different types of images and ideas on each pin but they still manage to make the lip glosses and the brand the central point. This is a great lesson for every marketer. The flexibility online campaigns have make it easier to tweak to optimize your ads and lower your costs.

In the end, it paid off for City Beauty. They got a 3x return on ad spend during the holiday season, had a 5% higher click-through rate on Pinterest than other platforms, and lowered their CPM on a 5x.

Your takeaways when creating pins to promote

  • You can promote images and videos, but both have to have great quality… that’s why we like Pinterest in the first place!
  • Use this opportunity to teach something or inspire to use your product.
  • Use vertical images and videos, if you can.
  • Your brand must be the protagonist of the graphic: make it stand out.
  • Text is acceptable so people can better understand what your pin is about.
  • The description of your pin is also important, so use the correct keywords and hashtags.
  • Try with different image styles and elements. Tweak on the go to get better results!

AND, FINALLY… HOW DO I OPTIMIZE MY PINTEREST AD CAMPAIGNS?

Well, you have to know your numbers first! For that, you have two options: Pinterest’s Ads Manager and/or Pinterest partners. Of course, this depends on your budget and on your goals. For example, for pins that promote app installs, your only choice is to work with a partner if you want to measure your success.

If you’re using Pinterest Ads Manager, you can track how your campaign is doing and change whatever needs change. Ads Analytics on Pinterest are very similar to any other ads platform, so you should be fine.

Screengrab of analytics from Pinterest campaign - Pinterest influencers
Image source: Pinterest

To have better results, be sure to add the Pinterest Tag to your website. That way, you’ll also have analytics of what people are doing there, and you’ll be able to measure conversions, cost per acquisition or return on ad spend.

The important thing is that you don’t run your campaigns in the dark, and that you know exactly what’s working and how you can optimize.

So, how exactly do you optimize your campaigns on Pinterest?

  1. Check your ads manager and check the “Overview,” where you’ll see highlighted numbers depending on your goal (the campaign objective).
  2. Go through the numbers. Do they make sense? Are you reaching your goals? If the answers are to these questions is yes, go to step 4. If the answer is no to any of these questions, keep reading.
  3. There are many ways your ads can be underperforming. Look into any errors or issues.
  4. Have a warm tea or a cold beer depending on your location and enjoy the fruits of your success… but don’t forget to keep checking your campaign!

IN THE END…

Pinterest Ads are a great way to get to new audiences, especially in the beauty and cosmetics verticals. People on Pinterest, just like me, consume content related to this industry every single day. If your message is relevant (as I’m sure it’ll be), they will like it, save it, and buy it at some point!

Now, excuse me, as I’m going to go try this “easy” eye makeup tutorial!

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