Pinterest is increasingly helping businesses to grow and boost sales. It’s clear this platform is working hard to become a key player in e-commerce, and its new targeting options are just another example of how it’s doing this. Promoted Pins have always been a great way to get your content out to likely converts, but with the launch of Pinterest’s new targeting options, your ads can now be even more effective.

If you’ve read Emily Matthews’ article, An Affiliate’s Guide to Making Money with Pinterest, you’ll already know how to set up your business account, how to Pin and how to build up your following. In this article, I’m going to help you get your Pins out to the right people.

Until recently, accounts with business profiles could target Promoted Pins based on criteria such as Pinners’ interests, their search terms and even their devices and locations. With Pinterest’s latest update, you can now target Promoted Pins using your own business data. According to a recent survey, 87% of people bought a product that they saw on Pinterest. In addition, people who engage with Pins are said to be 2.2 times more likely to make a purchase with that brand.

These stats alone highlight how much potential retargeted product Pins could have for businesses. People on this platform are ready to buy. Through Pinterest Ads Manager, you’ll now be able to target new audiences in four different ways:

  • Customer list targeting: target existing customers using emails or mobile ad IDs
  • Visitor retargeting: target people who have visited your site
  • Engagement retargeting: target people who’ve engaged with your pins
  • Actalike targeting: target people who look and act like your current audience

Pinterest has already claimed that since these targeting options went live, advertisers have seen an 80% increase in click-through rates to their site. These new options have been such a success that it’s since added even more ways for Pinners to better target their ads.

Setting up the four targeting types is pretty straightforward, especially if you’re familiar with creating audiences on other social media platforms. It goes without saying that creating these audiences will allow you to reach new and existing customers like never before on Pinterest. So, without further ado, I’ll talk you through the process.

First of all, you need to head to the ‘Audiences’ section in Pinterest Ads Manager.


This targeting option requires you to upload a CSV file of customer email addresses or mobile ad IDs (MAIDS). You’ll be able to target ads to this customer list, and even create a lookalike audience from it. Simple.

Create a custom list

It’s worth knowing that each audience needs to have a minimum of 100 people before you can start using it. Of course, not everyone on your customer list necessarily has an associated Pinterest account. With this is mind, the more people you have on the list, the sooner you’ll be able to start using this audience effectively.


Setting up this targeting option requires the most work of all, but it’s arguably the most powerful. To take advantage of visitor retargeting, you will first have to set up the Pinterest conversion tag on your site. This snippet of JavaScript code will help you to track conversions, as well as allow you to build and optimise audiences in order to reach valuable, new customers.

This website tag currently supports a number of specific website actions for you to track, and Pinterest has recently announced it’ll be adding more in 2017. Currently you can track events such as page visits, sign-ups and product purchases.

If you have some knowledge of HTML, then inserting this piece of code will be a walk in the park.

The tag itself is made up of two components:

  • The base code that you place on any page where you wish to track conversions
  • The event code that you place on the pages where you want to track specific events (in addition to the base code)

To create your base code, click the Ads drop-down menu in Pinterest Ads Manager and click on ‘Conversion Tracking’. Click ‘Create Tag’ and give it a name.

Name Your Tag

After naming your tag, you’ll be able to generate the snippet of HTML code which you’ll paste onto all relevant pages. For the most reliable tracking, Pinterest recommends you add this code to the <head> tag of these pages. Once this piece of code is correctly inserted, you’ll be able to create a visitor audience.

Create an Audience

To create your visitor audience, all you need to do is choose a name, description and conversion tag, set the retention days, and you’ll have a powerful new targeting audience set up. You can use this audience when setting up any Promoted Pins.

Create a Visitor Audience

At this point, you’ll also be able to create custom visitor audiences for certain events (the actions you attached your event code to). If you’ve created audiences in Facebook before, this stage is similar to setting up a custom audience of people who have visited certain pages but not others

While visitor retargeting has the potential to generate high click-through rates and increase conversions, without a powerful Promoted Pin your efforts to attract the right audience won’t pay off. To get the most clicks, you should consider adding a call-to-action (CTA) button, or even turning your ad into a buyable Pin, so that people can buy your product without having to leave Pinterest.



In order to target people who have already interacted with your pins, first of all you’ll have to confirm your website on Pinterest. There are two ways to do this, the most straightforward being to add a meta tag to your website. This can be done in a few simple steps:

  • Head to the settings sections on Pinterest
  • Click ‘Confirm website’
  • Copy and paste the meta tag into the <head> section of your website’s index.html file (before the <body> section)
  • Click finish once you’ve pasted the tag, and Pinterest will confirm your site

Confirm your website

Once you’ve confirmed your site, you’ll be able to set up your engagement retargeting audience. According to Pinterest, people who’ve clicked on a Pin are nearly five times more likely to take action on that Pin in the future. So this targeting option will allow you to reach users who are most likely to engage with your brand and ultimately purchase your products.

One of the best features of this audience, is how targeted you can make it. Pinterest allows you to be really specific with the user actions you can retarget: clicks, comments, saves, likes, and close-ups. You can even create an audience built on people’s interest in a specific Pin that links to your site.

Engagement Audience

Once you’ve established your engagement audience, you can push personalised content to the people most likely to take action on your Pins.


Formally known as ‘lookalike’ targeting, Pinterest decided to rename this targeting option as, in their words, “the audiences you target on Pinterest don’t just look similar, they act similar too”.

Having created some target audiences, chances are you’ve identified your most valuable customers. With ‘actalike’ targeting, you can now find and target others like them. Pinterest has already stated that, ”lookalike targeting increased click-through rates by as much as 63% and boosted reach by up to 30 times”. Therefore, it’s a great way to find people who will engage in your Promoted Pins.

Actalike audiences are built from customer lists or visitor audiences, so you’ll have to set up either one of these before taking advantage of this option. To set up your audience, you just need to give it a name and brief description, choose your source audience (that you’ve already set up) and choose your target size percentage.

This targeting group is currently only available for the UK, Canada, and the US, so you will want to choose a different option if you’re looking to build an audience based on any other country.

Actalike Audience


When setting up a Promoted Pin, you’ll need to be aware that the type of targeting you use will affect where your Pin will be seen by audiences.


This chart, created by Pinterest, shows that the more specific your targeting is, the more sections your Promoted Pin will appear in.

Pinterest is growing and evolving to suit marketers’ needs at an exponential rate. Nearly 75% of Pinterest’s 110 million active monthly users have purchased something on the platform. Users are clearly ready to buy and engage with brands, and if you’re not taking advantage of this, you’re missing a huge opportunity. As a result of these new targeting options, businesses have already improved their click-through rates, boosted their reach, and inevitably increased sales. You can too!