In February 2015, Pinterest, the social media platform that enables users to curate content, decided to ban affiliate marketing links and most link shorteners. However, after implementing a new spam detection technology and new terms of use, they have reversed this policy and recently announced they are allowing the use of affiliates links again.

But before you jump to your Pinterest board and start adding tons of Pins using your affiliate links, make sure you follow these suggested rules:

Rule 1. “Be social”, don’t just  “Do social”

Don’t forget that social media users are there to enjoy a pleasant social experience. In other words, people want to interact with others as well as find and share content that inspires, educates and entertains.

Therefore, engaging relevant visual content will continue to be a key factor in having a successful affiliate marketing strategy on this platform. For this reason, Pinterest actually suggest affiliate marketers to “keep pinning as usual”.

Rule 2. Keep Pinning as Usual

Pinterest is advising affiliate marketers not to do anything differently to what they used to when affiliate links were banned. This seems to be a simple suggestion, however, it implies that everyone should keep adding great pins.

What is a Great Pin?

Think of a Pin as a form of art or idea. Pinterest users or Pinners like to get ideas that they can save, share and use. Therefore, your Pins should be helpful, beautiful and actionable.

Not all pins are created equal and won’t convert equally either. Follow these tips to optimize your Pins.

Pinterest Tips


Remember that this platform is all about visuals. Using banner or salesly-looking images won’t cut it.  

You can find out more about how to create a successful affiliate Pinterest campaign here.

Rule 3. Always Follow Terms of Use

Pinterest penalises anyone driving large amounts of unwanted or repetitive content, posts unsolicited commercial messages in comments, descriptions, etc., or who try to artificially boost views, Pins, comments or other metrics.

Don’t Use Link Shorteners!

Yes, affiliate links are not the prettiest looking or more memorable URLs. But Pinterest doesn’t like shortened links, cloaking or off-domain redirects and treats them as spam. If you use them, the user clicking on your Pin will get this note: “Suspicious Link: This link redirects to another site, it may link to spam or other inappropriate content.”  This will definitely not help with your conversions!

Pinterest Link

Again, Pinterest wants to ensure Pinners feel safe and comfortable so they can enjoy their experience.

Rule 4. Using Affiliate Links Doesn’t Mean You Will Convert Better

If you are thinking of linking your Pins directly to the offer you are promoting, think twice. Always align your content strategy to the buying cycle and lead your audience to each stage.   

It’s very likely that the user might not be ready to buy yet, especially if it’s the first time they hear of the product. Remember, Pinterest is a social platform and users are mainly there to get ideas and browse through beautiful images, not to buy.  In most cases, you will need to focus on improving your pre-sale strategy before sending your audience to the merchant’s site.   

Pinterest aims to get rid of the cognitive overload users usually have to go through when surfing the internet. Instead, they want to offer a good feeling experience, hence the simple and pretty images that are worth a thousand words.  

Even though most decision making happens at the non-conscious level, customers don’t necessarily always buy because something makes them feel good – there’s also a rational or analytical process involved in their decision making.  This is why sending your audience to your own website where the customer can find more information, such as a product review, could be your best shot.

It’s Not Personal

Despite its previous decision to ban affiliate links to prevent spammy activity, Pinterest has realised the value affiliates can bring to their platform and is allowing affiliate links as a way to incentivise more valuable content from them.

However, we should learn from history that social platforms will always put their user’s social experience first. So, for the sake of all affiliate marketers around the world, let’s just keep Pinterest beautiful.