Pinterest is often stereotyped as a home of nothing but fattening foods and quirky crafts, but it’s actually extremely useful for resorts and travel agencies. In fact, travel pins and searches constitute nearly 25% of all Pinterest activity! And it follows that if people are looking for somewhere to travel, they’re also going to be looking for somewhere to stay. Here’s what great ads and content on Pinterest look like.
1 Picture = 1,000 Words
Before we get to the ads of Pinterest (Promoted Pins) we need to look at what makes up a great Pinterest account with a solid following, and it starts with the images.
Pinterest is perhaps the most visual-oriented social media platform (next to Instagram) and to such an extent that almost every guide to using Pinterest for business will mention the need for quality images. As a resort, you’ll want the pictures of your accommodations, food, and activities to be bright, well-composed, and, most importantly, in focus! Be certain that the quality of images on your landing page come close to the quality and style of your Pins, or Pinners are likely to lose interest.
Another note on images (both your Pins and other website images) is that they must be optimized for mobile viewing, because an astounding 80% of Pinners using the Pinterest app will be accessing the network on their mobile devices. According to Hootsuite, images will function best if they are in vertical format, ideally with a 2:3 ratio.
It’s Not All About You
One of the most important things to keep in mind when working with any social media platform is that you should not be solely posting your own material. While you should be promoting yourself, the general recommendation is to have 75-80% of the material come from outside sources. Here are a few cool ways to do this with Pinterest:
- Pin other creators’ material to a “Blog of the Day” or “Photo of the Day” board, and let the author or creator know when they’ve made an appearance on your board. They will be flattered and come back for more.
- Follow Pinners’ travel boards that showcase your location or similar settings, and repin from them.
- Have a board with photos from local events, or share posts from your local tourism bureau as pins.
- Share pins with local places to eat or packing lists that your potential customers might find to be useful.
Naturally, it’s important for resort owners to know their audience. If the majority of your customers drive to your location from just a few hours away, they won’t be impressed with your “How to Live Through Long Flights” blog. If your resort is most frequented by honeymooners and primarily set up for couples, you won’t want to be advertising fun local activities for children. These may seem obvious, but there can be a temptation to throw your nets as wide as possible, and it’s not good for your business.
Tips for Making Boards
Everything on Pinterest is categorized by boards, and one Pinner can have up to 500! Though you will probably not want to (and shouldn’t) make 500 boards, you also shouldn’t dump everything onto one. Shooting for about 10 boards is a good starting point; it will give your followers and customers a variety to look at and ensure that no one board is too cluttered or lacks focus.
Don’t have empty boards! In fact, it’s best to wait to publish your board until it has at least 30 pins: otherwise it will look neglected and followers will lose interest. Until you’re ready to post a new board–whether it doesn’t have enough pins or you have a handful of pins without an adequate category–set it as a “Secret” board so that your followers won’t be able to see it. Don’t worry, it will be simple to edit the board to make it open to the public later.
Be sure to include clear calls to action (CTAs) on your own Pins. If you’re advertising an event on your site, go ahead and write, “Click here to learn more,” or “Get more information here,” in the Pin’s caption. Pinners have a tendency to be absent-minded and will drift to a new Pin quickly without a CTA. Also, while directing Pinners to your landing pages, be sure that the landing page lines up with the Pin! A Pinner will likely lose interest in your site altogether if clicking your Pin on, “How to Have the Best Beach Day Ever” sends them to your ‘Contact Us’ page.
Congrats, You’ve Been Promoted!
Promoted Pins are Pinterest’s newest form of advertising, and they’re looking pretty good. A Promoted Pin is basically a Pinterest ad that you’ve paid to have shown to more Pinners. The only visual difference between a regular Promoted Pin and an organic Pin is that there will be a small “Promoted” tag underneath each one. Besides the regular edition, there are several different kinds of Promoted Pins:
- Cinematic: these Pins are animated to change as the Pinner scrolls downward, much like a flip book
- Place Pins: these Pins show location details and a map when the Pinner pins an item from any retail location
- Buyable Pins: these Pins have a buy button built right in, so Pinners never have to leave the site to purchase what they want. (Note: the advertiser’s business account must be connected to Shopify, Salesforce, or BigCommerce to use this option).
- Video Pins: these Pins are exactly what they sound like! The video will play automatically as the Pin reaches the user’s screen. Be warned, the videos will not play with sound unless the Pinner opens the Pin and activates the speaker.
There are a few important rules about Promoted Pins to keep in mind. First, there can’t be any promotional information, service claims, deceptive content, calls to action, or price listing in the Pin’s image. It’s okay to have that in the caption, but don’t stick in on the picture.
Secondly, make sure all Promoted Pins have direct links. If your Pins are redirecting rather than going straight to your landing page, Pinterest will disprove your ads and may block your links. It’s also important to keep your keywords on track, but we’ll discuss that more below.
Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
Promoted Pins operate on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis, using a ‘second-price auction model’ which means that when you set up your ads, you’ll tell Pinterest the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click and what your total budget is. Pinterest will then use that information to purchase space for your ads in their auctions. Don’t worry, Pinterest will only charge you whatever amount under or equal to your maximum bid that they used to beat the second-highest bidder and secure your slot.
Note: Don’t start with the maximum CPC Pinterest recommends, because the numbers are often very high and you can generate traffic with a much lower amount. Start small and inch your way up if you don’t seem to be getting traction.
Just like with other social media ads, Pinterest has ad groups that allow you to target specific audiences, including Pinners that already follow you, those who have visited your website in the past, or “act-alike” audiences whose behavior is similar to your existing followers’. (You will need to implement a Pinterest Conversion Tag to utilize some of these features).
What to Know About Keywords
Keyword targeting for Promoted Pins is especially interesting. Here’s why: The Promoted Pin will not only be featured in Pinners’ specific searches that include the Pin’s keywords, but may also show up in the Pinner’s home feed if the topic is related to other recent searches, that Pinner’s boards, or people the Pinner follows. Because of this, you will want to be quite generous with your keywords. Say you are advertising your resort and these are some of your direct keywords:
- Panama City Beach Resort
- Stay in Panama City Beach
- Beach Resorts
- Vacation in Panama City Beach
To get better reach, add some topics your potential customers would also have interest in:
- Beach activities
- Best honeymoon locations
- Weekend getaway beach
- Spring break
- Family road trip
Add all of these and more! Pinterest understands its own system and won’t get after you for having wide keyword variety unless you really overreach, like advertising a holiday room deal with “fried chicken recipes” and “One Direction” in the keywords. That looks incredibly tacky and neither Pinterest nor your audience will appreciate it.
One of the ways you can check for likely keywords is to search your topic directly. Just type your topic into the Pinterest search bar and see what Pinterest generates as a related category or subcategory, which will show you what keywords may be useful in your Promoted Pin. For example, typing in “Skiing Alps,” in the Pinterest search bar brings up suggestions for Winter Wonderland, France, Bucket List, Adventure, and others!
Troubleshooting and Staying on Top
Your boards are bursting with bright, eye-catching pictures and quality content. You have loads of followers and the leads are coming in. Great! Now it’s time for maintenance, and here’s what you should keep in mind:
- It’s more important to Pin often than it is to Pin a lot at one time. Putting out a few Pins every morning or evening will do much more good than a massive Pin dump once every two weeks.
- Watch the trends and put out (or Repin) relevant content, especially near holidays
- Keep your website updated with Pin-worthy content such as scenic photos, events, and deals
Those are for your Pinterest account in general, but what about Promoted Pins? If they’re lagging, try some of these options to restore the vim and vigor:
- Find an organic Pin (of your own) that’s performing well and Promote it
- Give Promoted Pins that were popular before a new look by changing their images
- Update keywords to connect with new related topics and new Pinners
- Watch your targeted audiences and drop the ones that aren’t working
Pinterest is an ever-changing platform, so if you want to stay on top, be innovative, flexible and fun! If you’d like more advice on social media marketing or ads, always feel free to contact us!