Targeting

To reach the right people at the right time, use targeting to show your Promoted Pins to relevant Pinners. Aside from location, gender, language and device, you can also target your ads by using interests, keywords or audiences—or any combination of all the three.

Placement targeting
Interest targeting
Keyword targeting
Audience targeting
Locations, languages, devices and gender targeting
Best practices

​Placements determine where your Promoted Pins show up on Pinterest. When you set up your campaign, we automatically show your ads everywhere allowing you to reach all Pinners. You also have the ability to choose placements based on how Pinners use Pinterest.

  • Browse: Your Promoted Pins will appear as people browse,  including in the homefeed and related Pins.
  • Search: Your Promoted Pins will appear as users search for ideas, including in search results and related Pins


With interest targeting, you can take advantage of Pinterest's unique understanding of people's interests, tastes and life stages. Within Browse placements, like the home feed or Related Pins, interest targeting lets you reach Pinners based on other Pins they've saved or engaged with.

Add interests related to the thing you're promoting - for instance, if you're promoting mid-century modern living room furniture, try targeting Pinners interested in "mid century modern", "modern living" and "living rooms". However, make sure any interests you add are relevant to your Pin and are compliant with our policies or your Promoted Pin may get rejected. Refine your audience by testing both broad and precise interests.

To see the full list of possible interests, reference this resource.

Within Search placements, keyword targeting lets you reach people as they search for a specific idea on Pinterest.

Add keywords related to the ad you’re promoting—for instance, if you’re promoting living room furniture, try targeting people searching for “living room decor” or “home decor ideas.” However, make sure any keywords you add are relevant to your Pin and compliant with our policies, or your ad may get rejected.

For more advanced advertisers, you can use match types and negative keywords to target Pinners’ search terms with even more precision.

Keyword match types: 

  • Fine tune your targeting with broad, phrase and exact match keywords. Get precise control over which searches your ad appears in by using phrase and exact matches to narrow in on specific searches, or use broad match to reach a wider audience. Negative keywords let you exclude certain search terms from triggering your ads and can be set at the ad group or campaign level
  • When adding match types through Ads Manager directly, use operators to indicate the match type. For broad match, leave a keyword as is, for phrase match, use quotations around your keywords, and for exact match, use brackets around your keywords (see Example Keyword below). Operators are not necessary when using the Pinterest bulksheet.

Click to expand - table that compares and provides examples for the different match types Collapse match type table

Match Types - definitions and examples

Audience targeting helps you reach a more specific group of people, and combines the info you know about your customers with info we have on our end about people and the way they use Pinterest.

When you use audience targeting, your Promoted Pins will show up in the home feed, as well as the everything and popular feeds. (If you use keyword targeting as well, they’ll show up in search results too.)

To create an audience, just go to your Ads Manager, Ads, then Audiences.

Note that Pinterest will never share audiences you’ve created with anyone else, or use them to target anyone else's campaigns, unless you ask us to.

You can create four different types of audiences:

1. Retarget people who visited your site: Get more relevant information about the actions that users take on your website to create custom targeting on your Promoted Pins. Visitor retargeting identifies people who have already visited your site, and lets you target them on Pinterest, where they are more likely to take action.

You’ll need to set up the Pinterest tag in order to track and create visitor audiences. Add the base code across every page on your site, and add the event code to pages where you want to track the actions you care about. In Audience Manager, you can use these events to create audiences to retarget people. Check out this help center article for steps to install the Pinterest tag if you haven’t already.  

Once you've added the Pinterest Tag, to create a visitor audience head to Ads Manager, hover over Ads in the dropdown menu on the top of the screen, then click Audiences. Click ‘Create Audience’ in the upper right and select the first choice for visitors who went to your site. From here you’ll select your Pinterest Tag, and you can add filters to create audiences based on specific events or pages on your website.    

Filters available for visitor retargeting: 

  • Events - Create an audience based on one or more specific event tags on your site, and the event data associated with that event. For example, you might retarget people who’ve added a specific type of product to their cart, but haven’t yet checked out.
  • URL - Create an audience based on one or more pages that people have visited on your site. You can include specific URLs or a portion of the URL and can retarget people who’ve landed on those pages, like your checkout or confirmation page. 

Example of a visitor audience - filtering by an event Example of a visitor audience - filtering by an event

Example of a visitor audience - filtering by an event

Example of a visitor audience - filtering by a URL Example of a visitor audience - filtering by a URL

Example of a visitor audience - filtering by a URL

Filters can target or exclude specific events or URLs. Once you’ve created your audience, the audience size will update within 24 hours. Keep in mind you must have at least 100 people in your audience in order to target it on your Promoted Pins. 

If you’re having trouble with your visitor audience, double check:

  • Your Pinterest Tag is verified in the tag dashboard
  • The spelling of your event code in your audience exactly matches the event on your website  

2. A list of customers you upload: Upload existing customers’ emails or mobile ad IDs (MAIDs) through a CSV file—and then we’ll compare that list to people who use Pinterest so you can either include or exclude that audience in your targeting. (Use inclusion targeting to reach existing, high value customers with a specific message, or exclusion targeting to drive new customer acquisition goals.)

When your customer list is uploaded to Pinterest, it is immediately hashed and cannot be re-downloaded or accessed again. If you want to edit your customer list you'll need to upload a new one to the audience.

Once you create your customer list it will be visible in your audience manager. Pinterest will look for people in your audience list that match existing people on Pinterest. Once your list has at least 100 matches available, the status will turn green and you’ll be able to target that audience on your Promoted Pin. It can take 24 hours to process your list. Keep in mind your final audience list will likely be much smaller than the total number of emails or mobile Ad IDs you originally upload, since the final list will only include people who match to existing Pinterest users.

The nitty gritty: You can use email files with cleartext, or with a SHA256 or MD5 hash key. For MAID files, you can use cleartext, SHA1, SHA256 or MD5 hash keys. IDFAs must be uppercase and AAIDs must be lowercase.

3. An engagement audience that engaged with Pins from your confirmed domain: Target people who’ve engaged with Pins that link to your site: If you’ve confirmed your website in your Account Settings, then you can target people who’ve previously engaged with Pins from your website. You can confirm your website in your Account Settings

Add filters to your engagement audience to target or exclude people who take specific actions on your Pins, specific destination URLs, or Pin IDs.

Example of an engagement audience Example of an engagement audience

Example of an engagement audience

If you're having trouble with your engagement audience, double check:

  • Your website is confirmed in your Account Settings
  • If adding a filter for Pin IDs, make sure to copy the organic Pin ID, not the Promoted Pin ID

4. An actalike audience that behaves similarly to one you already have: Actalike targeting helps you easily reach even more people who are similar to an existing audience. We create actalike audiences using info we know about Pinners and their behaviors. 

Each audience needs to have 100 people before you can start using it. For example, if you uploaded a customer list of 120 people, but our system detects that only 80 of them use Pinterest, you’ll need to add more customers.


Locations

  • The default location targeting is for people in your business country. For example, US businesses will see that targeting defaults to all US locations

  • You can choose to target your Promoted Pin to any combination of US, Canada, and UK, at the country level or at the metro level. You can select DMAs in the US (we do not currently have targeting by state), metros in Canada and TV region codes in the UK. Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand do not have more granular location targeting. Click here for a complete list of locations.

Languages

  • Defaults to All languages

  • You can select specific languages

Devices

  • Defaults to All devices

  • You can select specific devices

Genders

  • Defaults to All genders

  • You can select specific genders

    • Unspecified means people who didn’t select a gender when they signed up

On each Promoted Pin, we recommend you include a set of keywords and a set of interests representing your target audience. This allows you to define your desired audience, and reach them as they browse AND search.

  • Consider including adjacent interests to reach Pinners who could also be interested in your business. For instance, if you’re promoting kid-friendly snacks, try targeting people interested in “parenting” and people interested in “healthy snacks”

  • If you don’t add interests to your Promoted Pin, we’ll use your keywords to figure out which audiences should see your Promoted Pins in home and category feeds.

  • We’ll make a few suggestions for your Pin based on popular searches—add these keywords by clicking the + button

  • If you already have a list of keywords, you can import them all at once by clicking on Import keywords and copying your keywords into the lightbox

  • Make sure your keywords are relevant and compliant with our policies to avoid being disapproved for irrelevant targeting in the ad review process

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