The Outdoor Brand’s Complete Guide to a Successful Pinterest Ad Campaign

Is your outdoor brand only focused on paid advertising for Facebook and Instagram? If so, you could be missing out on some huge opportunities. We’re talking about Pinterest.


Pinterest has been one of the best kept secrets in paid advertising — especially when marketing to outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s likely that everyone in your audience and target audience share one thing in common: a lust for experiences. Travel, nature, hiking, photography — they want to try everything life tosses at them!

Experience lovers of every kind flock to Pinterest, and it shows.

98% of Pinterest users say they’ve tried new things they found on Pinterest vs. just 71% of other social media platforms.

And more than half of those people made a purchase directly from the platform. That means Pinterest isn’t just for the dreamers, but for the doers, too!

With the power of paid advertising on your side, all that’s between you and driving new conversions is a smart paid ad strategy.

Discover the “who, what, where, why, when, and how” on launching successful advertising campaigns on Pinterest so your brand can make the most of this popular platform for outdoor enthusiasts.

Why Your Outdoor Brand Should Advertise on Pinterest

Just like with any other social media platform, you can’t expect to drive conversions without having a strong strategy in place. A crucial part of a full Pinterest marketing strategy is an effective paid advertising.

Paid ads on Pinterest drive about 2.5 times more conversions than on other platforms — with double the return.

Paid advertising allows you to stand out from the millions of other brands on Pinterest by targeting your niche audience with your products or services. Instead of waiting for them to come to you, you can show up in front of them.

Paid pins also make it a bit easier to shop than regular pins. Paid pins display your brand name and logo, and link directly to your sales page.

That means leaving less steps between people seeing your ad, and making purchase.

When to Begin Advertising on Pinterest

Before you dive in to paid Pinterest campaigns, you’ll want to make sure your Pinterest business profile is accessible and ready for potential buyers to explore.

Double check that you’ve filled in every information section possible. You’ll want to especially focus on ways for your audience to relate to your brand.

A good entryway to develop the relationship is making sure your “About Us” information is:

  • Inspiring
  • Detailed
  • Vulnerable
  • Showing off your unique expertise and what sets you apart from other brands.

If you haven’t already, your next step is to create your first Pinterest board.

Your board should be solely focused on your business. Include things that are consistent with your informational sections, and that help tell the story of your brand.

You can include things like links to blogs with striking visuals, lifestyle images of your services or products in action, or infographics to demonstrate your knowledge.

Get creative, and picture things that will evoke emotion for the users.

Take Etsy’s Pinterest, for example. While Etsy might not be an outdoor brand, they’ve demonstrated some creative board ideas that have been successful and can translate to any brand!

Most notably, they’re notorious for their guest pinner boards. Here, they curate thematic pin submissions from new and seasoned audience members as well as current Etsy retailers.


In doing so, they’ve humanized their brand by making an effort to connect with users, build trust, and adhere to their mission statement.

They also found a creative way to dress potential buyers at every stage of the buyer journey. The buyer journey breaks down the customer experience in 3 categories: awareness, considerations and decision.

Who to Target When Creating Pinterest Ads (and How to Do It)

When it comes to your social media conversions, it’s important to focus on quality vs. quantity.

While casting the widest net possible in your ad targeting might get a lot of eyes on your product, not many are likely to convert. This can cost you money and time.

Below are the steps for making the most effective Pinterest ads for your outdoor brand.

1. Know Your Audience Personas

The first step to building your target audience for paid Pinterest campaign is having a solid grasp on your audience personas.

Audience personas are characters who represent each type of audience you’re targeting.

One of the niches you’re targeting could be millennials with a passion for rock climbing. They’re determined to stay up-to-date on the latest gear, and are looking for striking images that will give them inspiration for their next adventure.

Give this target audience a name. We’ll call this one “Sage.”

Dive deeper into Sage’s dreams and desires. What are his goals when interacting with your brand? What challenges is he hoping to solve? Which influencers does he aspire to be like?

Now that you’ve gotten to know Sage, you’ll have some ideas for the type of messaging that will appeal to him, and what hashtags he might be searching for.

2. Set an Ad Campaign Goal

For step 2, you’ll need to set a goal for this particular campaign. Pinterest has plenty of objectives you can set, including:

  • Brand awareness. Set this objective if you’re looking for people who haven’t yet been introduced to your brand.
  • Traffic. Looking for more hits to your blog, or more eyes on a specific post? This is the objective you’ll want to set.
  • Video views. Use this if you’re showing off a new product video, video diaries or other video campaigns you want to make sure get the recognition they deserve.
  • App Install. The title speaks for itself. Use this objective if you have or are launching an app, and would like people to download it.
  • Catalog Sales. This handy tool is ideal for product sales. Here, you can upload an entire catalog of your products for users to explore.
  • Conversions. Set this as your objective if you’re trying to sell individual products, t0 show off a new sale, to get email signups and more.

3. Choose Your Ad Targeting Options

The audience gets even more specific and effective as you move on to step 3: audience targeting options.

Here, you’ll determine where your audience targeting is sourced — whether it’s from a customer list you have, your current Pinterest followers, or other audience segments you have in mind.

You can also create audiences in different category for each campaign. These include:


  • Create an audience of people who search for specific keywords that align with your business.


  • Here you can select a variety of interests the ideal audience member would have.


  • Use this option if there are certain demographics your current audience doesn’t seem to be drawing quite yet.

Be sure to record your goal and the results of each campaign so you can tweak your next ads as needed.

If you’d like to run an ad campaign that has multiple goals and various target audiences, create an ad group. Here you can create and manage pins with multiple targeting options.

4. Choose Where to Place Your Ads

Another targeting method Pinterest uses is placement targeting. Here, you’ll determine where you want your ads to appear. Your options for this category are:

Search: Your ads will only appear in on-platform searches and related Pins.

Browse: Your ads will be shown as people scroll through their home feed.

All: Your ads will appear in all placements. This one tends to be slightly pricier.

If you can budget it, it’s best to start with “All.”

After your campaign has finished, you can evaluate it to determine which placement was the most successful so you can make the necessary improvements to make sure your next campaign does even better.

5. Choose What to Include in Your Pinterest Ads

While the actual content you advertise will depend on various factors like your brand and its audience, your goals, and more, there are some Pinterest advertising best practices you can use as a guide.

Perhaps the most important best practice is to make sure your imagery is relevant to your brand.

Avoid stock images or other general imagery. People aren’t as attracted to generic ads that lack a way to define your brand. Instead, create brand-specific image that make your company and products the focal point.

Along with this, you’ll want to include your brand logo. It’s recommended by Pinterest that you keep the logo subtle, and avoid putting it in the bottom right corner as it will be covered by Pinterest Pin buttons.

Keep your captions and text overlay relevant as well. Make your point clearly and quickly (under 500 characters), with easy-to-follow instructions on what the viewer’s next move should be.

Be sure to also include important keywords. Much like Google, Pinterest search shows you keywords affiliated with the words you type.

So if you’re looking for keywords to add to an ad for outdoor gear for dogs, you can simply type “dogs” in the search. The search bar will then have a drop-down menu of popular keywords affiliated with the topic, like “dogs and puppies” or “dogs funny.”

Finally, always, ALWAYS check your links. There’s nothing worse than spending time and energy creating a Pinterest campaign only to have it lead your audience members to a broken or slow-loading link.

6. Measuring Your Pinterest Ad’s Success

What good is an ad campaign if there’s no way to tell how successful it was, and what you’ll need to change in the future?

Thankfully, Pinterest’s reporting dashboard has just about everything you need to analyze and optimize your ad campaigns.

To access the dashboard, simply click “Ads” then “Reporting” from your home screen. From here, you’ll be able to analyze various metrics.

Depending on your campaign goal, some of these metrics might hold more weight than others in your analysis.

  • Pin clicks shows you how many people clicked your pin after being served your ad, either on or off Pinterest.
  • Impressions are the number of times your ad appeared on a screen, and whether people engaged with it.
  • Outbound clicks are the number of times people have clicked a link that leads them off Pinterest, perhaps to your website.
  • Spend is the total amount you spent on the ad throughout the campaign.
  • Cost per result shows how much each targeted action cost you.
  • Click through rate is the number of clicks divided by impressions, showing what percentage of people who engaged with it.

On the dashboard, you’ll be able to compare campaigns to see which methods worked best and home in on the advertising formula that’s perfect for your brand.

Use Your Advertising Skills on Other Platforms

While the platforms and their options may vary, there are many skills you’ll learn while perfecting your Pinterest campaigns that can help you launch your best possible ads from other platforms, too.

And while Pinterest might be one of the best routes to take with paid ads, it certainly isn’t the only social platform where your brand can succeed. Need proof?

Read our case study on the success of Facebook lead generation campaigns >

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