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Lessons from Pinterest Holiday Retargeting

Published: February 19, 2019

Author: Patricia ODonnell

In the ecommerce world, Pinterest is gaining traction as an advertising platform. Going into Q4 with a client who specializes in holiday products, our team decided to test the waters with Pinterest ads. Before diving into our learnings, let’s cover some basics.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to save (or “pin”) primarily image-focused content (“pins”) to different boards on their profiles. Users can find pins through uploading images themselves, stumbling across them organically in their feed, or through keyword-based searches. These boards can be public or private, and they offer a unique opportunity to advertisers. Boards contain pins indefinitely, even if you stop running your pins as ads. This gives Pinterest an additional appeal to advertisers, because you gain the opportunity to drive additional organic traffic during and after your ad campaigns are running. Over time, even if you stop running ads, your content can still drive traffic organically and boost brand recognition.

Testing and Results

Our team, working with an ecommerce client who specializes in holiday products, tested out Pinterest from October through December, focusing on Halloween, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and Christmas. Our client’s primary KPI is ROAS, so our main focus was creating campaigns that would perform efficiently and help us meet our overall ROAS goal.
We decided to launch with an Acquisition campaign initially (using keyword and interest targeting), but we struggled to reach efficiency. Because of this, we decided to test out launching a Retargeting campaign (for cart abandoners and recent site visitors) in the last week of our Halloween advertising efforts. We very quickly found that Retargeting was much more efficient for us than Acquisition; while our Acquisition ROAS was sitting at 0.5, our Retargeting campaign ROAS skyrocketed to 3.4 in just a few days to top our Acquisition campaigns.
Based on this data, we decided to invest more of our budget in Retargeting going into the Cyber Monday/Black Friday season. Through retargeting cart abandoners and recent site visitors, we were able to increase our retargeting efforts and reach an overall ROAS of 5.2 by the end of November.

In the meantime, we continued to run tests with the goal of increasing our Acquisition campaign efficiency. While we were able to eventually get our Acquisition ROAS over 1.0, we still did not get anywhere close to the efficiency we saw from our Retargeting campaigns. It became clear to us that Retargeting was the most efficient option on Pinterest for our client.
Overall, although the volume was lower than on other platforms, Pinterest provided a great opportunity for our client to expand and capture traffic through Retargeting campaigns, and contributed to us being able to surpass our overall holiday ROAS goal for our client. Moving forward, we will definitely be applying these learnings as other holidays approach.

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