A huge part of social media advertising is making sure you’re targeting the right audience. Each social media platform has their own targeting capabilities, and it’s important to know the best ways to target your people on each.

While you might know a lot about creating great Pinterest ads, are you showing them to the right people?

Understanding how Pinterest ad targeting works is key to creating great ads that generate the most buzz, awareness, traffic and conversions for your buck.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about Pinterest advertising targeting and how you can put together the most effective Pinterest ads for your business.

Why use Pinterest advertising

Pinterest has over 320 million monthly active users, which gives you a large audience for your ads. Plus, 89% of pinners are using the platform to shop for future purchases, making the chance for conversion that much higher.

Pinterest ads show up natively in feeds, seamlessly fitting in with other content. This further increases the chances that users will click and convert, making Pinterest ads extremely powerful and effective.

Why your Pinterest ad targeting matters

Targeting your Pinterest ads is important because it helps you to find the best audience for your product, service or content.

Ensuring that you’re targeting people with interests, search behavior and demographics that match your business matters so that your ads are where they’ll have the biggest impact.

Placing your content in front of the people who may actually want to see it is the first step to creating successful Pinterest ads.

Let’s jump into the various targeting types and how you can ensure you find the right audience for your ads.

Pinterest ad campaign objectives

When you’re getting started with your Pinterest ad, the first step is to choose your ad objective. This is similar to other platforms like Facebook, where you need to first state the goal you’re hoping to achieve with your ad before moving forward.

In Pinterest, there are six different campaign objectives for you to choose from.

pinterest ad targeting - pinterest campaign objectives

Brand awareness

This is the perfect way to just get the word out there about your brand. Brand awareness ads are top of funnel ads that simply help people learn that your business exists. You can lead to top level landing pages to introduce people that click through to what you do.

Video views

You can run video ads on Pinterest, and choosing this objective will help to put your video in front of the most people possible. It’s another awareness type ad, giving you the best chance to put your business front and center for new people.


This is the best objective for you if your goal is to send traffic to a certain post, landing page, product or service. It’s more than just getting people to see your ad, but isn’t quite to the point of driving sales and conversions.

App install

If your brand is trying to promote an app and get Pinterest users to install it on their mobile devices, Pinterest has an ad objective just for you. Create an app install ad to see how successful it is for you.


You need a verified Pinterest tag installed on your website in order to utilize this ad objective, but it’s a great way to track conversions from your ads. Use this objective to increase conversions like signups and purchases through your Pinterest ads.

Catalog sales

You will have to upload a data source of products to use the catalog sales conversion, but it’s a great way to showcase your products on Pinterest and increase sales. Once your data source is approved, product pins are automatically created and you can then sort products and create ads.

Pinterest ad targeting options

As soon as you choose your Pinterest ad objective, you move onto the targeting section. When selecting your targeting, you want to be as precise as possible to ensure the right audience finds your ads.

There are three main targeting categories to work with when pinpointing who to show your ad to – audience, interest and keyword targeting – plus a few extended targeting options to narrow your audience down even further.

Audience targeting

Audience targeting is where you can create an audience based on your website visitors, email list or existing Pinterest audiences.

pinterest ad targeting - pinterest audience targeting

Once you click to create a new audience, you’re taken to a new dashboard to get started. Click the red Create audience button at the top to choose the type of audience you want to create.

pinterest ad targeting - types of audiences to create

Targeting a group of people gets you a basic audience before narrowing it down even further based on the specific ad, content or product/service you’re promoting.

After you select the group of people you want to target, click Next and name your audience. Then complete the rest of the steps before moving onto the next targeting option.

Interest targeting

The next Pinterest ad targeting option is based on your audience’s interests. What do they like? What types of pins are they saving?

pinterest ad targeting - pinterest interest targeting

Everyone uses the Pinterest platform in ways that are completely unique to their own personal interests. That’s why creating Pinterest ads by interest in the perfect way to target your specific customer base as well as people who are interested in your products or services.

As an example, if you’re selling wedding veils and accessories, selecting interests like “wedding” and “women’s fashion” could be beneficial for targeting the right audience.

Keyword targeting

The third main category is keyword targeting, which focuses on specific words or phrases that your target audience is searching on the platform.

Since Pinterest is a type of search engine, think of Pinterest keyword targeting being similar to Google and Bing ads. It will show your ads based on the search terms and keywords people are typing in.

pinterest ad targeting - pinterest keyword targeting

Pinterest recommends using a minimum of 25 keywords, and it’s important to keep them relevant to your specific ad and not only to your business. You want your ads to appear when people are searching for the most similar keywords so that your ad answers their search query.

Not only can you add keywords that you want your ad to appear for, but you can set certain keywords and phrases that you don’t want your ads to appear for.

There are a few different types of keyword matches to use for Pinterest ad targeting:

  • Broad match: Reach the widest audience by having your keywords match similar searches.
  • Phrase match or exact match: Narrow in on a more specific keyword search.
  • Negative match: Choose keywords that you don’t want your ads to appear for.

The negative keyword matches are helpful when your product or service has a name that is similar to another and not accurate industry. By using negative keyword matches, your ads won’t appear in those industry topic results where they aren’t useful.

Other Pinterest ad targeting options

While audience, interest and keyword targeting are the most important categories to focus on, there are other targeting options that you don’t want to forget either.

You can set certain parameters and demographics when you’re trying to cater to a specific audience, like you see below.

pinterest ad targeting - pinterest demographics

There are also certain ad placements that you can set to determine where you want your ads to appear. You can choose all locations, only when people browse through their home feeds or only when people search for something on the platform.

pinterest ad targeting - pinterest ad placements

And then there are Pinterest extended targeting options. With this targeting option, you allow Pinterest to use their algorithm and tools to automatically target your ad to the audience that it thinks will perform best.

This targeting option is unique to Pinterest, as no other social media platform offers an automatic targeting option. And it can be a great way for beginners with little to no ad experience to still see a great return on their Pinterest ads.

Get started with Pinterest ads

Knowing how to get your Pinterest ads in front of the right audience can make a different to your digital marketing campaign. Learn more about Pinterest advertising and creating a picture perfect Pinterest marketing strategy on our blog. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to learn more about social media and Pinterest marketing strategies.