Are Promoted Pins on Pinterest Worth it? For Authors?

Today I’m trying to be helpful instead of funny, so forgive me if you’re here for the jokes!

pinterest-logo-transparentPinterest recently rolled out Promoted Pinswhere you can turn one of your pins into an ad that will appear on other people’s feeds. Each time someone clicks on your Promoted Pins it costs you money, but also may get you repinned (exposure!) or get you a sale.

I thought I’d test it as a promotional tool for authors because really, I’m just not happy if I’m not throwing my money away trying to figure out how to sell more books.  Here are my observations so far on promoted pins.

Pinterest Promoted Pins – The Facts:

1. You have to have a Pinterest business account to qualify for promoted pins – if your Pinterest page is a private page, consider converting it to a business page or starting a new business collection.

2. You might also have to have been invited to do this at this point – though I’m sure it will be open to everyone soon. Here’s the link:

3. I tested three books set at Fifty Cents per click maximum.

Pineapple Lies
Romantic Comedy/Cozy Mystery
Slightly Stalky
A romantic comedy walks into a bar…
Funny/Thrilling Urban Fantasy

4. I edited an older post of mine about each of the books, adding a little more promotional language. For instance, for Angeli, I wrote “Looking for the next Hunger Games/Divergent/Sookie Stackhouse…?” You can see my pin here:

For one of them, I literally said “A great new…” and it was rejected. Had to rewrite and resubmit. You can’t say something is “great” or “awesome” or use wildly promotional language that can’t be substantiated.

5. I picked keywords I thought would limit my exposure to the people I wanted, and in doing so Pinterest offered up some other popular keyword ideas. You can see what keywords worked the best for me for Angeli below…

Promoted Pins Keywords

Pinterest Promoted Pins

6. You can target your campaign to women/men and language – be sure not to miss that. You don’t want to waste money on people with no real interest in buying your stuff.

My Pinterest Promoted Pins Results and Findings

1. Novels that appeal to younger readers (teens/20ish) gathered reposts more quickly. If I turned on the click-thrus for Angeli, people repinned it as quickly as I could burn through my money. Pineapple Lies sat. Slightly Stalky was in the middle. So, I think the users are largely younger girls and, maybe more specifically, fangirls. (I had my promotions set for female only.) I started with a limit of $10 per day spending on Angeli and then bumped it up to $40 for one day to see if it would run through a larger budget. It did. Meanwhile, Pineapple Lies barely spent $5, though I targeted a similar audience. In the end, romance seems to be the biggest pull. Pineapple Lies I listed largely as a mystery.

2. Keep an eye on spending, the reporting is slow so if you forget about it you might get nasty surprise. You can sent your “per day” spend, but for a while I didn’t get an update on how much I’d spent for two days. I had to guess/assume I’d maxed out my budget.


Pinterest Promoted Pins

Below are my results for a test over a long weekend. Spent $80 on clickthrus with Angeli and got repinned 248 times with a similar amount of clicks. Sold $29 worth of books though, so it is a money losing proposition in the long run, BUT good for a boost. Angeli, which I haven’t been promoting lately as I grow close to releasing Cherubim – Angeli Book Two, went from 100k on amazon to 20k in a couple days.

My Marketing Insights, Ideas & Tips for Pinterest Promoted Pins

1. I paused the promotions to see if sales stay up now that I’m on 250+ boards (I doubt they will, but we’ll see.)

2. I followed every person who repinned my books. Why not? Just because they repinned my book, it doesn’t mean they followed my board. By following them, maybe they’ll follow me back and become a fan.

3. I had half a dozen signups on my web site newsletter and several Twitter and Facebook follows thanks to the campaign as well, so the fun bleeds into other social media. Be sure in your Pinterest settings to allow sign in through Twitter and FB. This will make icons to those spots appear under your title so people can follow you more easily. Don’t forget to include your web site URL as well.

4.  While I didn’t MAKE money, it’s nice to know that I have this promotional ability in my pocket. For example, if I was about to ask a book promoting site for a free or 99 cent promotion slot for Angeli, I could run a Pinterest Promoted Pins campaign for a few days, get my book up in the ranks so it looks like it is doing well, THEN ask. The promotional site might see it as a winner and give me the go ahead more readily than if my Amazon sales were less impressive.
I’m going to try and do another run at this when one of my books is .99 cents (on promotion) to see if that increases conversions.

I welcome any comments, thoughts, ideas and experiences of yours!

Amy Vansant

7 Responses

  1. Cheryl

    Thanks for your review. I just got invited and am looking for what people thought about using them.


  2. Jennifer Moss

    For authors, it’s really hard to convert from social advertising. You have to look at your ROI – if you’re spending $10 a day for a month you’ve put out $300 for maybe 3-5 sales (if you’re lucky). Being with a publisher, my return on those sales are about $1 per unit so that’s a horrible ROI!

    If I’m just looking for followers who like mysteries or metaphysical stories (or both) then it converts better. However, I have thousands of followers on Facebook – now I need more sales.


  3. Michael

    I’m curious if you continued using this and how it went? I don’t know why they can’t update in near real time like Facebook does. It is so annoying that it is once a day. I just started using Pinterest Ads, but might stop for this reason because I fear of going overboard, especially because on a multi-day ad campaign where you have a daily budget, they seem to front load the ads where you go way overboard than what you should get, and then the next day you don’t get any action yet you get charged the full amount of your daily budget because it is counting the previous days ads. It seems kind of sketchy. Going to test one day ad units, but might be worth it just to stick with Facebook.


    • Amy Vansant

      I mess with it from time to time. The fact that the stats come a day late is infuriating though. You’ve spent money before you know it!



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