Getting Started with Pinterest Video Ads

Emily Salshutz


Earlier this month, Pinterest made the ability to create video ads available to all eligible advertisers. You can now upload a native video to Pinterest and promote it with a video awareness campaign. Want to try it out but not sure how to get started? We’ve put together this quick guide to help you out.

Step 1: Make sure your account is eligible for Promoted Pins

First things first, you’ll need to ensure that your account is eligible for running ads on Pinterest. Here are the criteria:

  • Promoted Pins are only available to partners in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand at this time.
  • You’ll need to have a business account in order to use Promoted Pins. You can sign up or convert your existing account to get access.
  • Currently you can only promote Pins from your profile, so make sure to add Pins and boards to your profile before diving in to set up your ad so that folks that click through won’t find an empty profile.

Step 2: Create your video ad

If you want to create a video ad, you’ll need a video to promote! Before you dive in and start making your video, here are some things to keep in mind about the format, since Pinterest will only let you upload and promote videos of specific sizes, codecs, aspect ratios, and resolutions:

  • File format: .mp4 or .mov (Animoto exports .mp4 files)
  • Codec: All video files should be H.264 encoded
  • Recommended aspect ratio: Square (1:1) or vertical (9:16)
  • Resolution: Minimum 240 ppi
  • File size: 2 GB max
  • Video length: 15-30 seconds is recommended, up to 30 minutes is accepted

If you’re creating your video in Animoto, you’ll want to use the square aspect ratio format in our Marketing Video Builder. If you’ve created a landscape video, not to worry — you can use our aspect ratio switching feature to create a square version of your video.

For this example, we created a square video to promote Animoto as a tool for creating wedding slideshows.

Marketing Video Style: Blank Slate
**Song: “Crazy Love (Instrumental)” by Mindy Gledhill

Step 3: Upload your video to Pinterest

To upload your video, log into Pinterest and then hover over “Ads” on the top left of the page. Select “Overview” from the dropdown menu. This will take you to the Pinterest ad dashboard where you can monitor all of your campaigns from the last 30 days.

Creating Pinterest Video Ad

To upload your video, click the red plus sign on the top right and select “Upload video.”

Pinterest Ads

A pop-up will prompt you to upload the video you created in the previous step.

Step 4: Add Pin details

You can add your Pin details while your video is uploading. You’ll need to add the following details:

  • Thumbnail: You can choose from a random selection of thumbnails provided or click on the Capture Thumbnail button to create a new thumbnail option from any frame in your video.
  • Description: Add a description to your Pin. Keep in mind that the feed will only show approximately 60 characters of your description, so keep it brief and share all the important details up front.
  • Website: Add a website link to where you’d like your pin to link to. This can be your main website or a specific landing page that relates to your content. For our example, we linked to a landing page with information for creating wedding videos with Animoto.
Add Pin details Pinterest

Once you’ve added a thumbnail, description, and website link, click Next and choose a board where you’d like your Pin to be posted. In addition to being distributed as an ad, your video will be shared to your profile where it’ll be distributed to your followers on their feeds as well.

Pinterest Thumbnail

Note: When you’re choosing a board, your video will not play. Rather, it will display the thumbnail image you chose for the video. Once your video is shared to a board, however, it will play natively on your profile. Videos will not autoplay on the feed when posted organically, but will play natively on Pinterest when someone clicks to watch.  Once you promote your Pin, however, it will autoplay in the feed.

Step 5: Promote your video

Now that your video is uploaded to Pinterest, you can promote it be setting up a Video awareness campaign. To do this hover over “Ads” again on the top left of the page and select “Video.” Then, click the red “Create campaign” button to start setting up your ad campaign.

New Pinterest Ad Campaign

Setting up your campaign

Because you selected “Video” from the Ads dropdown, your campaign goal — to build brand awareness through video — will already be selected. You can pick from existing campaigns or start an entirely new one. If you’re creating a new video campaign (which you likely are if you’re just getting started!), give it a name you’ll remember, then choose an optional daily spend cap or lifetime spend cap for your campaign. When you’re done, click Add more details at the bottom of the screen.

Pinterest Ad Campaign Goal

Creating an ad group

The next step is to create an ad group. You can think of this as the demographic and interest details that’ll deliver your Pin to the users that fit into the target demographic for your business, product, or service, as well as specifics around how long you’d like your campaign to run. Here’s the information you’ll need to add:

  • Ad group name: Choose something that will make it easy to remember which demographic you’re targeting with this campaign (i.e. Women’s Fashion 18-25).
  • Start and end dates and Ad group budget: You can run a campaign continuously with a daily budget (until you decide to cut it off) or you can choose a specific date range with either a daily or lifetime budget. With a lifetime budget, your campaign will end once your budget has been spent.
  • Your audiences: This is where you define the audience of the right people to get your Pins in front of. You can target visitors to your site, a list of customers you upload, an engagement audience that have engaged with pins from your domain, or an actalike audience that behaves similarly to one you’ve already got. Note that you can also skip this section and target based on interests or keywords, which we’ll look at next.
  • Interests: What types of things would your target customer be interested in? You can target based on these interests in this section. Scroll through and check off the interests that apply, or use the search field to find specific interests.
  • Keywords: Add a list of keywords that you’d like your Pin to show up for when people search. These should be relevant to your Pin.
  • Locations: You can either target all U.S. locations or pick a specific location in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the UK.
  • Languages: Targeting people who speak a specific language? You can set that up here too.
  • Genders: Is the product or service you’re offering specific to males or females? You can choose the gender you’d like to reach.
  • Maximum CPM bid: Finally, you’ll be asked to choose a maximum CPM bid. For a video awareness campaign you’ll be charged based off impressions (or views). CPM stands for cost per thousand impressions. Pinterest will assign a recommended bid to your ad group, based on the audience you’ve selected.
Add details Pinterest ad

Once you’ve added your details, click Pick a Pin to continue.

Picking a pin

Now it’s time to pick your video. The Video Pin that you uploaded should appear under “All Pins,” but, if you can’t find it, just go to your profile and copy the URL and enter it in the top right corner of the “Pick a Pin” page. Click on the video to select it.

Pick a pin

Finalize Pin details

Here’s your chance to double-check all of your ad details, including your destination URL, and to add an optional Promoted Pin name. Click Promote Pin to start running your campaign.

Pin details

Step 6: Monitor your campaign

Once your campaign is running, you’ll want to check in to see how it’s performing. To check in, hover over “Ads” in the top left corner of the logged in screen and then select “Video.” You’ll be able to view your campaign performance over a custom time period to see how it’s performing, including the spend, number of impressions, CPM, CPV (cost per view), and number of video views. Want to see how many views you had on a specific day? Just hover over that day’s plot point on the graph.

Monitor video campaigns Pinterest

Have you experimented with Pinterest video ads yet? We’d love to hear what your experience was like! Share a comment below, or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.