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Appeal to the Eyes—Advertising on Pinterest and Instagram

Computer with Pinterest open on screen with phone sitting on table with Instagram open on screen

Social media advertising options seem to grow monthly. Everywhere you look there is a new platform to place ads; but which ones are right for you and your business or product? Let’s take a closer look at paid advertising on visual-driven platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.


Instagram is a social media platform a lot like Facebook, probably because Instagram is owned and operated by the creative minds at Facebook. I appreciate the solid targeting features of Facebook, and now those same features lend themselves to Instagram too! In a nutshell, the difference between Instagram and Facebook is that Instagram is a far more visually-driven social media platform with highly engaging ads that tend to hit a younger audience than Facebook.

That being said, the first obvious question to ask yourself … is your target demographic on Instagram? Almost 26% of the Instagram audience is between 18–34 years old and 23% is between 18–24 years old. This audience is also predominately female. Second question to ask … is your product or service a popular topic on Instagram? At this time, popular topics on Instagram include food, fashion, and films among other things. So, if you said, “Yes!” to either of those questions, Instagram may be a good choice for you. Moving forward, make sure your creative content is aesthetically pleasing. Instagram users prefer visual to text, and you most certainly want to be able to convey your message accordingly.


Pinterest is another platform that skews heavily toward women, but unlike Instagram, appeals to a wider audience, ages 18–64. Paid advertising on Pinterest happens in the form of “Promoted Pins” which look just like regular pins, but appear in your feed because a business paid for that placement. Most of the 175 million users on Pinterest are not bothered by Promoted Pins, as they seem to blend into pins they are already searching. Pinterest offers a great opportunity to target people who need your product or service with your relevant Promoted Pin content.

However, with Pinterest you can’t target a particular region or state. This isn’t a big deal for large, national brands that are trying to reach the masses, however, for many small businesses that challenge is a deal breaker. Local businesses need to be able to target the people near them, and it’s just wasted dollars if you can’t target those consumers specifically. (Things change quickly though! This sort of targeting could be in the works for Pinterest down the road.)

Where to go from here …

Looking at all the social media platforms available can be overwhelming—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Tumblr, Reddit and more every day. My best advice is to research one established social media channel to start, and if that platform fits your product and audience, give it some honest consideration. Social media can be a strong addition to any advertising campaign.

Have more questions about social advertising? Contact our experts!