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Thinking visual: how to secure paid social conversions from Pinterest and TikTok

ClickThrough Marketing


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August 24, 2021 | 9 min read

After a lockdown ridden year in 2020, 2021 has been the year of freedom, discovery and curiosity

This new era of liberty has also been echoed in marketing, the platforms we use, and the way we market in general! With people first being forced to stay at home, then later simply choosing to, brands had to quickly adapt to the new rules of business and be more innovative than ever when it came to securing a new audience who are ready to convert from the comfort of their own homes.

Pinterest and TikTok have capitalised on the feeling of innovation and are now the fastest growing marketing platforms other than Facebook. Brands who have been able to capitalise on this have seen phenomenal growth themselves, however, from Pinterest’s reputation as the go-to place for anything crafty, and users spending hours being entertained by TikTok videos, each platform is completely different and needs to be approached in such a way.

How to guide users through Pinterest’s conversion funnel

Pinterest is an opportunity to portray your brand in a different light, an opportunity that a lot of brands miss out on as they don’t believe that Pinterest would be the right fit for them. Little do they know, Pinterest is the right fit for EVERY brand - it's just how you position yourself on the platform that counts.

The way Pinterest works is by letting users Pin content on their own boards that they can use for inspiration, ideas, and encouragement. Personally, I have many Pinterest boards around planning my wedding and my future house. I’ve had these boards since I was the tender age of 13 and I’m still no closer to either, but I guess it's always best to be prepared...

The way brands can get involved in Pinterest’s inspirative way of thinking is by introducing people to their products/services and being highly relevant to the content the user will already be seeing on their feed. This can be helped with Pinterest’s keyword targeting function where you can target people’s interests and searches, then serve your content alongside those. For example, if I was a healthcare brand for elderly people in care homes I wouldn’t serve ads to an audience of ‘people who love to move around, climb mountains, do yoga and run a Zumba class,’ however I would target ‘activity ideas for people over the age of 65 with low mobility’. And yes, you really can tailor your ads that specifically!

Why Pinterest advertising is important

Having been going since 2010, Pinterest might not be seen as the exciting new platform on the block, but Pinterest is a fast-growing platform and offers endless opportunities for all sections of the funnel. Our job as marketers is to be able to identify where our potential customers are in said funnel and capitalise on their journey. We serve ads that resonate with people at the start of the funnel looking for inspiration (therefore getting our clients’ names out there from the get go), to users who have their wallets at the ready and are looking for specific brands to help their own journey and the final phase of the user purchasing.

How to create content for Pinterest

Pinterest is best utilised for inspiration in both the long term and the short term, (just like my wedding and house boards that have been in the making for seven years!). This is good for all businesses as users can turn their plans and dreams into a reality with your brand being a big part of that journey. A conversion from Pinterest is exciting as it feels fulfilling, like the last part of a project coming together. Being part of this process gives users a positive experience of your brand they will be able to look back on.

To make sure this happens your content needs to be spot on and designed to resonate with pinners. So, my top tips for Pinterest ads are as follows:

  • Inspire and inform: Rouse interest and help users form ideas that may have not happened organically. Always helping the user take a step back, see the bigger picture and choose the best route of their journey with your product.
  • Handpick your own offering: Make sure whatever one user is served is as tailored to them as possible, making your ad more likely to help and guide them along the funnel.
  • Make it personal: Pinterest welcomes any brand and their content with open arms, so make sure you give the best of you and your brand by fitting the content to you. Don’t change who you are or your brand guidelines to fit in – be authentic and let Pinterest users fall in love with your brand.

How to know if TikTok is a good fit for your brand

From an established (but growing!) platform to the relative new kid in town. What can I say about TikTok…?

The platform was introduced in 2018 and now, 3 years on, has had 2 billion downloads and 800 million active users (compared to Pinterest’s 454 million monthly users). Although TikTok’s popularity is growing among older users, TikTok’s main demographic is teenagers and young adults. If this fits your brand’s demographic then the platform represents a huge opportunity for building brand recognition! If not, you don’t necessarily have to shun the platform completely, but should be looking at a wider conversation on which platforms will work for you.

If you decide that TikTok is the place for you, there are some key considerations to think about before adapting your advertising strategy to include TikTok. Ask yourself;

  • Is my target audience going to engage with my ads?
  • Is my product/service the best thing to push for on TikTok?
  • Will TikTok help me with a full funnel strategy?
  • Do I have the capability to create native looking video content?

With so many amazing factors like its international reach, time saving marketing and the easy use of influencer marketing, being able to use TikTok to its greatest potential require some planning. The above checklist of questions is a brilliant starting point to visit before integrating it into your marketing strategy.

Is TikTok a conversion friendly platform?

Something to consider with TikTok is that having the resource to create video content is key as there is no option to use image content! With 86% of users preferring video content on social media, TikTok is a platform designed around this engaging format. With the ability to repurpose TikTok videos for other platforms, we’re already on the right track to creating a smart approach to paid social content!

When TikTok is done right, you can see brands sell out almost universally. With a young audience, items can quickly hit the ‘must have’ territory and lead to massive levels of demand and a ‘get them while you can’ mentality. Little Moons mochi are an incredible example of a brand who used TikTok advertising to boost brand awareness and achieve a 1,300% uplift in sales at Tesco! Whether your goal is to lead users to a specific web page or simply increase footfall in the real world, TikTok advertising really does lead to conversions. But, how do we achieve this?

How to turn viral TikTok success into conversions

The one tip I value above all others for TikTok is to make sure your ads look as native as possible! This means they blend in with the feed and don’t feel desperate and intrusive. You’re more likely to get impressions, clicks and conversions on TikTok when you blend in with the crowd which, conveniently, is the complete opposite of every other platform (clearly, they don’t like to make it easy for us!). However, as much as you want your ads to blend in with native content, you must ensure that your content is high quality, engaging, and makes users want to watch, I order to elevate you from the crowd and avoid getting lost in the noise.

Because, on TikTok, it’s already easy to organically connect with an audience through hashtags, trends, and branded themes, the easiest and most simple thing to do is repeat these through paid activity, whether that is through boosted content (organic content from your feed, that you pay for increased visibility on a one off basis to increase engagements) or typical paid social campaigns and ads (known as unboosted content). It’s always a good way to increase interactions with your brand and encourage engagement throughout all phases of the funnel before, ultimately, leading to conversion.

With every campaign make sure to write a catchy description which entices the user to stay and watch on/click through for more! Though TikTok is a video first platform, having a short, snappy caption to show throughout the video is a way to convey added information that’s gets your point across. Fast.

In a world where people need entertainment more than anything else, TikTok and Pinterest are the holy grail of social media advertising. Being able to embrace these dynamic, exciting and, ultimately, very positive channels leads to exponential brand growth and conversions.

Though each platform differs, the principle stays the same – create native looking content that fits in seamlessly with users browsing habits. By avoiding being intrusive, and being able to show you understand their needs, users are faced with a brand they can connect with and visualise as part of their own lifestyle.

Written by Olivia Green – paid social executive – ClickThrough Marketing

Olivia Green is a paid social executive for ClickThrough Marketing. She specialises in growing clients brands through Pinterest and TikTok, having worked with clients to improve brand recognition and conversion in the fashion, ecommerce and homeware sectors. Previously, Olivia worked at iProspect where she worked with Mondelez & Mastercard on their paid social activity.

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