4 ways to monetize your Pinterest audience
If you’re a pinner with a growing following, get this guide on how to monetize your Pinterest followers and boards using four monetization methods.
What started off as a hobby of pinning your favorite inspirational images has turned into a serious social media endeavor.
And now you’re growing a Pinterest audience full of fans that regularly follow your pins and boards -- great work.
You know all that time you spent down the rabbit hole scrolling and pinning on Pinterest?
It’s time for it to pay off.
That’s right -- you can leverage your audience growth and monetize your Pinterest followers and boards.
Since you already enjoy being on the platform, the income you can earn from monetizing Pinterest makes for a great side-business.
To make it happen, follow our four monetization methods that we share with you today, starting with affiliate marketing.
#1. Promote affiliate marketing links
Our first recommended way to monetize your Pinterest audience is to participate in affiliate marketing programs.
A quick refresher:
Affiliate marketing is when you enter an agreement with a company that pays you to promote links to products and services that they sell. The company pays you a commission any time one of your Pinterest followers views, clicks, and purchases from an affiliate product link.
Usually, there’s a short window -- anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks or more -- where you can collect a commission if someone doesn’t immediately buy off your link, but every program’s rules are at the brand’s discretion.
The reason why Pinterest is an ideal platform for affiliate marketing is because users are primed and ready to shop.
So much so that Pinterest is the leading channel for getting ideas on what to buy. What’s more, an impressive 72% of people claim Pinterest inspires them to shop when they aren’t even looking for anything, and 70% discover new products on the platform.
To say pinners are in shopping mode is an understatement, making it the perfect opportunity for you to chime in with your affiliate links to earn some income for your online side-hustle.
Here’s the catch, though -- you need to believe in the products and services that you promote.
There’s nothing worse than losing your audience’s trust in your brand.
After all, your brand says a lot about you and your business. 21% of people think branding says a lot about you, and 24% claim that brands help them make choices -- both of which are up in sentiment from last year -- so it’s wise to upkeep your brand image.
Don’t just slap up some affiliate links to products that you don’t really care about and call it a day.
Instead, do your due diligence and research the companies offering affiliate links and make sure their offerings will benefit your audience.
One way to ensure your affiliate links are in line with your Pinterest followers’ interests is to partner up with companies that offer products and services that are relevant and related to your Pinterest topic of interest.
For instance, founder of lifestyle blog Sunny Sweet Days, Krystal Butherus, often pins content about kid-friendly recipes for her near 1 million followers. Krystal pinned a post promoting Welch’s fruit snacks, which is a relevant product for your audience.
It turns out, Welch’s is tuned into their kid-loving mom audience and paid several similar Pinterest accounts that cater to the same niche in one of their campaigns.
Another tactic for aligning your audience with the right affiliate products is to work backward by first making a targeted list of products and services that your Pinterest followers need, and then researching companies within those categories to see if they offer affiliate programs.
If they do, perfect -- just apply to their affiliate programs. Once you’re approved, start incorporating those affiliate links into your Pinterest pins.
Speaking of partnering with companies that serve your audience, our next tip follows the same principle.
#2. Partake in sponsored boards
Our second way to monetize your Pinterest audience is to partner with sponsors and create boards that are dedicated to promoting sponsored products and services.
Similar to an affiliate marketing program, sponsored boards also present a business exchange opportunity where you get paid to expose your audience to a company’s brand.
The difference here is you create a new board specifically for the sponsor’s brand.
For instance, Pinterest influencer, Saru, who has over 329,000 monthly followers as of this writing, dedicates an entire Pinterest board called “Sponsored posts” to publishing content when she works with big brands.
It’s important -- and a legal requirement -- to fully disclose to your Pinterest followers that the board is sponsored.
This means you should include the sponsor’s brand name in the title or description of your board alongside a plain-language explanation of your relationship with the brand.
As a rule of thumb, it’s hard to get clearer than directly telling people your content is sponsored, but the FTC is willing to be flexible on how you say it as long as your description isn’t vague.
A great example of someone who does this well is Pinterest influencer, Jodi Marks, who has a sponsored board called “Best New Products (Sponsored by The Home Depot)” where she openly discloses her partnership with Home Depot as named in her Pinterest board title.
Jodi hosts a show aimed at helping people with home improvement called Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which makes the sponsorship a natural fit for serving their Pinterest audience of over 2.7 million monthly viewers.
What’s key here, similar to affiliate marketing, is making sure the brands you partner with will benefit your audience.
To find sponsors, we recommend proactively researching and targeting companies that align with your topic of interest and then reaching out to them to pitch the sponsored partnership.
That way, you’re more likely to find brands that are a good fit for your Pinterest followers.
After all, who else knows your audience better than you?
The hunt can prove to be fruitful if you put in the work to find the right sponsors.
Pretty impressive turnaround, right?
As far as your payment goes, though, like most sponsorships -- whether on Pinterest or another channel -- it varies across the board where you and your sponsor brand need to agree on a compensation amount and terms of exchange.
After you’ve secured your sponsorships, some tips for working with sponsors are:
Be clear on your agreement
Post your sponsored content on time
Let your sponsor approve your content before you hit publish
These may seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised.
Hunting down and pitching the right sponsors not your thing? We feel you. It can be one of the tougher monetization channels to break into. If that’s the case, consider our next monetization method with a much easier entry point.
#3. Sell physical products
Our third tip today for monetizing your Pinterest following is to sell physical products on the platform.
The reason why Pinterest is an ideal platform for selling products is a chunky 58% of pinners claim the platform helps them make shopping and purchasing decisions.
93% of people admit to using Pinterest to plan their purchases, as well.
So, when it comes to moving products, it’s hard to beat Pinterest.
The theme of serving your audience applies here, too, where it’s important to sell products that are both beneficial and relevant to your audience.
One way to sell your physical products is to pin “Shop the look” images, which are pins that include shoppable items in your image. To create a “Shop the look” pin, you simply tag each product and add the product URL to the item.
Take successful entrepreneur, Bonnie Tsang, for a real-life example. Bonnie has grown her Pinterest following to an impressive 904,000+ monthly views as of this writing.
Check out her “Shop the look” pin that promotes one of her most popular clothing line products.
Another great example is Joy Cho, who monetizes her Pinterest following that’s 8.6 million monthly viewers large. Joy promotes her line of physical products, like in her pin featuring her Apolis Petite Market Bag.
She also has a Pinterest board that’s dedicated to her home decor, nursery, and baby apparel collections that are available in Target stores called Oh Joy for Target.
Of course, not everyone reaches the rockstar status of Joy where physical products land on the shelves of major retailers.
And it does require an incredible amount of maintenance to manage the selling of physical products on your own.
But, if you’re willing to put in the extra effort and resources, it can prove to be lucrative since shoppers are increasingly going online to make purchases. Ecommerce sales are expected to make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023.
The main takeaway is you can leverage your Pinterest traffic by selling your audience physical products in “Shop the look” pins.
If managing physical inventory from production to shipment sounds a bit overwhelming, our final tip today should be an ideal option for you -- selling digital products.
#4. Sell digital products
Our final tip today for monetizing your Pinterest audience is to sell digital products to your followers.
It’s one of the most powerful monetization options for creators because it allows you to scale your business.
Here’s what I mean. Basically, after you frontload your work in creating your digital products, there’s little maintenance to upkeep, outside of marketing.
This means you can sell uncapped digital products while creating them only once.
To continue with our example of a top brand on Pinterest, Oh Joy!, Joy sells digital products on her website, Oh Joy! Academy, that range from online courses that teach people how to make a hanging planter to an ebook on How to Pitch a Book Idea.
Joy’s info products are a great match for the Pinterest demographic, which is made up of followers who are predominantly interested in the categories of art, art supplies, and hobbies.
Those are the top interests in the U.S., anyway.
If you’re curious about other leading topics of interest on Pinterest, 70% of users go to the platform to find accessories, watches, and jewelry, while 52% use Pinterest to boost their knowledge of delicious food and drink.
That’s not to say you’re confined to those categories, though.
These days, as long as your brand promotes something positive, your profitable digital products will fit right in.
So much so that 90% of Pinterest users describe the platform as “filled with positivity”.
The lesson here is to monetize your Pinterest audience by selling them digital products that focus on a positive message. If you’re in business to help people solve a problem, then you’ve already got it in the bag.
A great example of such a digital product is successful entrepreneur Marc Eglon’s Tiny Product Manual that helps makers go from tiny product ideation to launch.
Similarly, creator Vanessa Ryan offers a Boho Chic Toolbox that helps people use Canva templates to take care of their design needs for the year.
All in all:
A scalable way to monetize your Pinterest audience is to sell digital products that help them solve their problems. It’s been done before, it’s easy, and there’s limitless potential.
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Pin your way to the top by monetizing your Pinterest audience
The glory of accumulating a Pinterest following that you’re proud of doesn’t have to stop there.
Make it more worth your while by monetizing your Pinterest traffic.
Here are four tips:
Post affiliate links of products and services from brands that you believe in. If you know your followers can benefit from certain brands, see if they offer an affiliate marketing program.
Partner with companies that will sponsor one of your Pinterest boards. Just like affiliate marketing, the products and services that you’re paid to promote need to make sense for your audience.
Another way to monetize your Pinterest audience is to sell relevant physical products. After all, users are scrolling through pins with shopping in mind.
Alternatively, sell digital products to your Pinterest followers, which is a scalable way to earn income. (You can get started for free today on Podia.)
With four reliable monetization methods to pursue, it’s time to earn money while you pin.
(Dare I even say, you can “put a pin” in your search for your next side-hustle.)