Pinterest Ads + Customer List Audiences: The Secret to Successful Nurture Campaigns

This is a guest post by JD Prater, Head of Customer Acquisition at AdStage.

By this point, you’re probably already running Google AdWords and Facebook ad campaigns. However, what about the smaller networks? Do you know if your customers are on Pinterest? Instagram? LinkedIn? Twitter?

If you don’t know the answer to those questions then you might be missing opportunities to engage with potential customers who are deep in the consideration and purchase phase.

But how do you know which network to pick or where to start? To answer that question, it’s important to know who your audience and where they’re hanging out.

In this post, I’ll walk you through my process in determining which networks our contacts were using and how I leveraged that information to build out a new platform-specific nurture strategy.

Our Audience Match Story

A few months ago we were looking for ways to test and expand beyond AdWords, Bing, and Facebook, but didn’t really know which of the smaller ad networks to start with. We didn’t want to start spending on a network only to find out that our audience wasn’t using it. To help us find that answer, we turned to our CRM and newsletter email list.

Audience Match

Currently, almost all advertising networks provide advertisers the ability to upload audience email lists. They then match your customer emails to active users on their networks so you can target them in your campaigns. This process is commonly referred to as audience match or customer match. And of course, each network calls it something slightly different.

  1. AdWords = Google Customer Match
  2. Facebook = Custom Audiences
  3. Twitter = Tailored Audiences
  4. LinkedIn = Matched Audiences
  5. Pinterest = Customer List Audience
  6. Snapchat = Audience Match
  7. Amazon = Advertiser Audiences
  8. Yahoo Gemini = Custom Audiences

Audience match is a fantastic feature for advertisers looking to determine which networks their customers are hanging out on. Therefore, it was the first step I took to understand our audience.

Upload Email List Into Ad Networks

We took our US-based newsletter email list of 9,922 marketers and uploaded it into the big five ad networks (AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest). We ignored Snapchat, Amazon and Yahoo Gemini based on business fit and user demographics.

Before you read further, which network do you think had the best audience match rate? To help you out, AdStage is a B2B SaaS company catering to mid-tier agencies and in-house teams, and our US-based email list is just under 10k marketers.

The results were surprising even to us. We found varying audience match rates across each network with some matching higher and others lower than expected.

Our Audience Match Results

Here’s what we found after we uploaded our email list into each network:

  1. Facebook = 78% (wow!)
  2. AdWords =  59%
  3. Pinterest = 44%
  4. LinkedIn = 30%
  5. Twitter = 13% (yikes!)

Honestly, we were pleasantly surprised with each network’s match rate. We didn’t expect to see such high match rates. We knew Facebook has a ton of information about their users, but a 78% match rate was impressive. While Pinterest has the third lowest match rate of 44%, it was encouraging to see our audience matched to the network more than LinkedIn and Twitter.

Next Steps

From here, we decided to experiment with Pinterest ads. We know it’s an interesting choice for a B2B company, but we were already running AdWords, Facebook, and a few Twitter campaigns. That narrowed it down to LinkedIn and Pinterest. As a B2B marketer, LinkedIn is the obvious choice, but at the time it was too expensive for our budget. Therefore, we landed on Pinterest, a primarily B2C network, to run some B2B ad campaigns.

Developing A Pinterest Nurture Campaign

After settling on Pinterest, the next step was to map out the campaign structure to determine how we would target audiences and nurture them down the funnel to conversion. Below is our exact Pinterest funnel detailing our targeting and Pin strategy.

Our Pinterest Funnel

While we started with our Pinterest custom list audience to determine if our audience was indeed on the platform, we ultimately decided to also target upstream and downstream in the funnel for this experiment.

  • Cold Audience
    • Target: keywords and interests and actalikes
    • Pin: blog article to provide value upfront
    • Exclude website and emails, subscribe Pin, and trial Pin
  • Warmish Audience
    • Target: audience who has interacted with Blog Pin
    • Pin: second blog article to provide value upfront
    • Exclude: website and emails, subscribe Pin, and trial Pin
  • Warm Audience
    • Target: web retargeting
    • Pin: subscribe to newsletter
    • Exclude: emails and blog article Pin
  • Hot Audience
    • Target: newsletter emails
    • Pin: free 14 day trial
  • Customer Retargeting
    • Target: customers and free trialers
    • Pin: empowering blog article

Let’s break down each stage of nurture process.

Step #1 – Reach Cold Audiences

  • Campaigns: The first step was to build out traffic campaigns targeting keywords, interests, and actalike audiences to drive top of funnel visitors to our website.
  • Negative Audiences: We added our custom audience list, website retargeting lists, and pin engagement as negative audiences.
  • Creative: Provide value to cold audiences in the form of high value blog articles.

Step #2 – Email Subscribe CTA

  • Campaigns: Now that we have a warm audience, we retargeted blog visitors and people who engaged with our Pin.
  • Negative Audiences: We added our current email list as a negative.
  • Creative: Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Step #3 – Target Email Subscribers with Free Trial

  • Campaigns: Targeted our email list to move them down the funnel.
  • Negative Audiences: N/A
  • Creative: Free 14 Trial of AdStage.

Step #4 – Target Free Trialers and Customers

  • Campaigns: Website retargeting to our free trialers and customers with helpful and empowering content.
  • Negative Audiences: Email list to ensure no overlap.
  • Creative: Free 14 day trial of AdStage.

Remember, the nurture stream should mirror the marketing funnel. The one Pinterest feature I want to call out is Pin Engagement audiences. These are extremely powerful because you can actually create true ad sequencing funnels based on Pins people engaged with.

Below is a screenshot highlighting this feature. Pinterest is the only ad platform that allows marketers to create audiences based user interactions with an ad. (To be fair, Facebook does have video audiences based on views, but not to the level of detail Pinterest provides.)

Here are the stats from our cold traffic Pin that drove traffic to our Quick Guide to Facebook Offline Conversions blog.

The stats are impressive with over 1,000 clicks, 98 saves, and almost 22,000 close-ups since May 12th. The great thing is all of those metrics are targetable for advertisers using engagement audiences.

Wrapping Up

We outlined our nurture campaign framework using Pinterest Ads, but can it easily be applied to other networks. The key is to leverage your audience lists on ad networks to produce an ad sequence that speaks to where users are in the funnel. It’s wishful thinking to believe everyone is ready to purchase your product. Work on forming and building relationships with people with valuable content.

In the end, it’s important for marketers to know where their audience is hanging out when evaluating new platforms. Start with a simple email list upload to understand your audience match rate on the various networks. Then build out a nurture campaign to meet people where they are in the funnel as well as guide them to the next step. Again, don’t be afraid to test out new ad platforms and experiment with different ways to engage your audience.

What are your favorite lead nurture strategies for Facebook? We’d love to hear in the comments!

JD is the Head of Customer Acquisition at AdStage. He’s a savvy marketer, digital strategist, and avid cyclist. A stereotypical coffee snob and recovering Coloradan, he’s a creative thinker who sees the big picture but loves getting lost in the details.