With the recent announcement of Promoted Pins finally arriving in Australia, brands around the country have been considering how they can best utilize this new advertising platform. While most of the discussions have been specifically around how retail brands can benefit from Promoted Pins, I’m here today to discuss how travel brands can do so too!

Don’t Forget about Travel Brands

The thing is, in the world of paid advertising and social media, retail goes hand-in-hand with these marketing platforms; you think of social and search advertising and you automatically think of an actual physical product that you can quickly click through to and purchase while sat on the train on your way to work. And as you can see just from Pinterest’s case studies, not many travel brands tend to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to new advertising platforms on social and search.

DIY, tick. Food, tick. Fashion, tick. Out of the 65 case studies on the Pinterest ‘Success Stories’ page, only two of those stories included are travel brands; Four Seasons, and Center Parcs. Yet according to Pinterest themselves, 62% of users say they use Pinterest to plan future getaways, and a whopping 16 million people saved 780 million travel pins in 2016 alone.

On top of those numbers, one third of Pinterest’s 150+ million users apparently choose Pinterest over Google search. That’s millions of people, real life human beings, every single month, choosing to find their next holiday destination from Pinterest before they even Google Google (is it just me who Google’s Google by the way?) to search for the best holiday destination!

Learn From How Travel Bloggers Use Pinterest

What’s brilliant about Pinterest is that rather than a social network, it functions as a search algorithm. So whilst social posts will have a lifespan of a few minutes to a few days, on Pinterest your post lives for as long as Pinterest is around. You may post a pin one day, and a year later it might suddenly see a surge of new click-throughs after a popular pinner re-pins it to their followers.

Looking at how travel bloggers use Pinterest is a perfect example of how to do Pinterest well. Take for example, Caz and Craig from y Travel Blog, they’ve built up their Pinterest page to the point where they currently have over 4 million followers. Back in 2014 Pinterest drove a huge 120,000 unique visitors to their blog every single month – no doubt that number has increased considerably since then as their following and number of pins has increased.

Even the smaller travel bloggers are reaping the benefits of Pinterest, with a lot of them finding that Pinterest is now one of their biggest traffic drivers (me included!).

Get The Basics Right First

Before you even attempt Promoted Pins you need to get the Pinterest basics right first. Start to grow your account organically; if you already have a Pinterest account make sure you remove any images that are horizontal and not vertical, if you’re new to Pinterest, don’t upload or repin any horizontal images. They simply don’t do well on the platform and you’ll find vertical pins get far more engagement.

You also need to build relevant boards and follow relevant people to your brand – as a travel brand you’ll want to follow any brand partners, and feel free to follow travel bloggers and influencers too. Make sure you repin other people’s content on Pinterest as well as uploading your own, you ideally want a good balance between the two.

Work with an in-house or agency designer if you’re able to, and create text overlay that is on-brand to help your pins stand-out. You want people to see your pins and recognize that they’re from your brand. However, you also want them to fit in with the other content on Pinterest so they don’t stand out and look too brand heavy. There’s no need to include your logo or name on each image, just make sure you use your brand’s font and colours for the text.

The most important point to remember is that Pinterest is a search algorithm, so rather than captioning your image with a simple ‘Sydney Opera House’ description, use something like ‘Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous landmarks in Australia. It’s a must-do activity for all first-timers and return visitors to Sydney, and best of all it’s free! If you want the full Opera House experience grab a drink and bite to eat at Opera Bar, or book to see a concert there’.

Do you see how many keywords are in that second description? You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to the engagement you get on your pins. And the big difference between Google and Pinterest, is that Pinterest are OK with you using lengthy descriptions full of useful keywords to help people find the pins they’re looking for.

And of course, don’t forget to include a link to the relevant page when you upload your pin! Tips and advice, place guides, itineraries, and listicles (Top 10 Things to Do etc), do best on Pinterest, so include the relevant guide or listicle URL that best fits the image you’re uploading.

Now you’ve got the basics sorted, you can start experimenting with Promoted Pins to grow your brand account and drive more traffic to your site!

It’s In The Numbers

Whether your client is a tourism board, an airline, a hotel group, or even a tour company, the possibilities of gaining traffic and conversions from a new audience are right there in the numbers of those two little case studies. Not only did Center Parcs find that they got a lower bounce rate with Promoted Pins, but the campaign outperformed CPC goals by 45%, with costs 40% lower than a similar campaign on another platform.

And Four Seasons? Well, they haven’t even used Promoted Pins, just from organic Pinterest use they’ve seen “a 1000% increase in daily average visitors and a 1700% increase in daily average clicks to its website from Pinterest”, which for such a high price point and niche luxury brand is phenomenal. It just shows that taking advantage of the aspirational ‘future life’ factor of Pinterest, as well as finding the place your target audience are planning their travel is key to a successful campaign no matter how niche and out-of-reach your brand is for the majority of consumers.

As Chris Dowse from Center Parcs pointed out, Center Parcs were able to reach people that hadn’t previously engaged with their website, right as they were beginning their travel planning – Center Parcs were placing themselves in users’ consideration set from the very beginning of that planning process.

So, travel marketers and brands rejoice, shout it from the rooftops, and go forth and pin (and pay to pin)!

If you’re interested about promoted pins in Pinterest please contact Reprise Media.

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Catherine Lux

I'm a Digital Solutions Specialist at Reprise in Sydney. I recently made the move from London to Australia, and have six years' experience in Content and Social Media, and four years' experience in SEO. I've predominantly worked with big brands across the fashion, food and drink, travel, and finance sectors.

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