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Using affiliate marketing on Pinterest is one of the best ways to earn passive income on an ongoing basis. Popular pins can continue to circulate for years, earning you money on an ongoing basis. Pins are also relatively quick to make and so the return on your time will be significant.
Around 66% of Pinterest users are actively searching for products and services to buy based on what others are pinning. If that’s not a great reason to start Pinterest affiliate marketing, I don’t know what is!
There are various ways to make money with Pinterest which I will be covering in this detailed Pinterest affiliate marketing guide.
This includes ways to earn money with Pinterest affiliate marketing WITHOUT a blog!
What Is Pinterest Affiliate Marketing?
Pinterest affiliate marketing refers to a commission-based business model whereby affiliates earn a percentage of each sale you refer by recommending it on Pinterest.
So essentially affiliates recommend a product via a pin or pin leading to an article with recommendations. If the user goes on to click on the link and then proceed to make a purchase, the affiliate is awarded a small commission.
This doesn’t cost the pinner any extra money and it is a low-risk form of marketing for the brand as they only pay affiliates if they are successful.
Many bloggers and social media influencers use affiliate links in articles or on their social feeds but using affiliate links on Pinterest is a relatively under-utilised method of earning passive income.
Whilst Pinterest may not convert quite as well as organic traffic from Google, it converts much better than other social platforms and with minimal effort – it doesn’t take long to create a pin. Plus the life cycle of a pin is much longer than a Tweet or Instagram post. Therefore you can earn passive income on an ongoing basis.
Affiliate marketing on Pinterest can be a powerful new revenue stream which can help you increase your overall earnings. Plus, it’s quick and easy! I’ll show you how…
3 ways to use affiliate marketing on Pinterest (with and without a blog)
There are actually 3 ways to utilise Pinterest in your affiliate marketing strategy and, yes, you can make money with affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog. Let’s look at those options:
Pinterest Affiliate Strategy 1
You can link directly to the affiliate product.
Yep you can use Pinterest affiliate marketing without a blog.
So you would put your affiliate link (which the program will give you when you sign up) as the end destination.
You would then use the pin itself, the title and the description as space to promote the benefits of the product and make the pinner curious enough to click-through.
Once the pinner clicks through, as long as they purchase within a certain amount of time (referred to as the cookie period) and they don’t click anyone else’s affiliate link in the meantime, then you will earn the commission if they make a purchase.
If you choose this route for using affiliate marketing on Pinterest, make sure you always disclose that your pin is an affiliate link to stay FTC compliant.
Pinterest Affiliate Strategy 2
Another way to make money on Pinterest is to link to blog posts on your website promoting affiliate content. Whilst fewer people may end up using your affiliate link this way, you can at least spend more time using your content within the blog post to warm your readers up towards making a purchase and therefore, the conversion rates will be higher.
Articles that do well to promote affiliate links include
- How-to guides – where one of the steps requires the affiliate product.
- Gift guides
- Sales roundups
Pinterest Affiliate Strategy 3
This is the most advanced way to make money with affiliate marketing but it is probably also the most effective way to make money with Pinterest and so your time will be well rewarded.
This option involves linking to a landing page instead of a blog post. This landing page will be promoting a freebie (also known as a lead magnet or opt-in,) in exchange for their email address.
Once they are on your email list, you can send them through a funnel of welcome, warm-up then promotional emails for your affiliate product.
This gives you plenty of time to develop the trust factor with your audience which usually results in higher conversion rates.
If your subscriber feels like they know, like and trust you, they will feel far more comfortable purchasing something your recommend.
It is far harder to develop the know, like and trust factor when the encounter is brief (e.g. when the pinner lands on a single pin.) This option gives you the luxury of time to build that relationship.
It also means you have other opportunities to promote other affiliate offers (or your own products and services) on an ongoing basis so you will see a much higher return in the long run.
In order to have success with this Pinterest affiliate strategy, you must make sure that the freebie you offer is highly related to the end product you are promoting.
Read next | A beginners guide to email marketing
Pinterest affiliate marketing without a blog
Of these 3 Pinterest affiliate marketing strategies, only one requires a blog. You can still earn money on Pinterest without a blog by using direct affiliate links for your pins.
You can also use the 3rd strategy if you are happy to start an email list. The landing page does not have to be hosted on a blog. Email marketing platforms like Convertkit or Mailerlite offer templates to create these sign-up pages from within their platform.
Therefore, you shouldn’t let not having a blog stop you from getting started with affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
That said, I do recommend starting a blog as it can be a great way to earn passive income.
Also, there might be some affiliate programs that make having a blog a requirement to join. Not all programs stipulate this so it might just take a little while of shopping around affiliate programs in your niche to find the right one.
How to create affiliate pins
Tools to create pins
If you are using the direct affiliate strategy, you do not have much space to warm someone up to a sale and so you have to use that space wisely.
I recommend using Canva to create pins. I have Canva Pro as it gives me access to a lot of additional premium photos and additional tools like magic resize and being able to organise pins into folders. But you don’t need this if you are just getting started. The free version will suffice.
If you haven’t used it yet, Canva is a drag-and-drop design tool that is easy to use. They also offer templates making it even easier!
Another option is to use Tailwind Create. You can create pins very quickly but personally, I find it easier to make beautiful pins on Canva. They look a little unpolished on Tailwind Create in my opinion.
Picmonkey is another popular tool for creating pins and some people use Photoshop.
What size should the pin be?
Pinterest best practices state that the optimum size for your pin should be 1000×1500 pixels with a ratio of 2:3.
If Pinterest has to resize pins, they can start to look blurry. There is also the theory that Pinterest will prioritise circulating pins that stick to be practice principles.
What makes a great pin?
The right fonts
Use clear fonts which Pinterest can easily scan and understand and that will be easily seen when someone is scrolling through the feed. Script fonts may look pretty but they are harder to read.
Words that evoke emotion
Use emotive words which provoke strong feelings (positive or negative) for example if you are promoting a camera you could say something like ‘start taking photos you are proud of’ or ‘no more feeling embarrassed about your grainy, blurry photos on your website.’ Emotive words can be used on the pin itself, in the title or in the description.
Create intrigue. Don’t give away everything in your pin. Create some intrigue to increase click-throughs.
Professional image quality
Make sure you use professional-quality photos. Grainy, blurry lack-lustre photos are not going to cut it here – your visuals need to be scroll-stopping!
If you are not a professional photographer then consider using stock photos.
There are various free stock photo sites but I don’t recommend using them unless you have to. Partly because those images are used so often that your pin might not stand out from the crowd. There have also been issues with copyright on some sites.
I personally use either Canva Pro images or images from one of the professional stock photo sites I am a member of.
Stock photo sites I recommend include
Also, Appsumo often has great deals for more generalised stock photo credits – great for niches like travel.
It also worth only using relevant images. If you use something unexpected, when Pinterest scans your image and sees an unrelated image topic, it can reduce your reach.
Pinterest uses images, text overlay, the title, the description and the link destination/content itself to understand and rank your pins accordingly.
The right colour scheme
Makes sure that the colours you use allow your text to pop out from the background image. Also, use colours that compliment each other.
In general, warm colours like pinks, oranges and red tones do well on Pinterest. But the colour scheme you choose will also depend on the topic of your pin too. You might want to convey certain emotions eg yellow = happy, blue = calm/trust, red = excitement, purple/gold = luxury.
A clear call to action
Sometimes pinners need a little push to take action. Using a clear call to action which tells someone what action you want them to take next can help. Here are some examples you can use in your pin description.
‘Click here to read more.’
‘Click to see up to date prices.’
‘Read these reviews.’
‘Find out for yourself here.’
A focus on the benefits
Successful affiliates focus on the benefits rather than features. You need to paint a picture of what that person might feel like if they purchased the product. Will they feel calmer? Have more time to spend with their family? will they have fewer money worries keeping them awake at night? Cherished memories to look back on?
A detailed description
Make the most of the space you have and use that full word limit! I see so many affiliate pins without a description and I wonder if they have ever converted sales?! Use the description as an opportunity to address the problem which the affiliate product or service solves. You can also talk about your own experience with the product – what did you love about it?
To be FTC compliant, you need to add a disclaimer to your pin to say that it contains an affiliate link. Potentila customers need to understand that you may earn a commission if they click on your pins with affiliate links.
How To Add Affiliate Links On Pinterest – a step-by-step guide
Okay so you have now created a beautiful pin design, lets talk about how to add it to Pinterest.
Navigate to your dashboard and click on Create – Create pin.
If you are choosing to direct pinners to an article on your blog then you can click on save from site, submit the URL and choose from the images you have inside that post.
But presuming you are creating a direct Pinterest affiliate link, you will need to choose an image manually. Either drag and drop it into the image space or search for it on your computer.
Then create your title and description. Remember those emotive words, calls to action and the importance of referring to benefits and also creating intrigue.
Try to add some keywords to help your pin rank well. Many people use Pinterest more as a visual search engine so you want your pin to rank for searches on your chosen keywords.
Sprinkle those keywords where it makes sense.
Finally, add an affiliate disclaimer and an ALT tag description of your pin for the visually impaired.
You will now want to pin this to your most relevant board. This is important as the board it is first linking to is a ranking factor.
Say you have a pin linking to a dress on a fashion site. You will want to link that to a board called dress inspiration or summer dresses, not a board called affiliate links!
Affiliate Pin Examples
This is one of my own affiliate pins promoting a tool I use for my blog.
Notice how the pin uses bright bold colours and the important text is in a clear, bold font?
In the description, I have identified a problem, offered a solution and the benefits of doing it this way. I haven’t said exactly how it does it so there is still an element of intrigue to drive click-throughs.
This pin also uses various negative and positive power words to evoke emotions
- Zero faff
It has been pinned to a highly relevant board and has both a call to action and a disclaimer.
If you want to pin it to your boards as a reminder for how to do it, you can do so by clicking here.
Here are a few other examples I found searching Pinterest.
- A pin promoting a TEFL course by a travel blogger
- A pin promoting an Amazon FBA by a business blogger
- A pin promoting an outfit by a fashion blogger.
Finding good affiliate pin keywords
To find keywords, type a very broad search term into the search bar and look at search terms that show up in the drop down box.
Until recently, all keywords were shown in coloured boxes in order of popularity (and competition.) This tool seems to have disappeared and as yet there are no keyword research tools for Pinterest. (Though someone needs to make one pronto!)
The only thing you can do to find and understand the popularity of keywords on Pinterest is to pretend you are setting up a promoted pin. Then you will get access to a tool that shows you approximate search volumes for each keyword. You would then exit without actually promoting a pin. But I’ll be honest, it’s a complete faff!
Fingers crossed Pinterest rolls out a better way to do keyword research soon!
How to set up your Pinterest profile – vital steps for success
- If you have one, claim your website – this will help boost your pins that direct to your website
- Make sure you are using a business account. That way you will get access to analytics so you can see what is working and what isn’t.
- Add a few keywords relevant to your niche to your bio
- Create several boards – start with 8-10. Make sure these are all related to your niche and have keyword-rich titles and descriptions so they are SEO optimised for Pinterest.
- Add some pins to your boards. It is best to start off by searching the same keyword as your board title and seeing what Pinterest recommends. These are the pins Pinterest has already decided are relevant to those keywords so having them inside your board will help train Pinterest about your board a little faster.
Pinterest strategy to boost your Pinterest income
Sadly, creating the occasional pin and adding it to a relevant board is not quite enough to make much money on Pinterest!
Here are a few top tips for a successful affiliate marketing Pinterest strategy…
- Don’t make all your pins affiliate links. Pinterest hates spam. So use the platform as they intended – to curate new content.
- Pin regularly and frequently and space your pins out through the day – Pinterest awards regular pinners.
- But not too regularly… Remember Pinterest hates anything that looks spammy. Keep it between 5 and 30 pins a day.
- Only pin to relevant boards as you are training Pinterest to understand what your pin is about.
- If you want to pin personal things, set up private boards so they don’t disrupt your feed. For example, if you are a travel blogger who happens to be doing a house renovation, you will want to keep your kitchen inspiration board a secret as it’s not relevant to your niche.
- Consider adding your pins to Tailwind communities to get some traction. Make sure you share other people’s pins – it is all about give and take!
- Space your pins out. If you have a pin that would fit 3 boards, make sure there is a minimum of 3 days between pinning to each board – preferably more!
- Use a mixture of video, story and static pins. Story pins can’t be used for affiliate links (or any other kind of links for that matter) but they do get high engagement which will help give the rest of your content (including your affiliate pins) a nice little algorithm boost.
- Spend some time leaving meaningful comments on other peoples pins in your niche. They might return the favour and comments are a great engagement signal which helps boost your visibility.
How to maintain your Pinterest strategy
I recommend using a Pinterest scheduling tool. This will help you to pin consistently and evenly throughout the day.
Tailwind makes it super easy to schedule a ton of pins really quickly and it will also help you find the best times of day to promote them when pinners are most active.
Pinterest has confirmed that scheduling pins through Tailwind won’t harm your reach – though it’s possible that using other tools which are not recognised by Pinterest might. That said, manually pinning methods have become very popular lately so by all means, try it out and see what works for you.
But if you’re too busy to log in to Pinterest several times throughout the day then Tailwind will help solve that problem!
Pinterest Affiliate Marketing Best Practices (and rules to follow)
You might be busting to give affiliate marketing a go after reading this article but before you create a single affiliate pin, you need to make sure you are following the rules.
Ignoring the rules could get you banned from Pinterest, the affiliate program or both! You could also get landed with a fine from the FTC!
So before we get back to the fun stuff, here are a few of the affiliate practicalities you need to consider
1. Make sure you are compliant with the FTC
The FTC is very clear that you need to ALWAYS disclose affiliate links. This is true of blog articles, social media posts, emails and of course, Pinterest affiliate links.
You do not, however, need to disclose affiliate links if the link is non-direct. So for example, if you are linking to an affiliate-focussed blog post, then you would add your disclosure to your article, not your pin.
If you are linking directly to the affiliate product or company, then you just need to put something in your description to make it obvious it’s an affiliate link.
Some affiliates write out ‘this is an affiliate link and I may earn from qualifying purchases’ other affiliates will add #affiliatelink to the end of their description.
Technically, we should be making it clear that we could be earning money as not everyone understands what an affiliate link is. That said, #affiliatelink seems to be the more popular option albeit not entirely correct.
2. Check the rules for using Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest
Amazon is incredibly vague about its policy on affiliate marketing on Pinterest. My understanding is that the US program does not allow Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest. However, the EU program does.
However, many Amazon Associate affiliates will be signed up to multiple Amazon stores via Onelink. So even if you linked to a product on the EU program, if the person who clicks it is in the US, the link will redirect to the US store.
Therefore I would only advise using Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest if you are only signed up to the EU program.
I would also advise that you keep a close eye on Amazon’s terms and conditions as they are constantly changing and moving the goalposts. They are also very strict about the rules they set and it’s easy to get thrown out of the program by stepping out of line.
My advice; avoid Amazon links for your pins. There are heaps of great alternatives with better commission rates, longer cookie periods and fewer complicated rules to follow.
If you do decide to use them, make sure you use the exact disclosure that Amazon dictates: “as an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”
You also cannot use their images. You will either have to use related stock images or your own photos.
3. Do not cloak or shorten links
If you use a tool like Thirsty Affiliates or Pretty links to cloak your links, you’ll have to use the originals on Pinterest. They do not allow any shortening or cloaking of any kind. That also means you can’t use any other link shortener tools like Bit.ly.
Cloaking links might not be useful for your Pinterest strategy but it is recommended for other affiliate links elsewhere. You can read why inside this review of Thirsty Affiliates.
4. Check the program rules
Whilst most affiliate programs allow, and even encourage, Pinterest affiliate marketing, there are some programs that do not allow it – Etsy is one!
Others stipulate that you can’t use their images, others will create images for you to use.
So before you get started, always check the program terms and conditions.
The best niches for Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
It’s worth keeping in mind that some niches that are more popular on Pinterest. If your niche isn’t so popular, you may be less successful with affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
Keep an eye on Pinterest trends to see what is popular at the moment.
The following niches have always been popular on this platform:
- Travel – promote day trips, tours to specific destinations, travel insurance, TEFL courses, car hire, accommodation, trip essentials, photography equipment.
- DIY and crafting – promote crafting courses, materials and tools. The circuit affiliate program is very popular.
- Fashion and beauty – share images of you wearing looks and link to the source.
- Parenting – children’s toys, fashion, family activities
- Home decor – link photos directly to the source (as for fashion.)
- Business/Blogging – try creating product/tool infographics
Top tips for using affiliate marketing with Pinterest
Here are a few affiliate tips which should help you make more money with Pinterest…
- Authenticity is key. This is true of any type of affiliate marketing. So only recommend products which you can back 100%
- Occasionally the reach is a little lower for direct affiliate pins because they do not direct to your domain which you have claimed. This is normal but given how quick it is to create a pin, I think its 100% still worth doing. Just make sure you don’t ONLY link to affiliate links.
- Don’t be spammy. Spread your pins out, don’t always pin to the same product and mix your pins up. A good blend of affiliate and non-affiliate links, stories, static and video pins on a variety of related topics.
- Whilst it shouldn’t be the first board you pin to, it can be useful to have a board with affiliate links to find them easily. This board still has to be relevant to your niche but perhaps you could call it recommended tools for [insert niche.]
- Check your analytics frequently and monitor what is working and what isn’t and don’t be afraid to mix it up. If lead magnet affiliate funnels are working better than direct link pins, then make more funnels!
- If an article or email funnel is converting really well, you could consider paying to promote that pin to more users. This works particularly well for time-sensitive affiliate promotions e.g. when there is a special offer or sale.
- Try out infographics as they can pack in more information about the product into a small place. You can also use them in blog posts and add embed code so that others can use your infographic whilst crediting you with a backlink – a great way to grow your blogs authority and backlinks as a nice little bonus! You can read more about infographics in this article about advanced SEO strategies.
How to choose the best affiliate programs for Pinterest
First click affiliate programs are great for Pinterest.
In general, people use Pinterest for the early part of their buying research and it is more of an inspirational platform. Therefore you will be meeting people earlier in the buying funnel and as such, first click affiliate programs can work well.
If you’re unsure what this means, a 1st click program means that whoever refers the customer first gets rewarded the affiliate commission. So even if another affiliate promotes the same product and they click their link after yours, you are the one who will get rewarded.
First click affiliate programs are a lot less common but do exist in many niches. If you’re not sure if your programs are first or last click, check the T&C’s and if you’re still not sure, reach out to your affiliate manager to ask!
Look for lower-priced products (but not too low.)
Telling you not to focus on high ticket products is unusual for me! I am a massive fan of high ticket affiliate marketing! But the truth is, it’s much harder to promote high ticket products on Pinterest.
Because Pinterest is generally more of an inspirational place than somewhere people go to do hardcore research (pssst that’s Google,) it can be harder to sell expensive products. This is because until they stumbled on your pin, they didn’t know they needed or wanted that product.
However, if the product is reasonably priced, they may be more willing to make a spontaneous purchase.
The downside is that if you focus on really cheap products, you won’t make much affiliate commissions so there needs to be some balance.
I find the $20-70 range tends to be a sweet spot on Pinterest.
Digital products also do well because you can access them instantly which is appealing for spontaneous purchases. So think of things like ebooks or photo presets.
By all means, test out different products at different price points and see what works best for you!
Longer cookie periods are better
The cookie period refers to how long after clicking your link the sale commission will be credited to you.
Say a product has a 30 day cookie period and someone clicks your link, gives it some thought then goes back to that product directly in 2 weeks time. You’ll still get the commission. If however, they don’t return for 31 days, you won’t be rewarded the commission.
Therefore, longer cookie periods are better especially for more expensive products (that need a little more commitment) or for reaching people higher in the buying funnel when they are not ready to make a purchase.
Other ways to make Money on Pinterest
Affiliate marketing is not the only way to make money on Pinterest. Here are a few other options you could consider:
- Become a virtual assistant. Blogging is a busy job and often successful bloggers need little help. If you have some basic knowledge about pinning strategy, then you could become a virtual assistant and help take the load off another blogger.
- Become a Pinterest strategist. Strategists have more than a basic knowledge of strategy, they are experts who can take a look at your profile and find your weak spots to suggest improvements. They also sometimes take over the actual pinning as virtual assistants do but in general, they charge a lot more for this service as they are specialists.
- Create and sell your own digital products like ebooks, online courses and planners. You can use the platform to direct pinners to the sales page or to your email funnels.
- If you sell physical products, you can use the platform to funnel pinners to an online store like Etsy or Shopify.
FAQs about Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
Is Pinterest better than other social platforms for promoting affiliate links?
Pinterest is not only a social media platform, it is also a visual search engine. And as such, it is capable of reaching more people who are ready to make a purchase.
Whilst Google search engine traffic is the most profitable as it reaches people further along the buying funnel, Pinterest is probably the next best thing to organic traffic.
Let’s look at a photography course as an example again.
If someone stumbles across a link to a photography course on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, they are very unlikely to make a purchase as the topic is not even on their radar.
If they type ‘photography course A review’ into a search engine, it shows they are very likely to purchase.
People tend to start their research on Pinterest and then use Google for more laser focussed research later on.
So on Pinterest they might search ‘how to take better photographs.’
Pinterest also only shows you topics in your home feed that it thinks you will like. So if you’ve been looking at photography tips lately, a pin about a photography course is more likely to pop up.
So Pinterest affiliate marketing is never going to be as profitable as ranking for lucrative keywords on Google with SEO optimised blog articles.
However, it will have better conversion rates than other social platforms.
It’s also quick to create a pin and add it to your queue whereas writing a detailed article is much more time-consuming.
How much do you earn as an affiliate on Pinterest?
This will depend on a number of factors such as what products you promote, how often you promote them and how good your overall pinning strategy is. If you have a large reach, a target audience, promote the right products and you test and tweak your strategy until you find a way that works for you, it could be a profitable passive income stream.
However, to have affiliate marketing success, I do believe it should be used as part of a wider passive income strategy.
How many followers do I need to have success promoting affiliate links?
The number of followers you have doesn’t matter very much on Pinterest. If those followers aren’t engaged and clicking through to your links, then follow numbers are irrelevant. Also if you pin about a lot of topics, chances are that not everyone who follows you will be your ideal target audience.
So focus less on numbers and more on engagement, consistency and curating the right audience.
How do I disclose an affiliate link on Pinterest?
Most affiliate marketers will use #affiliatelink but really, you should use a statement letting your audience know that you may earn a small commission if they use your links. This is the best practice to stay FTC compliant.
Can I use Amazon links on Pinterest?
Currently, you can use links to the Amazon EU program but not Amazon US. Since most affiliates are registered with both linked by Onelink, using Amazon links is not advised.
Can I use Etsy links on Pinterest?
Etsy is another store which bans affiliate links from Pinterest. Fortunatle most programs do allow them.
Can I run promoted pins to affiliate link?
Usually, this is okay but always check your programs t&c’s.
Most programs include keywords that you are not allowed to bid on such as the name of the brand.
So say you were promoting a pair of Nike trainers, you could potentially promote ads for keywords like ‘best trainers’ but not for ‘Nike.’
Other programs will stipulate that you have to direct traffic to your site first. Always check each program’s individual terms and conditions and if unsure, reach out to ask your affiliate manager.
In conclusion: can you make money on Pinterest with Affiliate Marketing?
Yes, Absolutely! Pinterest is a great place to promote affiliate links. It’s quick and easy and pins can circulate for years.
Will you see the same conversion rates as you do for organic traffic to affiliate focussed content? Possibly not.
Search engine traffic will always have the highest conversion rates. But affiliate marketing on Pinterest is absolutely worth your time and effort.
Have you tried making money on Pinterest this way? How did you get on?
Feel free to ask questions in the comments below!
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