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Social Media Marketing 20 min read

Utilizing Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest: Tips for SMBs

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Alexandra Goss photo

Expert reviewed by Alexandra Goss

Associate Marketing Manager @ Galactic Fed

Published 13 Mar 2024

Utilizing Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest: Tips for SMBs

As a small-to-mid-sized business (SMB) owner, it’s safe to assume that you’re always on the lookout for ways to generate extra revenue and connect with clients. One particular revenue-generating strategy that often goes overlooked, though, involves affiliate marketing on Pinterest. 

On its own, affiliate marketing has skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade. In 2012, U.S. businesses spent $2.5B on affiliate marketing. And by 2022, that figure had climbed to $8.2B.

With that in mind, we invite you to join us as we take a deep dive into affiliate marketing, including what it is, how it will fit into your overall marketing strategy, and how to start affiliate marketing on Pinterest as a means of growing your business. We’ll even cover some Pinterest affiliate marketing examples as well.

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The Basics of Affiliate Marketing

Though it may sound like its own distinct concept, affiliate marketing on Pinterest is rather similar to general affiliate marketing programs. It involves aligning yourself with like-minded brands that will showcase your company’s products on the Pinterest platform in exchange for a commission. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

The general foundation of affiliate marketing is performance-based. Your company is able to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies who will market those products in exchange for a commission. 

Affiliates promote products through various channels, including blogs, social media, and websites. Each affiliate gets a unique link or discount code, which tracks their referrals. When their marketing efforts successfully bring in customers or visitors, your company will reward them.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work on Pinterest? 

On Pinterest, affiliate marketing takes advantage of the platform’s visual discovery and sharing capabilities. The work of an affiliate can be broken down as follows:

  • Joining affiliate programs to receive unique affiliate links
  • Creating visually appealing pins (posts) that incorporate these links
  • Sharing these pins on Pinterest boards that are optimized for search and visibility
  • Disclosing the use of affiliate links to comply with Pinterest’s guidelines and legal requirements

When a Pinterest user clicks on one of these links and makes a purchase or signs up for a service, the affiliate earns a commission from the sale. 

One thing to keep in mind when you choose to have your business engage in affiliate marketing on Pinterest is that it is vital to familiarize yourself with Pinterest’s affiliate rules so you can avoid any penalties. Not only that, but you must also align yourself with reputable partners who abide by the platform’s guidelines just the same.

Pinterest Influencer Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing 

If you aren’t already aware of their distinct characteristics, the line between Pinterest influencer marketing and affiliate marketing can get blurry quite quickly.

Pinterest influencer marketing involves partnering with users who have a significant following and voice. These individuals will create content that promotes your products or services, aiming to leverage their trust and authority with their audience to sway purchasing decisions or enhance brand recognition. However, they do not make use of specific links or codes in order to do so.

In other words, if you are simply partnering with popular entities as a means of building brand awareness and trust, you are influencer marketing. But if you provide these entities with unique links or discount codes for the purpose of attributing sales and distributing commissions, they are acting as affiliates. 

Why Pinterest Is Ideal for Affiliate Marketing

Before we dive right into how to start affiliate marketing on Pinterest, it’s important to understand why the platform is such a great tool for building your brand in the first place.

Pinterest User Demographics

Roughly one-third of the U.S. population uses Pinterest. Of that collective total, the platform is particularly popular among women. Females account for 76.5% of all platform users, and nearly 30% of all Pinterest users are women between the ages of 25 and 34. 

Another intriguing statistic is that over 85% of all Pinterest users are also active on Instagram. You can use that trend to your advantage by instituting a cross-platform marketing strategy. 

High Engagement Rates With Visual Content

In general, visual content earns 94% more views than content that only features text. In particular, social media posts with images receive 150% more engagement than text-only posts. And when it comes to affiliate marketing on Pinterest, these statistics mean everything. 

Pinterest is a visual-first platform, which means that affiliate content and links are associated with images. In turn, you are going to enjoy much higher engagement than you would if your posts only included text. 

The Shopping Mindset of Pinterest Users

According to Pinterest, 498 million people use the platform every month, their purpose being to plan their future purchases and find new ideas. To that end, there’s no better way to grow your business and generate sales than to go where the customers are. 

How to Start Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest

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Creating an affiliate network is an excellent means of expanding your company’s reach and generating more buzz about your products. If you want to generate secondary income for your business, you can even become an affiliate yourself. 

In any case, now that you’re ready to start affiliate marketing on Pinterest, have a look at the following list of eight easy steps that will jumpstart your efforts. Our tips include strategies for business owners who want to work with affiliates, as well as guidelines for becoming an affiliate yourself. 

Create a Pinterest Business Account

Regardless of what you want to achieve on Pinterest, you’ll need to create a Pinterest Business Account first. It will give you access to essential features like Pinterest Analytics and ads. 

It’s vital that you do not rush through the account creation process. Take the time to provide important profile details, including a business description with relevant keywords and a link to your website. 

Remember, your profile is an extension of your website and your brand and a reflection of the types of products you’ll be promoting. Ultimately, it will influence how prospective customers view you and your company, so you must ensure your profile is complete and features up-to-date information. 

Understand Pinterest’s Affiliate Rules

Pinterest has specific guidelines in place for affiliate marketing to ensure transparency and trustworthiness. Familiarize yourself with these rules to ensure your account remains in good standing. The platform may come down hard for rule violations, especially if they are egregious.

If you intend to act as an affiliate, always disclose that your pins contain affiliate links to be upfront with your audience. You can do so with something as simple as an added disclaimer in your pin descriptions. 

Generally speaking, people have no issues working with affiliates, though some consumers may become frustrated if you don’t disclose your affiliate relationships. Failing to disclose these partnerships is also a violation of Pinterest guidelines. 

Find Affiliates and Join Affiliate Programs

Without a doubt, the most important step in your affiliate marketing journey is to find your affiliates. As a business owner, you’ll need to seek out those who are motivated and in alignment with your organizational values. In doing so, prioritize individuals or brands that are already promoting other products in your niche, as that shows that they have the experience necessary to drive sales. 

There is little room for error here, as affiliate marketing is a performance-based program (meaning affiliates don’t get paid unless they produce results). Nevertheless, you want your program to hit the ground running, and that means finding the right partners from day one.

If you want to act as an affiliate, look for programs that match your niche. Once you’ve identified potential opportunities, apply to them, and be prepared to provide details about your Pinterest account and how you plan to promote their products. 

Create High-Quality Pins

Use design tools to create visually appealing pins. Ensure they are relevant to the product you’re promoting and that they will resonate with your target audience. Your pins’ descriptions should clearly explain what the product is and how it benefits the user, and they should also include keywords to improve their visibility in search results.

Typically, affiliates create their own marketing content. However, as a business owner, you can opt to create and distribute content for your affiliates. Supporting affiliates by providing some pins and other content can help attract top-quality partners and accelerate the success of your program. 

Add Affiliate Links to Your Pins

Once you’ve found some affiliate partners, you’ll need to provide them with unique affiliate links. These will allow you to attribute conversions to specific partners so that they can be paid accordingly. 

Make sure your affiliates disclose the use of the links in their pin descriptions and encourage them to use link-shortening tools for a cleaner look. Full-length links can appear spammy, even if they are legitimate.  

Promote Your Pins

Engagement can help increase the visibility of pins, and that means affiliates need to promote their posts. They must interact with other users by way of following, liking, and commenting on their pins. 

You can help your affiliates promote their pins by being active on Pinterest yourself. If you’ve got the room in your budget, run Pinterest ads to amplify the reach of your content and encourage your affiliate partners to do the same. 

Monitor Performance

Ensure that your affiliates are producing results. Monitor the performance of each partner and see who is delivering for your brand. Once you’ve identified top producers, you can pour additional resources into those entities to amplify their results.

If some of your affiliates are underdelivering, don’t give up on them too soon. Instead, reach out and try to get to the bottom of the issue. Encourage them to refine their pin designs, descriptions, and promotion strategies to maximize the impact of their marketing efforts. 

Stay Updated and Compliant

Staying informed about trends on Pinterest and within your niche helps keep your strategy relevant and engaging. Always stay up-to-date with Pinterest’s affiliate marketing guidelines and adjust your practices accordingly to avoid any issues.

Creating an affiliate program takes hard work, and sustaining it requires diligence. However, building a network of affiliates can drastically expand your reach and generate significant revenue for your business. 

How Many Affiliates Do You Need?

Just as there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to influencer partnerships, the same premise applies to affiliate marketing on Pinterest. You can start small and partner with only a handful of entities while you learn the ropes of affiliate marketing, or you can choose to dive into the deep end and rapidly build out your network.

As long as you have a scalable attribution strategy that ensures fairness among participants, you can add as many or as few partners as necessary. That being said, you don’t want to get caught up on how many affiliates you have. Instead, focus on acquiring active, productive partners who are going to make a positive impact on your bottom line. 

What’s the Deal With Amazon Affiliate Marketing On Pinterest?

Starting a new affiliate program can seem daunting, especially if you’ve already gone through the process on other major platforms like Amazon. But the good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch when expanding to Pinterest, thanks to offerings like the Amazon Associates Program, one of the largest affiliate marketing programs ever. 

Once joining the program, associates can use its link-building tools to drive audiences and recommended products. Associates can earn a commission on qualifying purchases and program sign-ups. 

If you’re in the business of selling goods on Amazon, integrating Amazon affiliate marketing into your Pinterest strategy could be a game-changer. Here’s how to add Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest:

  • Find the product you are promoting, then copy the link using Amazon’s SiteStripe bar
  • Go to Pinterest
  • Click “Create Pin”
  • Upload a video or image from your device
  • Paste the affiliate link in the website field
  • Add a title, description, and hashtags
  • Include a disclosure
  • Pick a board to save your Pin to
  • Click “Publish”

That’s all there is to it. From here, you can publish affiliate links to Amazon product pages to create a seamless purchasing experience for your customers. 

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest

Creating a network of affiliate partners on Pinterest can get your business on the fast track to growth, but there are still plenty of other benefits of affiliate marketing on Pinterest.

Such advantages include the following:

Cost Savings

The harsh reality is that you don’t have the marketing budget that large companies do. But the good news is that you don’t need one to reach your growth goals. All you need is a lean marketing strategy that leverages proven pathways and channels, such as affiliate marketing.

Indeed, one of the primary advantages of affiliate marketing for SMBs is its cost-effectiveness. Since affiliates operate on a performance-based model, you’ll only pay commissions when a sale is made through an affiliate link. And even if an affiliate is underperforming, you won’t have any marketing dollars at stake, either. 

You can diversify your marketing strategy with a minimal initial investment, meaning the barrier to entry is low. The Pinterest platform is also free to use, which further amplifies the cost-saving advantages of affiliate partnerships. 

Access to a Broader Audience

As we touched upon earlier, Pinterest has millions of active users and is particularly impactful with female audiences. Partnering with affiliates or influencers who have established a following among these key audiences can promote long-term brand growth and get you noticed by the right people. 

If you want to further amplify your reach, you can partner with Pinterest influencers. A handful of influencers can get your products or services in front of tens of thousands of users at once.

Increased Brand Awareness

On the topic of getting noticed, Pinterest affiliate marketing is a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness. Just think: If a half-dozen well-known affiliates begin showcasing your products, you’ve suddenly expanded your reach and visibility exponentially. 

In addition, remember that affiliates don’t get paid unless they drive sales, which means they’ve got plenty of incentive to promote your offerings and showcase your brand. As they share and repin content, your brand gains credibility and recognition, laying the foundation for long-term growth and loyalty. 

Enhanced Trust

Consumers are increasingly relying on recommendations from individuals they trust over traditional advertising, and that means building credibility and trust among new audiences can take months. 

However, affiliate marketing on Pinterest works to accelerate the process as your promotion partners lend you some of the goodwill that they have cultivated. Pinterest affiliates often have dedicated followers who value their opinions and recommendations, so when they promote your offerings, it comes with an implicit endorsement. 

Highly Targeted Market Access

When building your affiliate marketing network, it can be tempting to focus on partners who have tens of thousands of followers. While these entities certainly have the reach you are looking for, their audiences may not align with your own. Not to mention, working with these types of partners can also be quite costly.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, focus on niche affiliates and influencers at first. Partners with more specific followings will be able to promote your brand to highly targeted audiences. In turn, that increases the likelihood of engagement and sales. 

Valuable Insights and Data

Participating in affiliate marketing on Pinterest provides your business with access to valuable data and insights. Tracking the performance of affiliate links can offer a wealth of information about customer preferences, popular products, and effective marketing strategies. 

You can analyze which pins perform best, identify trends in customer behavior, and adjust your marketing tactics accordingly. Together, all of that information is most impactful when paired with insights from other marketing channels, such as your website, Facebook, and Instagram. The goal is to paint a complete picture of the customer journey. 

Flexibility and Scalability

Affiliate marketing offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing your business to start small and scale up your program as you grow. You won’t encounter barriers to entry like high minimum investment amounts, meaning you are given the freedom to experiment with different affiliates, products, and strategies to see what works best.

As your business evolves, you can add more affiliates, diversify the products you are promoting, or adjust commission structures to keep your partners motivated. That kind of scalability ensures your affiliate marketing strategy remains viable no matter what direction your business goes. 

Pinterest Affiliate Marketing Examples

Let’s look at some general affiliate marketing examples to showcase how Pinterest affiliates can help you build your business.

Imagine your business deals in women’s fashion. As a means of promoting your products and boosting sales, you partner with a fashion and style blogger with roughly 2,500 followers. You offer the blogger a commission for every sale they make through their affiliate links.

That kind of partnership checks all the boxes for your hypothetical brand: The blogger has an audience similar to your own, they have a healthy following, they are active on the platform, and they have built a sense of trust among users.

When setting up the partnership, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Help the blogger choose a set of trendy products
  • Provide a unique affiliate link
  • Agree on a commission schedule
  • Share your brand values and mission

You can apply the same basic template to your affiliate program, regardless of which niche you operate within. However, keep in mind that the affiliate’s audience does not need to be perfectly aligned with yours. While you want some overlap, the partner should also help you reach new or underserved audience members.  

Build Your Pinterest Affiliate Program

Now that you know the ins and outs of affiliate marketing on Pinterest, it’s time to start building an impactful program to support your company’s growth. Whether you go it alone or leverage a Pinterest marketing service, the key is to align yourself with the right network of affiliate and influencer partners. Before you know it, you’ll be racking up the leads and generating valuable revenue for your business!

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed