Maina Ndung'u is a fashion enthusiast and has earned a substantial amount of money on Pinterest with Amazon.
Can You Make Money on Pinterest?
Some time ago, Pinterest did not permit affiliate links. This is because some users were abusing the platform by spamming it with these links. In early 2017, Pinterest spam filters became more refined, and affiliate links are now allowed.
There are so many affiliate programs to choose from. But since Amazon Associates is probably the biggest of them all, it’s one of the most successful for most bloggers. In this article, I’ll show you how you can earn by selling Amazon products on Pinterest. You will learn:
- How to qualify for pinning Amazon products
- Terms and conditions
- What you need to do before you can start pinning
- Selecting the products to pin
- Creating good Pinterest boards
- Crafting the right pins
- Maintaining your revenue flow
Requirements for Eligibility
To be eligible for earning affiliate income on Pinterest with Amazon, you need to fulfill the following:
- You must have an approved Amazon Associates account—if you don’t have one, you can use free blogging platforms like Blogspot or WordPress to apply for it.
- You must have a Pinterest business account—this is obtainable free of charge. The best option is to change your existing personal account.
- You have to add your Pinterest business account link to your Amazon Associates website list. In Amazon Associates central, go to Account Settings > Edit Your Website And Mobile App List > Add.
Terms and Conditions
There are some conditions that you must abide by when selling Amazon stuff on Pinterest. If you violate them, you might be caught by Pinterest’s spam detection system. Else, you might be disqualified from earning affiliate revenue. These are:
- The account where you pin the products must be owned by you.
- Avoid saving duplicate items.
- Do not compel or pay for repins.
- Do not use hashtags in the descriptions.
- If you must use short URLs, obtain them from Amazon SiteStripe.
- The pin description should be true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
- Don’t use any form of redirect which may confuse users as to not know the products are pinned from Amazon.
- You are free to tell your audience that you will earn a commission if they buy using your link. But, you must not coerce them into using your link for the sole purpose of supporting you or your business.
- Do not persuade your friends and family members to buy using your links.
- Do not solicit for comments or any other user-generated content.
- Abide by all other Pinterest and Amazon associates policies.
When you have good content on Pinterest, online users find it through related pins, their home feed, category feed or via search engines. The best way to sell products online without advertising is to create content that will be great for users.
If you can put together content that will be useful to potential buyers, search engines will love it, and you will eventually rank high. That means that your content will be available to the very people who are searching for it.
They will benefit by finding what they wanted, and you’ll also gain by getting sales or affiliate revenue. Based on this, I’ll show you how I create Pinterest boards that rank on Google.
How Many Pinterest Boards Do You Need?
There is no limit to the number of boards you should have. Having many boards is advantageous because you’ll have more products to sell. If you experiment with only one board, you may have used the wrong keyword. You might, therefore, not sell a single product and become frustrated.
I recommend that you start with 5–10 boards. In case you have a lot of time at your disposal, you can try with even 20 or more. But having an endless number of product pinboards has its own challenges, as you will notice later on in this article.
How Many Products to Pin per Board
Again, there is no limit to the number of pins required per board. If you use too few pins, your board might never rank on Google. If you have too many pins on one board, there is a possibility you’ll later regret as I will explain further down this article.
What, then, is the magic number? In my experience, I’ve learned that boards that perform well have 35 pins and above. But you don’t need to pin all of them at once.
Pinterest Boards That Rank on Google
When I started pinning Amazon products sometime in June 2017, I saw some bloggers suggest that you should include pins from other websites. I now know that this is wrongful information.
I’ve experimented with boards that contain only products from Amazon. I also tried boards that included pins by other users from other websites. My findings are very clear. You don’t have to waste time pinning photos from other sites.
Amazon is a trusted brand. When users see a product that interests them, they want to go to the other pins to do their comparisons. If they find the other pins are from sources they are not sure they can trust, they are likely to bounce off.
First Do Keyword Research
I’m going to use the keyword "Maxi Dress" as an example. If you type this keyword into a search engine, you’ll find brands like Boohoo, Lulus, Asos, Sammydress, Rosegal, Amazon, CharlotteRusse, etc.
This means creating a board based on this keyword may be a waste of time. The reason is that you simply can’t outrank these companies.
However, not all potential shoppers of maxi dresses search for "maxi dress". To find a variety of keywords that buyers use, you need a keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner.
The above picture is a sneak preview of the various types of maxi dresses that shoppers search for. If you scroll through the list in the Keyword Tool, you will find many more keywords.
Sellers of these clothes have created relevant categories to cater to almost every keyword that people use. But it’s not practical for them to gratify all shoppers. Finding a variety of certain categories of maxi dresses is hard.
You may search for a certain popular keyword, and all the top results point to individual products. This is frustrating to willing buyers. Some keywords I noticed in this example are "backless maxi dresses" and "strappy back maxi dresses".
If you have a board based on those keywords, it’s likely to rank because shoppers want a variety of products to choose from based on the keyword they entered.
In other instances, buyers are looking for products where images of the back are more appropriate. For instance, "strappy back maxi dress", "racerback maxi dress", and "backless maxi dresses".
In such a scenario, you may find that the first search results bring the relevant products. But shoppers find it hard to scroll through the products to see pictures of the back.
You should also avoid keywords which Pinterest has already categorized. Avoid creating a board that has already been created. However, you can still create a board if you find that the other board is shoddy.
Qualities of a Good Pinterest Board
Before you create your board, you need to bear in mind that Pinterest boards make it to the first page of Google search in about 90 days. According to Pinterest guidelines, this happens if you add at least one pin per week.
If you want to have a board comprising of 35 pins, you will not publish it with that number of pins. You can start with about 20 and add 1 each week, or so. That’s just a general guide.
Creating an Awesome Pinterest Board
Let’s now get practical. I’m going to demonstrate the technicalities of creating a good board. I will use one of the keywords we discussed above. Our keyword is “backless maxi dresses”.
You should not publish your board before you have added your content. Some reasons for this are:
- If you add dozens of pins at once to a public board, you will bombard your followers with the same in their news feed. This is unfair to them because they may not be interested in the products
- Search engines don’t like content that is published when under construction or in beta state
The next step is to add a description and a category. There are more than 30 categories to choose from. You should choose the one under which you think your board best belongs.
Meta description is very important to a pin board. When writing articles, you can omit a description in an article if you like. Search engines will pick part of your content and display it on the results page. But with a Pinterest board, there may be nothing much to display in place of the Meta summary.
Another importance of a description is that searchers can decide to either click or not based on how a certain result is presented to them. You should hence use the description to try and entice potential buyers. Remember, being honest and trustworthy can increase your affiliate sales.
An ideal description has about 170 characters. If it’s shorter than this, Pinterest will fill it up for you. If it’s longer, some parts will be truncated and will not be visible to searchers.
Now that my board is in private mode, it doesn’t matter how long I take to add enough content to it before I hit publish.
How to Add Amazon Products to a Pinterest Board
To earn money on Pinterest, you must find a way of availing useful content to searchers. This means creating a board and saving products which are difficult to find. But, the products must be available on Amazon.
When you successfully create such a board, it will eventually show up on the first pages of search engines. I have personally achieved this with a few pin boards.
This is what you need to do:
- Choose the right products
- Select the right images
- Insert your affiliate links
- Write a good product description
Let’s now look at the above steps in more detail:
Choose the Right Products
It is true that if you pick only cheap items, you can sell many of them but you will not earn much. If you choose only the very expensive ones, they can be repellent to buyers. Most bloggers recommend selecting products which are in the range of $30 per item.
My advice is this. Scroll through the products that are available on Amazon. Get a rough idea of the price range. Then decide which price range you think is best for your board.
Select the Right Images
Pinning products directly from Amazon is not recommended because:
- It’s hard to get the image you want
- You can't edit a photo
- You are likely to pin a poor quality image
- You can’t change the file name
Always use high-quality images. If you can’t download high-resolution images from Amazon, use the Chrome extension ‘Hi-Res Image Downloader for Merch By Amazon”.
Select photos that are captured while the product is being used. People are able to better associate with a product if they see it being used. This leads to more sales.
Change the image file name. Search engine robots can crawl pages and learn what’s in them. But there’s currently no technology that can effectively discern what exactly is contained in an image.
To ensure that search engines rank your images for the correct keywords, you have to use the right file name and description. In the sample board, I’ll include “backless maxi dress” in every photo before uploading. An example photo will have the name “Toptie casual backless maxi dress.jpg”.
How to Create an Amazon Affiliate Link
First, create a tracking ID with the name of your board. Go to Amazon associates central. At the top right, hover your mouse cursor on the drop-down menu bearing your email address > Manage Your Tracking IDs > Add Tracking ID.
It’s advisable to create a tracking ID that you can easily associate with your content. For the sample board, the tracking ID will be “backless-maxi-dresses02-20”.
You get your affiliate link from the SiteStripe located at the top left of any page as shown below. Choose between the long URL and a shortened one. Remember not to use a URL shortener. I prefer the longer URL because pins that bear it are clearly marked as from Amazon.
Inserting Your Amazon Affiliate Link on Pinterest
If you have already pinned a product, you can edit the pin to change the URL and replace it with your affiliate link. While pinning directly from Amazon, you can’t insert your link right away. You have to pin first and then go edit your pin.
When uploading a photo from your computer, you are provided with a text box for the destination URL. You can, therefore, get the link before you upload your pin.
Write a Good Product Description
You don’t have to spend time describing the products you pin. However, by writing a detailed description, you are supplying search engines with additional keywords.
Here a good example: If someone searches for “backless maxi dress with built-in bra”, they are unlikely to find a product I pinned, unless I’ve added those details in the descriptions. So, the more details you can add, the better the sales will be.
Add a call to action in your description. According to Pinterest guidelines, adding something like “Buy Now” in the description can increase your sales by up to 30%.
How to Update Your Boards
You have to occasionally update your pin boards. With new boards, you can do it once a month. When the board starts getting clicks, you should update it at least weekly. Here are the reasons:
- Remove products that are no longer existent—broken links can make you lose your search engine ranking
- Update URLs for products which have moved permanently to a new web address
- Remove duplicate products—these may be detected by spammy filters
- Add new, trendy products
I’ve learned that the easiest way to maintain a board is to list the products you are going to feature in a word document. Before you start pinning, search for the products at Amazon. Doing this ensures no duplicate items unless it’s one product with different URLs.
For each item, copy the name and Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs). You get the ASIN code in the address bar of each product after “dp/”. For a board of 35 items, list about 60 or more products.
When updating your board, all you do is go Amazon’s home page and use the search bar to look for products you’ve already pinned. This is where you use the ASIN codes from your word document.
Paste the ASIN code in the search bar and hit enter. If the product shows up, that’s okay. If the product can’t be found, your link may be broken. In this case, you then have to search for the product by its name. If you find it, update the ASIN in your word document, and the URL on the pin.
In case you search for a pinned item by the ASIN and its name and you still can’t find it, the product is non-existent. You have to delete the pin and the item on the word list. Finally, replace the products you’ve deleted.
A quick way of finding obsolete products is to use an online broken link checker tool. You just enter your board’s web address and wait for a list of the urls that return a ‘not found’ response, if any.
A major drawback to using this method is that the tools have to follow all the links to look for 404 errors. This results in a lot of invalid clicks which will be reflected in your Amazon Associates central reports.
Another drawback is that the tools supply you only with the URL. You then have to look for the pin with that address. Still another disadvantage is that you can easily replace the removed pin with a duplicate pin.
How Much Money Can You Earn With Pinterest and Amazon?
This will depend on a lot of factors. To earn good money, you have to pick a niche in which you are knowledgeable about. Choose a field which is in harmony with your passions or business objectives.
Secondly, the products you choose must be widely available at Amazon. Otherwise, you can land on a good keyword but there are simply no products to pin.
You also need to be a good keyword researcher. Do not rush until you know you are featuring items that buyers cannot easily find online. Any board that performs well will earn you anything from $10, with the sky being the limit.
Your Duty to Buyers
You have a duty to buyers to ensure that the products you choose are the best. Your board will show up on search engines with the word "best" added to it. Our example board will be shown as "35 best backless maxi dresses images on Pinterest".
You now have what it takes to make money on Pinterest with Amazon. By helping people find in one pool a variety of products which are hard to get, you will benefit by earning affiliate income.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Maina Ndungu (author) from Thika, Kenya on October 28, 2019:
Thanks for your query.
Tracking IDs are used for the purpose of identifying the performance of each piece of content. You can use a single tracking ID for all your boards. But then you won't be able to know which boards perform well and which you can schedule for a later deletion.
So, I'd advise you to have a tracking ID for each board
Manaj Banerjee on October 28, 2019:
Brilliant piece of content with extra value-addition for beginners; simplifying complicated procedures and make it easy to understand.
Can you elaborate one more thing and that is: do I require different tracking ID with Amazon for each category of products (different boards) on Pinterest? Please suggest.
bilal aftab on May 11, 2019:
this article help me alot thanks
LKGayton on July 19, 2018:
I read that you had to add #SponsoredLink to your description when promoting Amazon direct links.
Maina Ndungu (author) from Thika, Kenya on June 29, 2018:
Thanks for your concern. Please be informed that you can share Amazon products on social media but you must not insert your affiliate link on your "wall" or "profile". However, you are allowed to use your affiliate link on "Youtube channel", "Facebook page", "Pinterest business account".
You should also avoid situations in which your associates' links may be used by people you know.
lovethisstuff from London on June 28, 2018:
To my knowledge posting Amazon links on Pinterest is not allowed. Did you have clarification from Amazon on this? Thanks