What if My Pinterest Ads Aren’t Working? How to Set Up and Read Your Data

My Pinterest ads aren’t working and I’m not sure what to do to get them to convert! This is a common question I get in my inbox after someone has watched my YouTube videos. So let's talk all things Pinterest ads! I want to help you understand how to set up and read the data from your ads, and how to troubleshoot ads if you’re struggling.

What if My Pinterest Ads Aren’t Working? How to Set Up and Read Your Data

What if my Pinterest ads aren't working?

Before we can troubleshoot why your Pinterest ads aren’t working, it’s important to understand what data you should track and how to find it. You also need to understand what the metrics that Pinterest shows you actually mean!

What KPIs should I track for Pinterest Ads?

KPI stands for “key performance indicator.” Or, a performance metric that helps you understand if you’re meeting your business goals.

When I’m running Pinterest ads, I like to track metrics for signups, sales, and a few others as my key performance indicators.

In the agency for my clients, we track the following metrics as our KPIs (don’t worry, we’re going to define them!):

Outbound Clicks
Pin Clicks

But what do each of these mean? Let’s define them.


Return on ad spend (ROAS) is how much money you made back as a result of your ads. We measure ROAS for all of our digital and physical sales. (We usually always want to make our money back on our ads, so it’s an important metric.)

The only time you won’t typically track ROAS is if you’re running a lead generation campaign and aren’t selling anything behind your ads. For example, a Pinterest ad campaign to grow your email list using a freebie wouldn’t need to track ROAS.

If you read my post the 3 Types of Pinterest Ads to Run, you know I talk about running tripwire ads where you can make your ad spend back right away with a small product sale.

Return on ad spend is not always the goal of running Pinterest ads, so whether or not you care about this metric will depend upon your campaign goals.


Click through rate (CTR) tells you the percentage of people who saw your ad and actually clicked through to it.

You need your CTR to be high enough for the algorithm to optimize and deliver your ads to the right people. More on this later.

Outbound Clicks

This is a new metric introduced by Pinterest in January of 2021.

Outbound clicks are how many people clicked through your ad to your landing page from Pinterest.

Pin Clicks

This metric was formerly known as “link clicks” and has now been redefined as “pin clicks.” Pin clicks measure how many people clicked your pin on the platform and engaged with it, but didn’t click through your ad and leave the platform.

This typically doesn’t happen on mobile because ads are one tap. So, if you click on an ad on the Pinterest mobile app, it zaps you right to the landing page.


CPM is cost per thousand impressions. This is a billing metric used in conversion campaigns that tells you how much your ad spend is to get 1,000 impressions on your ad.


CPA is cost per acquisition, which tells you how much you’re paying to acquire the sale or lead (depending on the goal of your campaign).


Conversions are how many people actually converted as a result of your ads. Again, what a “conversion” means will be defined by which type of campaign you’re running.

What attribution window should I use?

The next thing you should be aware of is your attribution window.

What is an attribution window?

What if my Pinterest ads aren't working? How to set up and read your data

An attribution window is the timeframe that Pinterest attributes conversions to your ad campaign.

So, a 30/30/30 attribution window would track conversions up to 30 days after they click on your ad, 30 days after they engage with your ad, and 30 days after they view your ad.

Here are some other attribution windows you can use to optimize your ads on Pinterest.

Pinterest recommends that your ad campaign’s attribution window should be a longer amount of time because Pinterest ads take longer to optimize. The more data you can give the algorithm over a longer period of time, the better your ads can perform.

Google analytics measures attribution in a 1/1/1 window, so if you’re comparing your conversions in your Pinterest ads manager to your Google analytics, they won’t match up. Know that, when you’re reviewing your results, they may vary based on how and where you’re tracking those stats.

Alright, now that we know what all these metrics mean, we can dive into setting up your reports and troubleshooting when your Pinterest ads aren't working.

How to Setup Your Ads Reporting Inside Your Ads Manager

Before you can track data from your ads campaign, you will want to set up your ads reporting inside your dashboard.

The metrics I mentioned above are just a handful of the things I track, so let me show you where to find those metrics in your ads manager.

Navigate to the reporting tab inside your dashboard and look for the pencil to the right of the table where your campaigns are listed.

What if my Pinterest ads aren't working? How to set up and read your data

Click the pencil icon on the table and you’ll see a list of different metrics you can add to your table or remove from your current selection.

Click the pencil icon and click into details.

I like to remove the following metrics from the table:

  • Pin description
  • Creative type
  • Ad format
  • Product group ad format

Go back to the main selection when you click the pencil and click “schedule, budgets and bids.”

I like to remove the following:

  • Ad group budget type
  • Ad group budget strategy type
  • Ad group start date/time
  • Ad group end date/time

Navigate into overall performance. I like to remove the following:

  • Gross impressions
  • Gross Pin clicks
  • Result
  • Cost per result

In this same menu I like to add the following: 

  • Frequency

Navigate back to your menu and click into engagement total and remove everything except for the following:

  • Pin clicks
  • CTR
  • CPC
  • Saves
  • Outbound clicks

Navigate to your menu again and click into conversions > total and choose all of the following:

  • Total CPA (Checkout)
  • Total ROAS (Checkout)
  • Total conversions (Checkout)
  • Total order value (Checkout)

Navigate to your menu again and click into signups > total and choose the following:

  • Total CPA (Signup)
  • Total conversions (Signup)

If you want to track lead conversions or add to cart conversions you will choose the same exact metrics as signups.

So now that we have our table set up, it should look like this from your ad group level.

What Can I Do if My Pinterest Ads Aren’t Working?

Once you are seeing the results filter into your ads manager, you will want to review the metrics that are important to your overall goals for the campaign.

You will want to first take a look at your data and ask the following questions:

  • Is my campaign spending the budget I set?
  • Is each ad group spending the budget I set?
  • What is my click through rate per image?

I like to look at these three metrics first. These metrics tell me if my campaign is being delivered based on the targeting that I chose.

If my campaign or ad groups aren’t spending, then I know I have to dig deeper and find out why.

What if my Pinterest ads aren't working? How to set up and read your data

Let’s troubleshoot some common issues you might see with your Pinterest Ads:

My CTR is low so my ads aren’t spending.

Typically, if your campaign isn’t spending, then your click-through rate is too low. Your imagery click-through rate needs to be .54% or higher for the algorithm to deliver. So first up is to get new imagery inside of your ad groups to get that CTR up.

In this situation, if you have your campaign set to custom bidding, you may need to switch to automatic bidding or raise your bid. You could be getting outbid in the auction.

My CTR is high enough but I’m not getting conversions

You will want to look at your targeting options to see if they are delivering. If you look at your table and the interests that you’ve chosen aren’t performing well on CTR, impressions, clicks, etc., then you may want to remove those interests and add others.

All of my metrics look good, but I’m not getting the conversions I want or at the price I want them

If you aren’t seeing the conversions you want at the price you want, you may need to look at your landing pages to be sure that they correspond appropriately with your ads. The images and the promise you’re making on your Pinterest ads needs to be what you’re proposing on the landing page.

It’s so important to have cohesion between your landing page and the ad you’re running. If a potential customer clicks your ad expecting one thing and gets another, then they likey won’t convert.

You will also want to look at your imagery to be sure it’s not confusing what you want them to do. Make your call to action clear!

I’m not getting sales, but my metrics look good

If your metrics look good but you aren’t getting sales, you may need to adjust your attribution window to be sure you are seeing sales in your ads manager. If you have a wide attribution window but you’re not seeing sales at all, you may need to evaluate your pricing. Is the product you’re advertising overpriced?

If you believe your pricing is good and you’ve had sales at that price point before, then you may need to evaluate your audience. Are you targeting the right people?

If your ads are converting on Facebook but not Pinterest, it might be the landing page itself. I have noticed at times that certain clients' ads don’t perform as well on Pinterest as they do elsewhere based on the landing page. Our method of selling on Pinterest vs Facebook is different because buyer intent on either platform is different. Their reason for using the platform is inherently different.

So take a look at your funnel itself if all of your numbers look good but you still aren’t getting the conversions you want.

What if my keywords aren’t working for my campaign?

Sometimes when you choose to promote an interest and keyword based campaign together, you will notice your keywords won’t spend. The majority of the budget may be spent on interests, so if your keywords aren’t spending and your interests aren’t bringing the results you want, then make sure you are evaluating and removing those interests from your targeted audience.

Wrap Up

Those are the most common questions that arise when Pinterest ad campaigns aren’t converting. So if you're wondering what to do if your Pinterest ads aren't working now, you can go out and fix them!

If you have additional issues that come up and you want to learn more about ads, or just to connect, follow me on YouTube and reach out!

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