While it might be easy to think of Pinterest as being nothing more than a spammy swamp of recipes, DIY crafts, and outfits, there’s truly more to the social media platform than meets the eye.
I mean, did you know that Pinterest has more than 250 million active monthly users, or that 90% of weekly Pinterest users utilize the platform to make purchasing decisions?
The fact of the matter is that Pinterest is a rather powerful social media platform that offers plenty of opportunity for businesses, entrepreneurs, and side hustlers. If you have a knack for graphic design, spotting trends, and growing a social media following, you can probably make money on Pinterest by using your skills.
I’ve recently outsourced my Pinterest marketing efforts, and the results have helped me increase my monthly blog earnings and grow This Online World.
However, you don’t need to be a blogger to benefit from using Pinterest. In fact, there are plenty of unique ways to monetize the platform if you know what you’re doing.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to make money on Pinterest, this is the post for you!
1. Direct Affiliate Marketing
I mentioned affiliate marketing on Pinterest in my post on ways to make money online, but I wanted to tackle the concept in greater depth for this post.
Pinterest is a visual, product-driven platform. Therefore, affiliate marketing naturally goes hand in hand with Pinterest.
Affiliate links were previously banned on Pinterest. However, according to updated Pinterest affiliate policies, you are allowed to engage in affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
In essence, to comply with Pinterest policies, you must:
- Refrain from spamming.
- Disclose you are promoting a product/service as an affiliate by using #sponsored, #ad, or #affiliate.
- Refrain from using short links or masking URLs.
The process of directly linking to affiliate products on Pinterest is pretty straightforward. A quick search of #affiliate on Pinterest brings up loads of results like this pin for a bracelet (note the use of #ad and #affiliate):
Clicking through the link brings you to an ecommerce clothing store, and you can see there is an affiliate ID attached to the website URL:
Therefore, if someone purchases this bracelet within a certain time-frame (depending on the cookie window), this Pinterest user will earn a share of the revenue.
It might not be a lot of money considering this bracelet is $9.59, but this particular account is doing Pinterest affiliate marketing at scale.
Those are just a few of their boards, which already have hundreds of pins each. They’re basically all affiliate links as well.
Creating these pins is just like creating any other…simply get the creative from your affiliate network and use the custom link they provide for your pin URL.
In fairness, I think this account is a bit too affiliate-heavy. My approach would be to focus on growing an account with higher quality content to build a following and just peppering in affiliate links, but you get the idea.
You can also start affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog since many affiliate programs allow direct linking. Some affiliate networks I suggest checking out include:
Just note that you can also consider applying directly to brands that offer an in-house affiliate program. Meal delivery companies, web hosting, banks, or clothing companies often have their own affiliate arrangements.
Also note that the quality of your Pinterest following will greatly influence your application and if you can skirt some rules. Many affiliate networks say you need a website to join them, and while this is often true, if you have a killer niche Pinterest account with real followers and a high level of engagement, you might be let in anyway.
Take time to build a Pinterest account, don’t spam, and you’ll be able to make money on Pinterest with affiliate marketing without the need for a website.
Note: Amazon associate links and Etsy affiliate links are not allowed on Pinterest (or, at least, putting those links on will risk your account).
2. Create An Affiliate-Based Website
If you really want to make some serious online money, I’d recommend creating your own blog or website for the purpose of affiliate marketing via Pinterest.
Don’t get me wrong, you can make money with direct affiliate links. However, funneling to your own landing pages provides many benefits.
You have complete control over your own website unlike direct linking. Additionally, you can create valuable content to promote affiliate products, use an email grab to build a list for future marketing efforts, and even grow organic traffic to your site for an additional revenue stream.
Plus, running a high quality site will broaden the range of affiliate networks you can be accepted to, and you can also sell your website later for additional profit.
One example of a killer Amazon affiliate website I stumbled across is Roasty Coffee.
Roasty Coffee currently ranks on the first page of Google for plenty of terms relating to coffee makers/buying guides, and the site is also in Mediavine, so it’s making some decent ad revenue.
Between the plethora of Amazon affiliate links and direct partnerships with coffee companies, Roasty Coffee is definitely making a killing (not to mention their ad revenue).
This sort of growth and income potential simply isn’t possible from a direct affiliate linking strategy, and they can monetize by using links from companies like Amazon which are sketchy to use directly.
3. Direct Traffic To A Blog
If you’re interested in creating your own website but don’t want to niche-down to a specific topic for affiliate purposes, you can still make money with Pinterest by funneling traffic back to a personal website.
Sending Pinterest traffic to This Online World is the main way I actually make money from Pinterest.
I host Monumetric ads on my blog, and advertisements are the main form of revenue on This Online World. So, any traffic I can generate from Pinterest automatically earns revenue, and there’s a chance people convert on some of my affiliate links as well.
Here’s a breakdown of my ad revenue for the last 30 days:
Social traffic only accounts for about 10-15% of my total traffic, with Pinterest spearheading the charge. Between the $30-$50 in monthly ad revenue and some affiliate conversions I make from Pinterest, I really can’t complain.
Plus, I’ve just started to put more effort into Pinterest recently. Some bloggers are able to make thousands of dollars a month and drive an incredible amount of traffic to their websites just from Pinterest alone, so there’s plenty of opportunity.
Realistically, you could probably get a new blog approved for Adsense within 2-3 months and then push social media traffic to it to generate revenue. Depending on your niche, you could probably get a fairly high RPM as well.
Again, this is all about potential income and keeping things simple. Create great content, monetize with ads and affiliate links, and then start promoting.
You can checkout my Young Money Interview with Shruti to see how she recently became a full-time travel blogger, largely thanks to her killer Pinterest marketing abilities.
4. Sell Products
Affiliate links can be a grey area on Pinterest, but selling your own products is fair game.
It doesn’t matter if you run an Etsy store, a Shopify website, or are into dropshipping: Pinterest can funnel highly interested traffic to your storefront.
I ran a print on demand Etsy store in 2019 where I tried to sell meme mugs. I also tried running my own dropshipping store to test out the model.
In both instances, I was able to create an organic sale by making an Instagram page for my shop and engaging with people interested in my niche. However, the exact same method can work on Pinterest.
If you sell crafts, clothing, home goods, or anything that seems remotely popular on Pinterest, you might as well create a Pinterest account to start some free promotion.
It might take a while until you can drive paying customers to your store, but social media marketing can be worth the effort in the long run as you attempt to build a brand.
5. Work As A Virtual Assistant
I started hiring a Pinterest virtual assistant on Upwork about 2 months ago.
In that time, she has been able to transform my Pinterest marketing efforts, growing both my monthly engaged users and total followers quite significantly. Additionally, she also makes some killer Pin graphics and handles most of my Tailwind marketing.
As you can see from these results, she knows what she’s doing (so I’m definitely happy to keep paying her):
If you know how to grow a following on Pinterest and to provide value to a blogger/business owner, you can definitely make money with Pinterest by offering your services.
I also recommend joining Facebook groups that are relevant to blogging or a niche you specialize in and to pitch clients who may be in need of VA services. Just be sure to provide value to the groups you join and to get your name out there without spamming!
6. Sell Pinterest Graphics & Templates
While a business or blogger may be hesitant to outsource their entire Pinterest marketing effort, many are still in need of high quality Pin designs.
There’s actually a pretty significant market out there for visually appealing pins and template bundles. Hell, I’ve even seen people selling a monthly subscription service for new Canva pin templates.
Just take a look at what these Fiverr sellers are charging for their Pin design services:
Many of these sellers also have 50-100+ orders, and also offer premium packages to upsell clients on more pin designs/faster delivery times. There’s clearly a market here.
So, if you’re decent at graphic design and looking for a way to make money using Pinterest, this could be a decent side hustle opportunity.
7. Sell Courses
Another common way to make money with Pinterest is to funnel people to a course.
Bloggers do this all the time for blogging guides, but you don’t have necessarily have to follow this formula.
I’ve seen Pinterest courses for all sorts of topics…investing, parenting, making money online, and plenty of individual e-books are quite common. If you’re an expert at something and can package the material into a valuable course, there’s no reason you can’t make some money.
My friend Shruti, once again, is also using her knowledge of Pinterest to sell courses on how to effectively drive traffic to a blog and design viral pins. Her most recent course, Pinterest Traffic Explosion, is also one of the factors that allowed Shruti to go full-time as an online entrepreneur and blogger.
You can use websites like Udemy, Teachable, SkillShare, or many other platforms to package and sell online courses for money.
8. Dabble In Influencer Marketing
While this is probably the least reliable way to make money on Pinterest, this may be an option for you if you have an active and engaged following in a particular niche.
Many brands use social media influencers in their marketing mix. In fact, influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing customer acquisition channels out there.
While this form of marketing is similar to affiliate marketing, payment terms are generally structured differently. An affiliate is paid a percentage of a sale, whereas an influencer can make money for brand promotion/providing awareness and isn’t always on the hook for direct sales.
Popular influencer marketplaces include:
Now, many influncer networks prioritize Instagram and YouTube, but there are still opportunities for Pinterest on many platforms.
Some simply require you to post pre-created content while others may entail creating some sponsored content (this is very common with recipe or home good deals). However, from what I know about sponsored deals and have been offered personally, you can make some serious money without much work at all for sponsored content.
Whatever the case, I’d recommend checking out some of these marketplaces if you have a robust Pinterest account in a particular nice.
At the end of the day, I don’t think there is any fast path to making a considerable amount of money online.
However, if you play to your strengths, pick a strategy, and put in the effort, I’m confident you can make money on the internet and diversify your income streams with just a few months of work.
Personally, I use a bit of Pinterest affiliate marketing and the advertisements on my blog to monetize my Pinterest audience. It took me a while to get here and I had to learn (and now pay) to figure out how to make the platform work for me, but there’s plenty of opportunity out there.
As long as you actually provide value to your audience and slowly grow a following, more and more opportunities will present themselves. Just be patient, work hard, and keep a few irons in the fire! You’ll be making money online in no time!
Catch you guys in the next one.
Tom is a 23 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!