How To Make Money on Pinterest With Affiliate Links (2020)

You’ve already learned about this wonderful passive income stream called affiliate marketing. Maybe at the moment, affiliate links are sprinkled throughout your blog posts. But did you know that you can make affiliate sales without writing a single blog post?

In this post, I’m going to talk about using Pinterest to promote your affiliate products. I’ll show you exactly how to make money on Pinterest with affiliate links.

This post contains affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy.

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest is a visual search engine with a social component. It’s 320 million monthly active users, 70% of whom are women, use the platform to make buying decisions. They are trying to decide where to go on vacation, which diet to try, or what blogging courses to buy. Pinterest users also have spending power, with a median household income of about $75,000. These Pinterest statistics make the platform an attractive place for affiliate marketing.

While writing blog posts, such as reviews, tutorials, and product comparisons, is a great affiliate marketing strategy, it can be time-consuming. Using Pinterest allows you to get your affiliate links in front of potential buyers in a less time-intensive manner. You can create pins to promote your affiliate products directly on Pinterest. Today, I’ll go over how to create affiliate pins and upload them to Pinterest. The best part? You don’t even need a blog to do this!

You may have read my recent chat with a Pinterest expert, McKinzie Bean, where she shares tips to crush affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog. Now, we’re going to get into the specifics. This post will show you the exact step-by-step process to create pins with viral potential, write keyword-rich pin descriptions, and promote them on Pinterest. Let’s get started!

To begin with, I’ll walk you through the steps to upload an affiliate pin. Then we’ll go over the process to create a pin and perform keyword research. 

I created this affiliate pin to promote my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course, Pin To Profits: Affiliate Marketing. I used Canva Pro to make the pin. In the following section, I’ll show you how I uploaded this pin to Pinterest.

How to upload an affiliate pin on Pinterest

So you have your eye-catching affiliate pin ready to go. Next, log in to your Pinterest business account and do the following. Follow along as I show the exact steps on my brand new Pinterest account.

Step 1: Click the + symbol on the top right and then select pin.

Step 2: Upload the pin you’ve created to promote the affiliate product.

Sometimes the product creator will give you a pre-made affiliate pin. You can use that as well, but make sure you use multiple pins (at least 3 different pins) to promote any affiliate product. You want to make sure you appeal to different audiences.

Step 3: Copy and paste your original affiliate link into the website section.

Note that it’s against Pinterest’s policy to use, Pretty Link, or any other link shortener. You should always copy and paste the original affiliate link you received from the merchant or affiliate program.

Step 4: Write a detailed description of the pin, focusing on 2-3 relevant keywords.

One keyword will be your main target keyword and the other(s) will be supporting keywords. You want to make sure your main target keyword appears in your pin title and pin description. That means you’ve optimized your pin to rank highly for that keyword. As a result, Pinterest is more likely to show your pin to someone who searches for the keyword. As you can see, Pinterest is a lot like Google. It wants to deliver fresh, relevant content to users. You can help the Pinterest algorithm do that by telling it exactly what your pin is about using keywords. That’s why Pinterest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important.  

This is what my uploaded pin looks like before I save it to a board:

Step 5: Save your affiliate pins to the most relevant, well-keyworded board.

This is crucial! Do NOT save your affiliate pins, or any pins for that matter, to generic, all-niche boards. You’d confuse Pinterest. When you share a new pin, the Pinterest algorithm goes to work to figure out what that pin is about. It determines this based on the image, the keywords used in the title and description, and the boards where the pin is saved. If you save your pin to a general board, you are missing an opportunity to signal to Pinterest what your pin is about. If Pinterest can’t tell what your pin is about, it won’t index the pin properly and users won’t be able to find it.

I saved my affiliate pin to a board called Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest, which is exactly what the pin is about. You only need to save your pin once for Pinterest to show it on search results and on users’ smart feeds. This is coming straight from the Pinterest team. The key is to make sure that the board you save that pin to is super relevant. That means it contains keywords in the title and description that reflect the topic of your pin.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of how Pinterest SEO and the Pinterest algorithm works, there’s no better course than Pinteresting Strategies. It’s the course that helped me master the Pinterest algorithm and better optimize my pins for clicks.  

You may also like: How To Do Affiliate Marketing without a Blog: Expert Interview.

The importance of choosing the right boards

To drive home the importance of Pinterest SEO, I’ll share another example. Let’s say I save the affiliate pin above to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic.

How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting only to relevant boards.

Don’t forget to post your affiliate pins to your own personal boards. When I share my affiliate pins, I start with my own relevant boards because they’re better optimized for SEO than my group boards. I carefully write my board descriptions to optimize them for keywords. Technically speaking, you don’t even need to share pins to group boards if you have well-optimized personal boards with high repin rates. The advantage of group boards is that they help you expand your reach.

How to disclose affiliate links on Pinterest

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you must disclose that you’re an affiliate anytime you promote affiliate products. Why? It’s to protect consumers from being misled. If they know you’re getting paid, they can make a more informed decision about whether to buy a product. Let’s say someone recommends you buy a DJI Mavic Pro drone, raving about all the amazing features. You’re immediately interested. Then you learn that the recommender is a brand ambassador and affiliate for DJI. Wouldn’t that make scrutinize what they said?  Maybe do more research? That’s the point of disclosures.

Notice how I disclose that this post contains affiliate links at the top? For affiliate pins, you can add one of the following hashtags at the end of the pin description.

  • “#affiliatelink”
  • “#sponsored”
  •  #ad

Disclosing affiliate links is mandatory. If you don’t do it, the FTC could fine you. I haven’t yet heard cases of people getting fined, but don’t take any chances. Just follow the rules.

Below you’ll see that I included #ad in the affiliate link I uploaded. I use #ad nowadays to remove any ambiguity about what my pin is. If a pin leads people to a sales page, its an ad.

Can You Use Amazon Affiliate Links on Pinterest?

Amazon can’t seem to give a straight answer about whether we can post its affiliate links on Pinterest. To be safe, I don’t post any Amazon links directly on Pinterest. What I do instead is share a pin leading to blog posts and pages that contain Amazon products. 

How To Create Affiliate Pins That Get Clicks

My favorite affiliate marketing course, Pin to Profits – Affiliate Marketing, goes into detail about design elements that make an affiliate pin click-worthy. Unfortunately, I can’t share that here because it’s copyrighted material. But I can give you some pointers. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Create long and vertical pins.

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s worth reiterating. I still see square pins all the time on Pinterest. With affiliate pins, I make my pins longer than usual so that they stand out. My pins are typically somewhere between 735 x 1250 and 735 x 1400. I also experiment with smaller pins (600 x 900), and they do well too. There is no set rule for the exact dimensions your pins should be. Just make sure they are vertical. I use both PicMonkey and Canva to create my pins. PicMonkey has an edge over Canva in terms of features. 

Make it immediately clear what problem you’re solving

Your title should tell Pinterest users exactly what problem your product will solve. It should be specific and something specific like “How To Quickly Lose Belly Fat” or “The Only Affiliate Marketing Course You’ll Ever Need.”Ideally, you want to create a variety of different pins with different titles to promote the same product. One effective strategy is to frame the title in terms of your own results. This naturally piques people’s curiosity because they want to know how you achieved those results. For instance, you can create another pin for the affiliate marketing course that says “How I Doubled My Affiliate Income in 3 Months.”

Use warm colors, such as orange and red

A Pinterest study that examined 500k pins found that pins with red/orange as the dominant color were two times more likely to be repinned as those that were blue/green. With affiliate pins, I also find that bright purples and pinks do well.

Use fonts that are easy to read

With affiliate pins, I use both script fonts and cursive fonts. I tend to tell people to stay away from cursive fonts, but I make an exception with affiliate pins because they perform well. Before I post an affiliate pin, it goes through my ‘sister test.” It’s pretty simple – I just ask my sister, who wears glasses, whether she can read every single word.

Invest in paid stock photos

The quality of your photos can make or break your pin’s success. As new bloggers, we’re all cash-strapped, this is one area where you can’t be cheap. Don’t underestimate the power of professional quality images! I use Deposit Photos to source all my images for pins. If you’re already using Canva to make your pins, you can also upgrade to Canva Pro to access 400,000 premium photos for free. Typically, I’ll search for images like “feminine computer desk” or “workspace with flowers.”

How to research keywords for your affiliate pins

Besides your images, keywords are the other major make or break factor for your pins. Spend some time to identify 2-3 relevant keywords that people would use to search for the problem you’re solving. Focus on just one target keyword phrase that you absolutely want to rank for. Then add one or two other related keywords. To figure out what keywords to choose, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What would they search in order to find a solution to the problem your affiliate product solves?

Keyword research in action

Let’s take a look at a real-life example. I’ll show you how I did keyword research to promote my affiliate pin for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing course. The course teaches beginners how to make money on Pinterest using affiliate links. Before I put myself in my audience’s shoes, I make a note of the key information about the course that I need to convey.

  1. It’s about how to make money on Pinterest with affiliate marketing
  2. The lessons provide a step-by-step guide for beginners
  3. You can implement the strategies without a blog

What keywords are my target buyers searching for?

Now, I’ll put myself in my audience’s shoes, if I wanted to find out how to do affiliate marketing without a blog, what would I search for on Pinterest? I’d brainstorm potential keywords. This exercise is completely optional. I just do it to see how well the searches I come up with match Pinterest’s suggestions. 

  • Affiliate marketing no blog
  • Affiliate marketing without a blog
  • How to do affiliate marketing without a blog
  • Affiliate marketing on Pinterest
  • Affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog
  • How to make money on Pinterest
  • How to make money on Pinterest for beginners
  • Make money with affiliate marketing on Pinterest
  • How to make money on Pinterest without a blog
  • How to make money on Pinterest with affiliate marketing

Step 1: Start with a general search

You can skip the previous exercise and just to start with a general search. In this case, I would start by searching for ‘affiliate marketing.’ By doing so, Pinterest would show me the most searched keywords for affiliate marketing. As you can see below, the most searched keywords for affiliate marketing are:

  • Affiliate marketing without a blog
  • Affiliate marketing for beginners
  • Affiliate marketing on Pinterest

All these searches are 100% relevant to the course I’m promoting. Even before doing this search, I planned to include them in my pin description. Now, it’s just a matter of combining them to optimize my Pinterest SEO and still sound natural.

How to make money with affiliate links - Pinterest keyword search

Step 2: Narrow down the search using suggested keywords

Now, I look at the suggested keywords and pick 4-5 that are most relevant to the course. I’ll use them to create my target keyword. In this case, they would be:

  • Without a blog
  • For beginners
  • On Pinterest
  • Make money
  • Passive income

I click all the relevant suggestions to see what pins appear under them. Often times, you’ll find that there is a lot of overlap. I want my pins to appear under as many of these keywords as possible. At the same time, I don’t want to just stuff my pin description with every keyword. It still has to sound natural and make sense.

The tricky thing about keyword research is that there is no hard and fast rule. I can give you a general guideline, but you’ll need to spend time on Pinterest doing keyword research to get good at it. Choosing keywords is both an art and a science. After doing it over and over, it’ll become more intuitive.

How to make money on Pinterest with affiliate marketing - Pinterest keyword

Step 3: Put together your main target keyword

Based on my research, I chose ‘affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog’ as my main target keyword. This what they call a long-tail keyword, a phrase that conveys a specific idea. It’s important to use long-tail keywords because then you’ll be giving users exactly what they’re looking for. If you use just ‘affiliate marketing’ as your keyword, you’ll be competing against everyone on Pinterest who has ever written anything about affiliate marketing. Thanks to proper keyword research, the first and seventh pins in the search results below are my own.

How to make money on Pinterest - affiliate links results on Pinterest search

Step 4: Write your pin description

Write a description using your main target long-tail keyword and 2-3 related keywords from the search results. With a regular pin, your main target keyword should be in your blog post title. meta description, pin title, and pin description. Affiliate pins don’t have a blog post title or meta description so you just need to focus on the pin title and pin description. This below is my affiliate description. Notice how I weave the keywords into the description?

That’s how you make money on Pinterest with affiliate links. Uploading the pin is simple. However, getting clicks can be a challenge in the beginning. I was struggling with that until I took Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing. It goes over design tricks you can use on Canva or PicMonkey to entice people to click on your pins. You can learn more about the course in my interview with the creator, McKinzie Bean.

Helpful Pinterest Tools

PicMonkey – make professional-looking pins to promote your affiliate products. This design tool is for people who have some design experience. It gives you a great deal of control over the customization of your designs.

Canva Pro – I use this to make pins in addition to PicMonkey. It’s easier to use if you’re new to graphic design but isn’t as sophisticated as PicMonkey. It does come with 400,000 photos, which is 100 times more than PicMonkey. You can read my full review of Canva Pro for more details.

DepositPhotos – this is my go-to source for high-quality stock photos that I use in both blog posts and pins. The website has over 70 million stock photos, covering virtually every topic you can think of! Deposit Photos is one essential tool that has improved my blog’s appearance and skyrocketed my traffic. I can’t recommend it enough!

One more thing: if you found this post helpful, please share it!

Reader Interactions


    • sugwueze says

      Hi Charlene,

      I’m glad you liked the post and found it useful! I will be sharing more tips about using Pinterest to make money.

  1. Jennifer Dagi says

    Hi Somto, I just started getting really serious on Pinterest and
    I get about 200,000 monthly viewers on my profile but they never convert to blog page views. I’m going to invest in one of these Pinterest ebooks/courses to see what I’m doing wrong. I love your blog by the way!

    • sugwueze says

      Hi Jennifer,

      I had that experience as well. Getting high monthly page views doesn’t necessarily translate to more traffic. You also need to focus on the conversion rate of your pins. For each pin, divide the number of clicks by the number of close ups. That gives you the conversation rate. You want that number to be at least 50%. Make a note of the pins that have the highest conversation rates and see what design elements they have in common. They create more pins like them. Hope that helps.

  2. Erlyn Dianga says

    I love this post. I am searching on how affliate marketing strategies and in this post I learned a lot.
    God bless!

  3. frances rooks says

    Wonderful site! How do I know if I did my PINS correctly with my amazon affiliate code? If someone clicks my pin and goes to Amazon do I get credit if they purchase?
    Could you check my PINS and see if I did them right?
    Fran on pinterest
    Not very computer literate but learning.

    • sugwueze says

      Hi Frances,

      Thanks for reaching out. First, Amazon has strict rules about where you can share their links. You can’t share direct links on social media, but you can link to a post/landing page that contains the link. Yes, if someone clicks your link and makes a purchase, you get a commission. If you’d like to get one on one Pinterest help, you can check out my Pinterest audit and optimization service:
      Hope this helps!

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