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How do I target ads on Instagram?

Targeting ads on Instagram is not as difficult as it may seem. The best-case scenario from your efforts is you get hundreds of leads, substantially increase your sales and gain an astonishing amount of traffic to your website. Sounds great right? Well, let’s take a look at some of the steps to get there. 

Best to begin with the ad manager for Instagram. Important to note here for those who may not be aware, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Thus the ad manager you use for paid advertising is the same that you would use for the same purpose on Facebook.

There are plenty of great tools like Social Pilot out there that can aid in automating multiple platforms for ads. However, with the Facebook ad manager, you can post on both platforms with a few clicks. Here is an example of a typical start-up screen for when you want to create a new ad for either Instagram or Facebook.

Source: Facebook Ad Manager, Facebook for Business

Now seeing as the intention of this post is to extrapolate targeting ads on Instagram specifically, check out this link to see more info on other aspects of setting up your first ad using the ad manager.

Audience targeting options using the Ad Manager 

Once you have gained some education on how to use the ad manager, you will be faced with a step relating to targeting options, also known as the Audience subsection. This is where you would select specific metrics based on your pre-decided target audience. Here is a shortlist of some of your options:

  • Age 
  • Country / Region
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Behavior / Engagement
  • Partner Connections

By utilizing these metrics, you are optimizing your ad’s performance by reaching the right people at the right time. With support from an experienced social media marketer, they can support you in the pre-planning stages in addition to selecting the best targeting approach. Take a look at the image below, here we see an example of the audience selection options. 

Source: About Custom Audiences, Facebook for Business

Facebook has integrated a lot of automation in their ad manager. An example that can be used in your selection can be optimization for ad delivery. This where you allow Facebook to use their algorithms to uncover who your audience is and to serve ads to that audience based on the data they intake. This option is not recommended if you as the marketer are attempting to reach new audiences who may not be aware of your company yet. 

What are Lookalike Audiences?

One option that a lot of social media marketers use today is the lookalike audience. A lookalike audience is an option offered on the Facebook Ad Manager that uses their algorithms to identify people who are similar to your most valuable customers. This has become a great advantage for businesses looking to grow their audience and visibility on social media. 

In the process of selecting a lookalike audience, you then have to select a source audience. If you consider who are your most valuable customers, you must ask the question as to where they are following and engaging with your company. Thus in your source audience selection, you can tell the ad manager what source of leads is best to analyze and create a lookalike audience. By selecting this option, therein lies the opportunity to reach new customers who may already be searching for products and/or services that you offer. 

The downside may be that you have yet to build up one or multiple ways that have customers actively engaging with your online presence, such as likes, website visitors or followers on Instagram. Here are a couple of examples where lookalike audiences are recommended:

Example 1: 

  • If your goal is to increase your brand awareness, a custom lookalike audience based on your page likes is a good way to go. 

Example 2:

  • If your goal is to increase sales, then basing your custom lookalike audience on your website visitors is recommended.  

Example 3:

  • If your goal is to reach customers based on their search preferences, selecting a custom lookalike audience based on partner connections allows you to reach customers who are looking at companies in your industry. Ie. If you sell vehicles, you could aim your efforts at those actively searching for car loans.

Wrap up

While the topic of advertising on social media is a burgeoning industry, it can be explored in hundreds of ways. Tools like the Facebook Ad Manager for advertising on Instagram has become incredibly useful for self marketers and agencies all over the world. 

One piece of the puzzle that has to be found before setting off on this path is to establish goals. Blindly sending ads out based on emotional or personal preferences may only scratch the surface of what you could achieve. With goals in place, it can allow you to optimize your audience targeting based on real data. Good to keep in mind that marketings best friend is testing. If you are early in the game, most marketers recommend testing a few different custom audiences to identify which is more valuable, thus worth spending more time and money focusing your efforts on. 

If you’re interested in having an experienced team take the weight off with your social media marketing, reach out to our team to discuss your goals moving forward. Working with our team, we can help you reduce your cost, time, and effort in not only targeting ads on Instagram but much, much more.