How to target ads on instagram

What is Instagram in 2021? One of the social networks? A good platform for advertising and promotion? No, in 2021 it is one of the best tools for affiliate marketing, which is second only to the most powerful grandees. And even then, not always. And in the price range, it even wins, allowing you to save your budget compared to FB and even many advertising networks.

We have been closely monitoring this platform since 2013, noting constant growth. And now, when Instagram is really on the first lines of the popularity pedestal, we decided to take it seriously. And to introduce it to all our participants who have not yet started using it. And those affiliates who have been working with Instagram for a long time will find a lot of useful things in the review. After all, today we will talk in depth and in detail about targeting on Instagram ads.

Instagram as the top advertising platform in 2021

 Is the main page of Instagram
Is the main page of Instagram

We will not be unfounded. Let’s go straight to specific figures:

  • 1 billion active users. That’s a lot, really a lot. Yes, the best advertising networks show this result. But this is a combined hodgepodge from a variety of sites that are not united by common interests, are not ready for a single standard advertising, as in this social network. Yes, FB even wins in the audience. But in quantity, not the fact that in quality. And in the price of a click, it loses completely. Therefore, the audience here is quite enough for the narrowest targeting. There is no need to be afraid that very few people will fit the specified criteria, and the channel will not create a traffic flow of the desired level;
  • 75% of users made an advertising transition to external resources. This information tells us that the participants of the social network are ready for advertising, are open to new offers, want and can perceive information;
  • $18.6 billion is the advertising turnover for the current unfinished 2021 year. The numbers are simply huge. Especially when you consider that since 2018, revenue has tripled. This is a demonstration of the constant growth of the segment. Therefore, today it is simply profitable to learn targeting on Instagram. The platform is gaining more and more new layers of popularity. And one day every arbitrageur will try to work with it (as it was with FB). And the one who starts earlier will become a professional and an expert in the features of the site faster;
  • 4 million companies successfully implement the AC through banal stories. And since the total number of projects is only growing, this option turned out to be insanely effective;
  • 90% of all participants of the social network are subscribed to at least one purely advertising account. Accordingly, 90% of all active users are your potential traffic;
  • 55% of all users on Instagram are people aged 18 to 29. The youngest audience is open to new chips, goods and services, in principle, to a new experience. And this is the key target audience for a good half of all offers of the average arbitrageur. And in addition, 28% are users from 30 to 49 years old. That is, the most solvent audience. What do we get? 83% of the entire billion-dollar audience is a mix of the most interested and the most solvent audience;
  • $0.8 – rage CPC for the current period of 2021. Yes, of course, this is not a result for purely TIER 1 or for popular topics. With competition, the cost will easily grow to $3, and to $5, and even to $10. But for comparison, FB is still frozen at $1.6 – the average CPC. The difference is two times.
Data on the value of the Instagram sector in U.S. со Statista
Data on the value of the Instagram sector in U.S. со Statista

Instagram, FB and Ad Manager

And if this has not convinced you yet, then it is worth adding that targeting in Instagram is completely built on the model of a similar tool in FB. Even the specific utility used is the same. Accordingly, FB transferred all the accumulated experience in functionality, all the methods of selecting relevant traffic, targeting by narrow parameters to Instagram. And do not remind me that FB, in principle, has one of the best targeting in the world. Inferior, perhaps, to the maestro Google – here it could be an alternative to FB.

Ad Manager itself has a lot of useful features. It allows you not only to create and narrowly target your advertising campaign, but also to actively track it using the mobile application of the same name. Which simplifies the further management and optimization of the AC after its creation.

In fact, FB created Instagram, it is a subsidiary. But the purpose of this decision was obvious. All the audience that FB itself could not attract, he decided to interest with the help of an additional social network. Her visual orientation, blogging approach and human-brand methodology helped to interest young people. But suddenly it turned out that all millennials are actively moving to Instagram. As a result, all the cream slowly settles there.

Why do we need deep targeting

«Well», – tell you: «Targeting on Instagram is really extensive, deep and allows you to target almost a specific group of people numbering barely a couple of hundred. So what? Why do you need to narrow down the search so much, lose 90% of traffic in pursuit of ghostly optimization?».

Oh, no. Narrow targeting is one of the most key components of a successful advertising campaign. The only thing that can and should limit the narrowing of the traffic filter is the advertising budget. As you know, with general equals, the narrower the search, the smaller the audience. This means that the competition is growing. You can no longer give potential leads to more “generous on click” competitors. You will have to fight for them. Therefore, the rate per click is growing.

But the search for a competent balance between the cost of traffic and the exhaust from it is the work of an arbitrageur. And the ability to find the “golden mean”, what distinguishes a good pro from a mediocre one. However, we all understand that the basis is a banal analysis.

The scheme is simple. The test and monitoring allows you to identify the CTR, the conversion rate. Multiplying the specific exhaust from the leads by the rewards of the offer, we will get income. Having calculated the budget for traffic consumption. The latter should be lower than the first, as Adam Smith bequeathed. The scheme is simplified, but the message is clear.

So, why target deeply? The fact is that narrowing the audience always increases the conversion rate. But it does not always give a narrowed CTR. It works simply. Beautiful and visual advertising can attract many people to your offer. Traffic will go in a shaft if you are a master in creatives. At the same time, further work falls on the landing page of the offer itself. And even if it is also perfect, it will attract only those who are really interested in this offer. With rare exceptions, when the landing page is really good. But this is within the margin of error, half a percent. By the way, to increase the conversion rate of a landing page is also possible, and we told you how.

As a result, we will drive a huge audience, pay for it, according to a conditional dollar. 10 thousand clicks – $10 thousand. And 100 leads. Maybe we’ll even pay off. But the point of the theory is that there is always a percentage of people who are more likely to be interested in offers than others. The target audience. And even if you think that it is the TA traffic that you are driving, there are always more or less relevant users. And if the most relevant users, 1 thousand people bring 50 leads, then the remaining 9 thousand – also 50. Do you catch the idea? If we filter out 1 relevant thousand from 10 thousand, we will get an exhaust of a conditional $5 thousand for a price of $1 thousand. And even if, due to additional targeting settings, we increase the cost of a click to the widow, and even the second, we will still win more.

Competent and narrow targeting will always allow you to earn more, save the budget from paying for empty traffic.
Yes, it is more expensive. But here every dollar invested will really go into business. Than shooting at flies with a shot, blurring the boundaries of targeting to the maximum.

Detailed targeting settings on Instagram

We are finally done with the theory. Now, let’s go and see how we can use all these narrow targeting opportunities on Instagram.

Targeting the main audience

Here we open Ad Manager, go to the creation and configuration of a new advertising campaign. And the first thing we need to do is choose a goal. Yes, this is a review on targeting, and not on working with Ad Manager. But we don’t jump straight to targeting, because the goal is a significant part of it. Choosing the wrong goal will lead to the fact that our ad will be shown to the wrong people who should see it. And also not at that moment, not through those resources. Therefore, you need to clearly define the goal. Reach, engagement, installing apps, watching videos, visiting stores, and so on. It is clear that in most of the offers it will be enough to choose a goal – traffic. Instagram perceives this choice as direct transitions to the target resource. But working on an e-com or on a product, it makes sense to choose – conversions (sales of goods), and in installations, installing applications is quite suitable.

Having understood the purpose, we move on to the first category of the audience on Instagram, which is called –  the main one. But before making specific settings, we ourselves must determine the target audience. Usually, the banal method of analyzing the sales funnel is used. That is, the division of the traffic path into sections, as well as an analysis of which sections are experiencing heavy losses. And which specific people are being cut off. Someone by age, someone by solvency, gender, GEO, and so on. Of course, this requires a previous test of the offer on any platform. If it was not, you can also conduct a test on Instagram. But it’s not too cheap, there are grids where the test will cost less.

Of course, the primary target audience can also be modeled manually. Analyze the offer, look at the advertiser’s statistics on leads, who most often becomes a buyer. But this is always just a guess. Until you personally work with the offer, all calculations will be ephemeral. Therefore, in the course of the work of the AC, it is almost always necessary to make edits.

But once we set the settings correctly, we can save them. And not only are they suitable for the designated offer, they can be used in the future for all standard offers from advertisers. As a result, after working with Instagram for a year, we will have a dozen or two dozen saved own audiences that are 100% worked out. And they are suitable for 90% of offers with minor modifications for full personalization. And further traffic arbitration in Instagram will be greatly simplified.

Well, we are moving on to the settings for the main target audience.

Social parameters and GEO

What does Instagram offer us:

  • Age. The age group is wide from 13 to 65 years. But remember what we said about the main audience of Instagram? If you sharpen the AC on people over 60 years old, you will get only 4% of the entire audience of the social network. Age groups are usually taken by a dozen years. 18-28, as an option. For narrower targeting, you can use a range of 5 years, 25-30. Already – there is simply no sense, you will lose too much audience, and the increase in relevance will be questionable. If this is not an offer aimed at people of a strict group, for example, 23-24 years old. But this, of course, is a huge rarity;
  • Gender. By the way, compared to previous years, the preponderance of the female audience in 2021 has decreased to a minimum of 2%. Therefore, this platform is suitable for any gender of traffic;
  • language. You may well leave the parameter blank. Instagram recommends this. Then, for the selected location, the language will be configured automatically based on the accepted language group at the location. But the ad text itself does not adapt. If you will translate it into several languages, then specify them all;
  • Demographic data. The most complete and important group of parameters. There is a setting of ethnic accessories, especially convenient if your offer is focused on a similar category. Status is a more general concept, but it affects the interests and the level of solvency. Relationships are a great option for setting up for dating offers. Free young people will be more relevant to them. And also, on the contrary, family men are more interested in goods for the home or for children. Political views are rarely used, but they can also be used in some offers. The place of residence is not a GEO parameter, here the traffic is divided into groups according to the factor of the living area in which a person lives. Your house, rent, apartment, and so on. Again, a user living in an apartment will be interested in small-sized furniture, and the owner of his house with a plot, garden goods. The position, again, often directly correlates with a person’s commodity interest;
  • GEO. A very detailed category. You can easily target both entire continents and small cities. And even areas within these cities. Plus, you can choose a region or another element of the municipal division. And also specify the postal code that will determine the location. What is noteworthy, Instagram allows you not only to simply choose the IP addresses of the location, but goes much further. You can specify both those who arrive in the selected zone, and those who officially live in it. As well as guests who are temporarily staying in it or even recently visited it, but are now located geographically in another place. And it is this parameter that will determine the cost of a click to a greater extent. The difference between traffic from a small Indian village and traffic from central London will be tens (if not hundreds) of times. But this parameter is still the most important one. Do not go on about the price tag, if you understand that people from TIER 1 will be interested in the offer, do not optimize targeting for TIER 3. Even if it is 100 times cheaper.
Demographic targeting
Demographic targeting
GEO targeting
GEO targeting

Interests and behavioral factor

Interests are the most pleasant parameter. After all, he directly says whether a participant of the social network Instagram will be interested in the offer or not. Food and drinks, sports, business, hobbies, and so on. It is immediately clear which offers a person will be more open to. It should not differ too much in this category. It will be enough to select 1-3 key interests. Otherwise, you will spread the targeting too much. Plus, the parameter makes people with suitable interests more relevant. But it does not completely exclude the rest from the search. Just with general equals, you will redeem the click of the user who corresponds to this line.

The behavioral factor is even more important. For example, among the category there is a group of people who want to move from their country. You can immediately sign them for offers from airlines, relocation services, real estate agents. And users of a certain brand of phone will be interested in a new brand model. Buying behavior will also tell you a lot, especially if your offer is from the e-com vertical. You can also target exclusively mobile traffic or send an offer to the B2B segment in this category.

Behavioral targeting
Behavioral targeting

Targeting an individual audience

The second method of targeting is much easier. It does not involve a deep analysis of the potential target audience for an advertising campaign. Instead, we use formed blanks. But where to get them from is a separate question.

The first and easiest way is to pour from the resource. That is, an external site. Usually this is a ready-made set of users who will favorably accept advertising of this nature, they are interested in it. After all, this is the topic that is revealed on the resource. But for this, as you might guess, you need an external site. A community on a social network is not suitable. And you will not be able to use someone else’s site. You need administrator access and an installed FB Pixel.

As a result, you can target ads not only to those people who, in principle, have ever visited the resource. Original orders have a much broader profile. You set a condition for them:

  • site visit during a certain time period;
  • visiting the site in any period, except for the selected one;
  • viewing a specific set of pages or a specific page;
  • performing actions on the target page.

And also there is an opportunity to create the conditions yourself. As a result of the variations, you will be able to target Instagram ads very subtly, choosing a very narrow layer. And competitive clicks on it are not the fact that they will be expensive.

Targeting for an individual audience
Targeting for an individual audience

In the same way, you can target the audience of your mobile app on Instagram. The principle is the same, but the variability of conditions is thinner. Plus, as it is already clear, you need to have an application. And if this is an advertiser’s application, then the meaning of targeting practically disappears, because users already have current leads. And arbitrageurs usually do not have their own applications, there is no special meaning, another sphere.

The third method is perhaps the most interesting. This is loading the generated list into Manager. Based on email addresses, IP addresses or phone numbers, almost any set of contact data will be suitable. And if you have already prepared similar lists from previous standard offers, then using them is the most logical and simple option. Yes, a small revision is necessary for individualization to meet the current requirements of the offer, but this is minimal work.

Loading the contacts file
Loading the contacts file

The last way is to target ads to users who have performed certain actions on the selected Instagram account. We watched the story for 5, 10, 30 seconds. We left a like under a specific photo or under several. They commented on the selected entries and so on. This way you can easily tune in to the desired group, if the theme of your account corresponds to the vertical of the offer.

Similar audience on Instagram

The next logical step is if you have created a list of an individual audience. Instagram will automatically select users who are somewhat similar to the participants of the list you selected. This is a great way not to go too far into the wilds of analysis. You just need to upload a list of contacts or target the site traffic. And then, you scale the target audience with the help of a similar audience. What do we get as a result? We don’t model the target audience ourselves, we take an example and use it to reach all the suitable people on Instagram.

Is this method suitable for working with saved packages of a general audience? Definitely not. The key feature is that each specific participant of the uploaded list does not always correspond to the targeting parameters of all the others. And we need to find the missing remainder of this “type of people” with the help of a similar audience. When working with the saved list of settings, we already identify EVERYONE who fits the specified parameters. Either you will not be able to scale the list, or it will give out an irrelevant audience.

We identify a purely target audience and exclude empty clicks

This is one of the most important points. As we remember, the more relevant traffic goes to the landing page, the more conversions are waiting for us. Even if you have to overpay for such traffic. But how to achieve this? Frankly speaking, there is no secret formula, or at least no one knows it. Therefore, first of all, you will need experience. 3-4 dozen campaigns where you personally set up targeting – and you will easily understand how to get rid of empty clicks that will never turn into leads.

But you need to gain experience correctly, following the basic rules. And they sound like this:

  1. Perform a preliminary analysis. Identify which groups of people are most relevant to the offer. Narrow the circle to the very minimum, until you run into a logical dead end. And now, using the exception method, return the selected parameters in the reverse order of their importance. That is, first, a parameter that weakly affects the result (for example, narrowing the age group from 30-40 to 35-37), then, strongly (as an option, the location of residence, a megapolis or a small city). As a result, you will have a list, the categories of which you will exclude, looking at the growth of the price-per-click growth. And as soon as it goes beyond the budget, you stop;
  2. Conduct an ongoing analysis. This is an even more significant moment. Remember, any affiliate is wrong. And no one can immediately pick up the perfect set of settings for targeting offhand. During the work of the advertising campaign, you will definitely see that some GEO, groups of different ages convert worse. That people with one type of interests are less likely to become home than users with another. And this is where the real work will begin. Systematically cut off those who will not become a house (empty clickers). And direct the released part of the budget to the competitive cpc of those groups that go the best. To buy out these users from competitors.

Analyzing the target audience on Instagram and splitting it into groups

The smaller the segment, the more useful it is for you. If you adjust all your potential target audience in Instagram to a solid gray mass – you lose the conversion. How? It’s very simple, you show people irrelevant ads.

In any Republic of Kazakhstan, you operate with several creatives, best of all, and several slogans, landing pages. Let it be different stories, different videos and posts. And then you will be able to make the slope of ads in the direction of one of the audiences. And the smaller you divide them, the more accurately you can tune in to each of them. Let 1 group make up the entire male part, the second – the female part. In each of them, you can select age categories, interests, GEO, and so on. And create dozens of small groups relevant to your advertising instead of one faceless target audience. But with its own specifics that you need to take into account when you select a creative.

We correlate the cost of a click and the quality of the audience

At this stage, a banal calculation is used. And it is based primarily on your budget. Let’s say you can spend $100 a day. And then you can easily redeem 50 clicks for $2. And tests have already shown that this category of people converts with a good percentage of 2 to 3%. Great, we have 1-2 leads a day. Everything seems to be going according to plan?

But if we potentially reduce the cost per click, losing the relevance of the audience, what percentage of conversion will we get in the end? For example, if you buy 100 clicks, and if 1000 clicks for the same price? The same question is with the increase, we can buy back a dozen clicks for $10, but what’s the point? After all, even if we reach 10-15% of the conversion, this is less than the potential clicks of $1 with 3% of the conversion.

Of course, everything is learned during the test. And this moment is no exception. But it is worth remembering the basic rule that says – the cost of a click should not be more than 1-3% of the budget. Otherwise, the error will be too strong. We won’t understand how well the expensive click works. After all, our sample will simply be too small. And some novice arbitrageurs who have only $10-20 daily often raise prices, targeting under TIER 1. What’s the point of that? No exhaust, no tests, or even a normal base for analysis, a couple of redeemed clicks daily will not give.

Excluding the pseudo-target audience

The targeting capabilities on Instagram are amazing. And many beginners, looking at this abundance of options, begin to use everything in a row. The more, the better. As a result, thinking that narrow targeting will pay off the increased cost per click, they begin to drain the budget. And the whole point is that they took for their target audience a segment of users that is just similar. He confused and misled them.

Let’s see who the pseudo-target audience is on Instagram:

  • people who have all the parameters that match, but the potential income level is not taken into account;
  • users who are already satisfied. That is, they have already hung up on one dating site, have already downloaded a new game and will only play it for the next couple of months, and so on;
  • people who have some ethnic characteristics that are not taken into account. For example, you are promoting a blondie-dating in Europe. But Italy and Portugal were not excluded. And in these countries, blondes are simply not particularly liked by the male half of the population, other tastes.

Optimizing the budget

Yes, it seems that this aspect is already loosely related to targeting. But in fact, the dependence is direct. After all, when determining the budget, we decide what depth of targeting is available to us, which GEO we can take into account, which clicks to fight for, and which ones to simply give up without a fight.

And for accurate targeting on Instagram, we will need to determine three budget parameters:

  • The overall level of the budget. How much money will we spend for the entire period of draining;
  • Daily budget. It determines the potential cost of a click;
  • Using Smart systems. Remember that in any case, Smart will be slightly more expensive than a click that you debugged manually if you monitor 24/7. But otherwise, Smart will allow you not to buy clicks at a competitive price during periods of the day when there is no competition in principle. That is, you can save quite a lot.

Parsing in Instagram

Parser – this is a program that allows you to sort and select a specific audience on Instagram by specified target parameters. These options may include hashtags that users use, their level of activity, geographical location, events or phrases. And you can also simply focus on the competitor’s audience, collecting those who have already used the services of a similar offer. Or just subscribed to a news account on a similar topic.

In principle, parsing is a good method of forming lists for an individual audience. And after that, as we have already said, you can scale it with the help of a similar audience on Instagram. In fact, parsers give out a less accurate selection than the target of Instagram itself. This is obvious. But if you do not have a list downloaded from the site, and the external resource itself, too, then it is quite possible to use a parser. Of course, if you are not ready to conduct analytics and targeting on your own.

Parsing allows you to win a little in the cost of a click. Usually Instagram gives a slightly lower price tag from the list than for users found by direct targeting.

An example of targeting in Instagram

Now, for clarity, we will conduct a simplified and approximate targeting for a potential offer. As a suggestion, let’s turn to one of our popular offers – WILD TERRA.

Landing page of the Wild Terra offer
Landing page of the Wild Terra offer

So, what do we know. This is a gaming with an application for adult, but in fact it is a land, and the game itself is quite “clean”, so it fits into the Instagram rules without any problems. The reward for the offer is from $0.01-150. This spread is due to GEO. Plus, large rewards go for buying inside the system.

Any traffic is suitable, desktop and mobile, there is no daily limit. The target is strictly for 18+, social networks are allowed. That’s all we need to know.

Our sample settings:

  • age. Given the topic, our audience is mainly people from 18 to 35. But given the potential investments of the lead in the toy, we need solvent entities. Mode up to 23-35;
  • gender. As you know, now the absolute male dominance among the audience of the gaming industry is coming to naught. But before us is an MMORPG, and with an adult. Therefore, it is better to target only men. Yes, we will lose some clicks, but we will significantly reduce empty traffic;
  • language. We will go on TIER 1, so we are focusing on English;
  • GEO. The whole world is declared. But we immediately exclude cheap countries. The exhaust from them is literally less than a dollar from the lead. And Instagram is not a platform where you can take a lot. Traffic costs money here, unlike some PCs. Therefore, we leave the main countries of Europe, Australia, America and Canada. We cut out megacities from the search, they are more expensive, and people play them less. After all, the pace of life there is too high, people are focused on work and active entertainment;
  • demographic data and behavioral factor. We add all the interests related to the gaming industry and cyber sports. And given the RPG, we are also interested in categories related to fantasy.

Here are the basic settings of our targeting. Further edits are already based on the results of the tests of the first days.

A video about how targeting works in FB Ads

Professional recommendations for setting up targeting in Instagram

And traditionally, at the end of the guide, we present to your attention applied tips from professionals who have long mastered this platform.

  • more humor. People come to Instagram to have fun. And they are already used to content that contains humor in one way or another. Use this method to ingratiate yourself with a potential client;
  • make more creatives. The more, the better. Yes, according to the test results, some that do not work well will have to be excluded. But you will have a lot to choose from;
  • remember about hashtags. Instagram, like its users, greatly appreciates this method. And many visitors use them not for a tick, but for a real search;
  • choose your daily period. It will be illogical to submit information “for evening entertainment” in the middle of the day;
  • constantly refine the campaign. Even if it brings a normal income, the margin can always be increased. Analyze and make edits throughout the entire drain period;
  • don’t be afraid to compete. This is an environment where there are a lot of advertisers, but the demand is also very high. Therefore, even in an area with increased competition, you can find relatively inexpensive traffic;
  • do not use individual lists if you are not sure about them. If you have not personally selected and tested them yourself;
  • remember that if you are pouring individual traffic from an external site or from a contact list, this traffic should be hot, but not sated. Otherwise, you will pour people on the offer who have already become someone’s leads in a similar offer. Naturally, they are not interested. Check the source, it should be thematically similar, but in no case similar, interchangeable.

Otherwise, try it. Instagram is a platform that in 2021 will be able to bring a huge income. If you can harness its capabilities.

Author: LeadBit Team
A team of experienced marketers, traffic, advertising, conversion specialists with more than 10 years of practical experience in the marketing world ...

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