Targeting: One More Reason Marketers Can’t Afford to Ignore Instagram Anymore

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Instagram has many upsides for brands evaluating on which autonomous marketing platforms (ie: social media, apps, etc.) they should place their advertising.

First, Instagram is one of the largest mobile ad platforms in the world, with more than 400 million monthly active users. In fact, it became the second-largest social network in the U.S. in 2014, according to eMarketer.

Second, the platform’s user base isn’t just large; it’s also highly engaged. Instagrammers have created a sense of community and they post 80 million pieces of content on average every single day, resulting in 3.5 billion likes daily.

This engagement is also fostered by the unique user experience of the platform itself. People on Instagram generally look at one piece of content at a time in the stream, so when a user is served an ad, they are a captive audience. This form of native advertising is superior to more traditional digital experiences that put ad units into standardized “banner” slots, or units that try to disguise themselves as publisher-created content.

Now let’s add one more reason why advertisers can’t afford to overlook Instagram when planning their campaigns: targeting, with the help of data from its parent company, Facebook. Facebook’s targeting options took years to develop and as such are some of the most robust and powerful in the social media world.

Being able to tap into all of Facebook’s existing targeting capabilities allows advertisers to mirror success quickly on Instagram. This is especially true for advertisers who have found that custom audience segments such as CRM audiences and Website Custom Audiences perform well for them on Facebook. Advertisers can easily leverage, and see success with these audiences on Instagram. Furthermore, creating lookalikes of these audiences will help advertisers scale messaging across Instagram without sacrificing the quality of the audience reached.

But instead of simply replicating audiences from Facebook on Instagram, marketers may find the most success by complementing Facebook and Instagram within a single campaign. Mercedes-Benz, for example, was able to increase its website visits by 54 percent by serving branding ads to the same people across Instagram and Facebook, in a paired campaign. By coupling branding ads on both Facebook and Instagram with Facebook direct response ads, the Mercedes-Benz campaign saw website visits jump an incredible 580 percent. By using the two platforms as complements, the auto brand was able to move consumers through the funnel from awareness to action.

You can read the full Mercedes-Benz case study here.

The idea of complementing Facebook with Instagram in a campaign may be new to you. So, here we’ve answered a few high-level questions about how you can reach Instagram ad viewers on Facebook:

How does remarketing Instagram users on Facebook work?

First you need to target your audience on Instagram with, let’s say, a video campaign. This can help build brand awareness and favorability. While the Instagram campaign is running, an audience of users who view the Instagram video ad will build and/or update.

Now that you have an “exposed” audience on Instagram, you can leverage the group for a follow-on Facebook campaign. This will allow you to extract additional value from your highly engaged viewers further down the purchase funnel by continuing the conversation across both platforms with more traditional direct response ad units.

What can you measure in a remarketing campaign?

Measurement in a remarketing campaign doesn’t differ so much from running campaigns on Facebook and Instagram separately.

For branding ads, you will get brand metrics such as ad recall and message awareness. For direct response ads, you will see conversion lift and ROI.

What should I remember if I want my remarketing campaign to be successful?

First, you should remember to run your Instagram and Facebook ads simultaneously. Although it will take some time to build video retargeting audiences, it is advantageous to run content on both platforms throughout the flight. As you progress through your campaign these highly qualified targets will help drive further engagement or conversion. Brands such as Mercedes-Benz have experienced huge increases in website traffic when their audience has seen branded ads across both platforms during the same period.

Second, make sure that you include mobile delivery across all of your Facebook campaigns. Instagram is a mobile app with highly engaged users and there is a strong likelihood that your audience on Instagram is visiting Facebook on their mobile device as well.

Paul Gambardella is the manager of media operations at Instagram Partner Adaptly.

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