Mastering Audience Targeting on Instagram

By Yvet, 24 July 2023

Instagram Ads

Not long ago, we explored six core advertising goals you can achieve with Instagram. Most of the responses we received circled around one pivotal aspect: Audience Targeting.

Now, we’re back to build on that foundation, delving deeper into the ways advertisers can fine-tune their Instagram campaigns to reach the right people at the right moment. Let’s get started!

1. Dialing Up the Core Audiences

Remember when we spoke about increasing brand awareness? One efficient way of achieving this is targeting through detailed targeting. By leveraging Instagram’s demographic, location, interest, and behaviour data, you can zone in on a potential market that perfectly aligns with your brand. Looking to reach millennials in New York who love gourmet coffee? Detailed targeting makes it possible! 

Always be careful to not go too specific too soon, keep it slightly broad in the first step of the funnel. For example if you think your perfect audience would be New York millennials drinking gourmet coffee, create a few groups to test with also including other age groups or related products/behaviour. It happens quite often that you discover another audience with a lot of potential when you keep an open mind. Typically you use detailed targeting to reach a broad audience in the first stage of the funnel, where you want to reach an audience that doesn’t know you yet. 

2. Reaching Out to Custom Audiences

Consider your established customers or those who have expressed interest in your products or services—these are your Custom Audiences. Imagine you are a clothing retailer and want to target users who visited your online store during a recent sale but didn’t make a purchase. By uploading this customer information to Instagram, you can tailor ads specifically for them, possibly turning window shoppers into loyal customers!

Custom audiences can be based on: ad engagement, video engagement, interactions with your organic social media, website visitors or even potential customers who added a few items to their cart but didn’t complete the check out, like in the example mentioned above. Custom audiences are a great way to retarget an interest expressed in your brand, stimulating website traffic or even sales.

Hoe je als online etalage shopper kan converteren tot een daadwerkelijke consument

3. Discovering Potential with Lookalike Audiences

In our last post, we discussed expanding market reach, and Lookalike Audiences could be the secret weapon for this goal. Once you’ve had success with your Custom Audience, Instagram can help you find a new demographic that shares similar characteristics with them. This way, you’ll be reaching new people likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your existing customers.

The better the source, the better the lookalikes. Therefore, it’s important to use the best quality audience possible. A lookalike audience based on a customer list is an audience with more potential than a lookalike audience based on video views. 

Het gemak van geautomatiseerde targeting

4. Embracing the Convenience of Automated Targeting

Perfect for those starting their Instagram advertising journey, Automated Targeting allows you to step back and let Instagram’s algorithms do the heavy lifting. It analyses your profile and past ad performance to identify users most likely to have an interest in your offering. It’s a quick and easy way to kickstart your Instagram marketing.

Nothing wrong with automated targeting, but please note it is the most efficient if you have an account with some advertising history so the algorithm has some data to use. However, because you let the algorithm do all the work for you, it is hard to deduct afterwards what kind of audience the success came from. Good to keep that in mind.

Perfecting Your Ad Targeting Strategy

Knowing these targeting options is just the first step. Let’s share some practical ways to take your Instagram ad targeting to the next level:

1. Test and Learn

Never shy away from experimenting with different audience settings and ad content. Keep refining your strategy based on the feedback and analytics.

2. Don’t Stick to One

Don’t limit yourself to a single type of audience. Mix and match Core, Custom, and Lookalike audiences to reach different user segments and maximise your brand visibility.

3. Stay Informed

As Instagram constantly evolves, keeping yourself updated with the latest algorithm changes and advertising features can make a world of difference.

4. Align with the User Journey

Match your targeting strategy with the user’s journey on the platform. Broad targeting might work well for brand awareness (top of the funnel), while a more specific targeting approach suits those in the consideration or decision stage.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to take your Instagram ad campaigns to the next level. Remember, targeting isn’t just about visibility—it’s about finding and engaging the right audience in the right place at the right time. If targeting strategies still feel very unclear and you don’t know where to start, or even if you feel like you do but still your ads aren’t working very well, we are here to help. Feel free to fill in the contact form below, or be welcome for a cup of coffee at one of our offices!

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