Instagram Revamps Ad Platform: New Formats, Richer Targeting, Easier Buying Geared for Direct Response

Post by Dan Malachowski, Marketing Director & Christine Hickey, Media Director

Instagram has announced a number of significant advertising updates, including:

  1. Direct Response-Oriented Ad Formats: Ads will now include calls-to-action including: sign-up, buy (“shop now”) and download apps (“install now”)


  2. Advanced Targeting Options: Instagram will now feature the same advanced targeting options as Facebook. Previously, advertisers were only able to target Instagram Ads by age and gender; now they can leverage Facebook demographics, interests and Custom Audiences.
  3. Easier Media Buying, Management and Measurement: Instagram Ads will soon be available through an Instagram Ads API, as well as the Facebook ad interface. Previously, Instagram Ads could only be purchased through a direct I/O with Instagram. This innovation will roll-out throughout the year, starting with opening the Instagram Ads API to select Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies. Facebook and Instagram Ads can now be jointly executed (with one I/O), managed and measured. Instagram spend minimums will also be lifted.


For years now, direct-response advertisers have been eager for more conversion-focused, measurable Instagram ad formats. One of the major trends in social advertising has been the evolution of social to a performance-based platform (see Twitter and Facebook “Buy Now” buttons, Twitter Click-to-Call, Pinterest Gift Feeds, Pinterest Ads, etc.). Advertisers will be excited that Instagram is joining this trend.

Furthermore, linking Facebook and Instagram (in terms of ad buying and targeting) makes it much easier for Facebook advertisers to extend ad campaigns to Instagram. Advertisers no longer have to work separately with the two platforms. This integration positions Instagram to more easily win advertising dollars, especially in direct-response.


The latest updates from Instagram pose exciting opportunities for advertisers, including:

  1. Cross-channel integration, measurement and planning:
    • Instagram can now be considered a performance based-channel, with comparable performance metrics to other advertising channels (return on investment, traffic, etc.)
    • While tracking is still limited, CRM can now be uploaded to Instagram to reach current customers and measure true impact of media through backend analysis
    • Media can run in the same account as Facebook, giving advertisers flexibility to easily shift budget between the two platforms based on performance
    • Frequency capping is now available across both Facebook and Instagram to ensure audiences aren’t over-saturated
  2. Branding and direct-response opportunities:
    • Brands will still be able to reserve I/O buys for key dates, with the added ability to use Instagram biddable buys for evergreen performance driving-initiatives
  3. Creative testing and actionable insights:
    • Brands can now better segment creative by audience and determine which creative is resonating with specific audiences
    • Gain more insights and feedback with Instagram users, who tend to like, click and comment more frequently than other social platform users
    • With less ad creative regulation from Instagram, brands should still use their strongest imagery for Instagram media to ensure posts procure incremental performance

For more information on Instagram Formats, Targeting and Buying, contact your Performics account team today.



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