Instagram Ads Targeting Ultimate Guide

Instagram Ads Targeting
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I assume you are reading this because you are thinking of using Instagram to market your business.

There is no doubt that Instagram is a powerful platform for promoting your business. The huge popularity of the platform is backed by the outstanding figures that have been reported by the company, such as the statistics that revealed that 100 million active users share 60 million photos daily, just wow! Right?.

However, despite all the hype, there is still a great deal of work to be done at the stage of deciding on Instagram ads targeting for your business.

The secret sauce to advertishttps://adstargets.coming on Instagram is to look at the ad platform as an opportunity to connect to your audience and where they spend time most.

The best way to get started is to choose a targeting option, then do your research on what interests the people in that target group.

If you serve a target market that skews females, then you have to create ads that take advantage of the visual storytelling opportunities Instagram provides. Instagram ads are great when you shoot them at the right people.

In this article, I will put you through all the Instagram ad targeting options to ready you for a successful Instagram marketing campaign.

Instagram Ads Targeting Options

#1. Instagram Saved Audiences

When you first start advertising to the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) prospects on Instagram, you might not have enough data to work with.

Naturally, these potential are new to your brand, so they haven’t visited your site, watched your videos, or sent your Instagram page a direct message yet.

Rather, your brand’s buyer persona is a good place to start. You can leverage these attributes to create a saved audience, which can target these types of parameters:

#1. Location

#2. Age

#3. Gender

#4. Language

Saved audiences can also target a list of behaviors, professional associations, interests, and other factors. For instance, your business-to-business (B2B) brand could target small businesses or employees of a particular facility. Likewise, your business-to-consumer (B2C) brand could target homeowners or residents in your service location.

While you can use saved audiences with any Instagram advertising objective, they are a great fit for Reach campaigns.

By combining this audience with this ad objective, you can connect with as many TOFU customers as possible.

As you guide them through your Instagram sales funnel, you can transform them into even more useful audiences.

#1. Instagram saved audience: Location

Location targeting is very vital when launching a campaign. You might only be able to sell in specific places which makes using this feature necessary to create the right saved audience.

You can target locations based on the following standards:

#1. Country

#2. State/Region

#3. Counties

#4. Designated Market Area (DMA)

#5. City

#6. Postal Code

#7. Specific Address Radius

All you have to do is start typing the location you wish to target in the text box and Instagram will bring up the relevant info it finds from its database.

For example, you can start typing “United” and you will see a bunch of options including “United States”, etc.

#2. Instagram saved audience: Demographics

You can choose which age, language, gender, and demographics your saved audience should cover. If you have that insight based on your past customer’s data, it’s a good place to begin.

Regarding age, you can target people from 14+ to 65+. I always recommend making decisions based on data, meaning that if you don’t know your target audience’s age then you should go wide at first.

Furthermore, you have to be extremely careful with audiences younger than 18 because Facebook has more strict rules around what you can and can’t advertise on the platform.

You can also target gender which doesn’t have more options than male, female, or all. You can create a campaign for men and another for women. Personalized Instagram ads based on the targeting, generally perform better.

Furthermore, you can target audiences based on language. People must read and understand the language in which you write your ads.

Finally, you can target people based on demographic information which covers education, life events, finances, parents, relationships, and work

#3. Instagram saved audience: Interests

Interest targeting with Instagram ads is the option most begin with when it comes to launching their marketing campaigns.

It lets you reach people who are interested in something very similar to what you offer.

If you sell soccer shoes, you could target interests such as soccer celebrities, soccer shoe companies, soccer clubs, and more.

There are two ways to choose interests, you can either browse in the pre-defined menu or start typing a word just like the location targeting and you will see many suggestions.

Here are a few categories:

#1. Business and industry

#2. Entertainment

#3. Family and relationships

#4. Fitness and wellness

#5. Food and drink

#6. Hobbies and activities

#7. Shopping and fashion

#8. Sports and outdoors

#9. Technology

When you start adding interests, you will see something awesome from Instagram. By clicking on suggestions, you will see a collection of related interests to the ones you already added. This helps in making this process much faster.

#4. Instagram saved audience: Behaviour

Behavior targeting is an interesting way of targeting an audience. For example, you can target people who have bought in the last 14 days from a Facebook ad or have traveled recently.

Most beginners do not concentrate on behavior-based targeting when starting their Instagram advertising campaign but it can be a great option to test new audiences along the way.

Instagram ads targeting

#2. Instagram Account-Based Custom Audience

A Custom Audience made from a customer list is that type of audience that you can create to connect with users who have shown an interest in your brand or product.

It’s made of information called “identifiers” that you have collected about your customers (such as email address, street address, and phone number) and provided to Meta. Use, Meta hashes for this information.

Then, you use a process called matching to match the hashed information with Meta technologies profiles so that you can advertise to your customers on Instagram, Facebook, and Meta Audience Network.

The more data you can provide, the better the match rate. Meta doesn’t learn any new identifying data about your customers.

Note that there are many different Instagram custom audiences, here are the most important and common ones with their most-used features.

#1. Your sources: website, app activity, customer list, and offline activity.

#2. Facebook sources: video, lead form, Instagram business profile, events, instant experience, Facebook page.

#1. Custom Audiences based on your website

This type of Instagram custom audience is one of the most leveraged when it comes to setting up retargeting campaigns. Why? Someone visiting your site and taking an action is probably the highest form of intent you will find alone.

You will then have so many options when it comes to website custom audiences. You can first select the timeframe, in general, the more recent, the better your Instagram custom audience will perform in your campaign.

Another thing to keep in mind is having enough audience. If you have 10 visitors per day and create an audience with a timeframe of 5 days, your audience might be considered too small. I recommend an audience of at least 100, closer to 300.

#2. Custom Audiences based on a customer list

If you already have a list of customers in a CSV (comma-separated values) file with their emails such as an email list, it can be a good place to start.

All you have to do is choose a customer list when creating your custom audience and then you will be able to upload your CSV file.

The difficult part is setting up your CSV file correctly so that Facebook understands it. It’s not difficult per se, but it does take a little bit of time.

These audiences can be really powerful and effective because you can target your highest-value customers and request Facebook to find people similar to those highest-value customers.

#3. Custom Audience based on app activity

Those custom audiences are really good for Software as a service (SaaS) companies or mobile apps. You can create an audience of your top users, or your non-paid users to motivate them to become paid users. You can even target people who haven’t logged in to your app in a while.

There are so many audiences you can create around your app but first, you will need to pair your app with your Facebook ads account.

#3. Automatic Audience

This Instagram ads targeting option targets people who are similar to your followers based on demographics. It also targets people who have already engaged and have been interested in your organic content previously.

This option makes sense if you are trying to solidify users who have already shown an interest in your brand or product.

On the flip side, if your marketing goal is to catch the eyes of completely new users, this would not be the perfect option to achieve that goal.

#4. Lookalike Audiences

Advertising to saved and custom audiences offers plenty of high-value opportunities to brands. After all, the targeting parameters allow you to find people who match your buyer persona or retarget users who already know your brand.

But what if you want to reach more prospects with your Instagram ads?

Lookalike audiences are some of the most powerful audiences to target when it comes to customer acquisition on Instagram.

Instagram takes your chosen custom audience to create an audience of users similar to those inside your custom audience.


Instagram ads are a powerful way of digital advertising especially when you want the visuals to do the talking.

With an active community of more than 1 billion users, Instagram ads are likely to appeal to your target audience and draw massive leads into your funnel.

But this is achievable when your ads are targeted at those who need to see them. In this guide, I have walked you through all the Instagram ad targeting options out there, I hope this article helps you as you plan your next Instagram campaign.

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba has over 11 years of digital marketing and specifically focuses on paid advertising on social media and search engines. He loves tech and kin in learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He consults on digital marketing and growth hacking.

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