The power and influence of Instagram is growing more every year. With over a billion users, only Facebook and YouTube have more daily active users than this platform. Earlier this year, Facebook released research on the rising power of Instagram in relation to how consumers use Instagram to discover and research brands. One particular stat stood out to me: 83% of people surveyed stated they used Instagram to discover new products and services. That’s a much larger percentage than I expected. If that many Instagram users are out there using the platform to find new brands, then you have to make sure your ads are appearing in the right placements to help them find you. Here is where the Explore placement comes into play.
Instagram Ad’s New Explore Placement
A few months ago, Instagram announced this new placement. At the time, I kept looking for it in my Facebook Ads Manager but it wasn’t available to me yet. I knew it was rolling out over time so I just had to be patient. I just recently discovered that it’s now available in my accounts so it’s very likely that it’s also available in yours. If not, it will be soon.
What is the Explore Feed?
If you’re not familiar with the Explore feed in the Instagram app, it’s basically a feed that allows users to see pictures and videos linked to their own interests. You can scroll within the initial feed or select different categories at the top to peruse. To get there in the app, you just tap the magnifying glass icon in-between the home and post icons at the bottom of the screen. There are a variety of topics tabs at the top for you to also select to see images specifically related to those themes.
Explore Placement Specifics
Ads in this placement are only viewed after an image is tapped and you begin to scroll through the images within that theme. This means that ads are not displayed:
- On the initial Explore grid
- In the topic channels
- In the IGTV, Shopping, or Stories destinations
You also cannot test this placement by itself, but you must also include the Instagram Feed placement as well. You don’t have to include Instagram Stories, but you certainly can include all three. Right now, the placement is in “Opt-in” status only. That means if you select Automatic Placements, your ads will not appear in Explore unless you manually add it as a placement.
Ads can be a single image or a video.
Lastly, you can use all campaign objectives except for Product Catalog Sales.
Below are two examples of ads I encountered once I selected an image from my initial Explore grid. I had selected a food image, so you can see that they didn’t fit in with that theme. I did another test initially selecting a fall decor image and found ads for a journal and PBS program airing that night. I couldn’t find anything in the Facebook Ads Help Center that that specified if ads would or would not follow the theme of the image. Based on what I encountered, I’m assuming the ads are targeting me as the user regardless of the Explore image I select.
How to Add the Instagram Explore Placement
There are two ways you can add the placement in your ad sets in Ads Manager.
Add The Explore Placement in an Ad Set
In Facebook Ads Manager, navigate to a new ad set or to your desired ad set and click edit. Scroll down to the Placements section and you should see an option to select Instagram Explore underneath the Feeds section.
Add the Explore Placement via Bulk Edits
If you have several Ad Sets to which you’d like to add this placement, you can select the campaigns they are a part of, then navigate to the Ad Set section. Or, in the Ad Set tab, use filters to get to all the Ads Sets you’re looking for.
- Select all Ad Sets where you’d like to add the Explore placement.
- Navigate to Edit > Placement > Placements.
- Select all the Ad Sets You want to modify. Depending how many ad sets you have and how you have them named, to me, it’s just easier to be able to click the Select All option here. That’s why I had you sort them in as you need in the previous step.
- Go to Actions > Add Placement > Instagram > Explore.
- You know they have been added correctly when you see the ad sets have a green icon next to them.
- Click Publish.
Explore Placement Results
You can see the results by placement by selecting Breakdown > Placement.
My Explore placements haven’t been running for very long yet, but here are the results for all my Campaigns that have Traffic as the Campaign Setting. This particular client does not have a conversion goal to see conversion rates for the placement, but only CTRs and CPCs.
As you can see, there isn’t a lot of volume yet for the Explore Feed, no clicks, and that most of my client’s impressions go to the Stories placement. However, since the client is happy to also build Brand Awareness, we’re going to keep testing it for now.
You’ll have to test the Explore Placement for yourself to see how it might fit into your marketing strategy.
Have you already tested it? What were your initial results? Comment below to share!
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