Marin Software's official blog

Everything You Need To Know About Instacart Advertising

Katie Sullivan Porter
|
September 6, 2022

Online grocery delivery has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic and retailers are fighting to secure their place in the online shopping world. Retail advertisers are eager to get in front of hungry customers at the moment of purchase and have discovered that Instacart is one of the best ways to do that. 

Since 2020, Instacart has experienced a 500% increase in order volume. To keep up with this escalating traffic volume and successfully reach customers, advertisers are quickly realizing that they need to spruce up their e-grocery advertising campaigns. 

In this guide, we’ll explain the basics of Instacart advertising and explore Instacart ad inventory and the different ad types to help you find out which is right for you. We’ll also look at various campaign structures and keyword strategies, your bidding options, and some advanced tactics for optimization. 

How To Determine If Instacart Advertising is Right for Your Brand

Instacart advertising is the perfect way to extend your brand’s presence into the digital world of e-grocery shopping. 

Instacart is designed to give shoppers what they want, when they want it. They can do so because they leverage a huge number of brick-and-mortar retailers. Instacart’s ability to help advertisers maximize brand reach and consumer awareness makes it a suitable option for brands of all sizes. 

With brands reporting very good ROAS, the platform’s advertising is destined to become even more crowded than it already is. Research shows that more than 45,000 stores participate on Instacart. 

The Basics of Instacart Advertising

Retailers can create “Featured Product ads” through Instacart’s grocery pick-up and delivery services. The purpose of the ads is to reach prospective buyers on Instacart who are using specific keywords while browsing. Featured Product ads are typically displayed in areas of high visibility across the platform and can appear in two different categories: Search or Non-Search Ads. 

  • Search Featured Ads or “Self-Serve” Ads

These ads appear in a shopper’s search results and are a powerful tool to help amplify your brand’s visibility. In fact, 40% of all clicks on search results are on the top 1 to 3 products that populate a results page. 

  • Non-Search Featured Ads

Unlike Feature Ads, Non-Search Ads pop up in various places on Instacart and are not restricted to specific search keywords. They commonly appear in one of four placements including the home page, your items, item details, or department. 

Campaign Structuring

Keywords and products on Instacart can be grouped in two different ways: 

  • Similarly-Priced Products

As its name indicates, this type of campaign structuring refers to grouping products together that fall into a particular price range. 

  • Like Products

These are products that share more than 70% of particular keywords. 

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Keyword Strategies

Understanding the differences that keywords can make will help you create effective Instacart ad campaigns.

  • Category Keywords

These keywords present a large opportunity for Instacart growth. Because Instacart has a low volume of advertisers, Cost Per Clicks will be lower than what you would get on Amazon. If shoppers purchase your item using these keywords, it’s likely that they will make repeat purchases via your item section. 

  • Branded Keywords

Typically, branded keywords have the highest ROAS and lowest CPC. However, when using branded keywords, it's wise to allocate only a small portion of your budget to them because you want to ensure that your ad spend remains incremental. 

  • Competitor Keywords

“Conquesting” or bidding and winning your competitors' keywords can be a tricky strategy. While your CPC for these keywords is always more than that for category keywords, it can be ineffective and costly, and can also result in low conversion rates. Competitor keywords are best suited for items that are frequently purchased since the lifetime value of a shopper can help offset the initial high cost of the bid. 

Bidding Options

With the platform’s second-price auctioning system, advertisers' Cost Per Click (CPC) will be $0.01 more than the next highest bidder whenever they win an auction. 

  • Keyword Override Bids

Specific keywords you want to target can be used when launching your campaign. To make sure you secure the most efficient bid price, you can make always-on optimizations yourself or by using a third-party service. 

  • Default CPC Bid

These bids can be used for non-keyword traffic or by Instacart for new keywords that were harvested automatically. 

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5 Advanced Tactics for Optimizing Instacart Ads

Instacart has revolutionized the way consumers buy groceries and it’s clear they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. To ensure your campaigns are successful, consider using these suggested tactics:

  1. Consistently Update Product Details and Images

It’s crucial to ensure that your product inventory and your UPCs are accurate. Plan carefully and make sure products are in stock—Instacart will not promote products that are not.

  1. Separate Campaigns

When setting up your campaigns, apply paid search best practices. Dividing your campaigns by sub-brand or product category will make them easier to manage and optimize. You can also take it one step further and separate them by product type at the Ad Group level.

  1. Take Advantage of Your Instacart Ad Team

Instacart’s ad teams provide outstanding customer service to committed customers, with your brand’s success in mind. By joining forces, you can improve your Instacart presence. You can also utilize the platform’s reporting features and deep insights to help you make more informed buying decisions. 

  1. Focus on Relevancy

Use keywords that are relevant to your campaign and pay close attention to default keywords that Instacart may have added automatically. Keywords that are indirectly related do not perform as well. 

  1. Monitor and Test Frequently

Consistent monitoring is key to a successful campaign. When the campaign begins, gather as much data as you can and prioritize your budget. Run tests so you can see what’s working and what’s not so you can reallocate your budget quickly. 

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MarinOne Can Optimize Your Instacart Ads

With advanced automated bidding solutions and our powerful reporting, MarinOne can optimize your Instacart ads. Our platform works seamlessly with Instacart’s platform so your bidding strategies perform at their peak on each retail marketplace. Read about this in more detail here

Want to significantly improve the performance of your campaigns? We’ve got you covered. We make it easy by building out campaigns for you automatically, alerting you when there are changes in performance, and proactively identifying opportunities for you so you can achieve top results. To get started, simply connect your Instacart account.

Don't have an Instacart account or want to learn more about how we can help? Reach out to us at info@marinsoftware.com and one of our account representatives will be in touch.

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