Instagram Ads Funnel – Instagram Ads Strategy for E-commerce

Instagram Ads funnel is one of the most powerful e-commerce strategies that can help you generate more sales and scale your online shop fast, at a huge ROI.
Instagram Ads funnel is one of the most powerful e-commerce strategies that can help you generate more sales and scale your online shop fast, at a huge ROI.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Instagram Ads funnel is one of the most powerful e-commerce strategies that can help you generate more sales and scale your online shop fast, at a huge ROI.

With Instagram, you can reach a massive audience of engaged users that you can quickly inspire into a purchase with visual content. This makes it a perfect advertising platform for e-commerce businesses.

But there’s a caveat – most people don’t buy from strangers!

You can’t expect to get many sales by serving just a single ad to cold audiences that have never heard of you before. These people may still want to buy from you, just not right after your first ad.

That’s why you need an Instagram Ads funnel that will guide users through the customer journey, from unaware to purchase. This strategy will help introduce your online store to new prospects, get them in the shopping mood and help make sales with irresistible offers.

In this guide, you’ll learn how the Instagram Ads funnel works, why you need it and how to set up a perfect Instagram Ads funnel for your e-commerce.

TL; DR: If you want to jump straight to building a perfect Instagram Ads funnel, you can click here. Otherwise, let’s go over what is an Instagram Ads funnel and why you need one.

What is an Instagram Ads funnel

An Instagram Ads funnel is a series of ad campaigns designed to take prospects along the buyer’s journey, from complete strangers to engaged shoppers, all the way to paying customers.

The power of an Instagram Ads funnel lies in the ability to reach the right users with the right ad messaging and promotion at the right moment.

It’s a strategy designed to attract new users into your funnel and serve relevant ads at each stage leading to more customers and sales.
The Instagram Ads funnel consists of three main stages:

  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU) – Awareness stage
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) – Consideration stage
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) – Conversion/Purchase stage

instagram ads funnel with three stages: TOFU - attract strangers and turn them into prospects, MOFU - turn prospects into active shoppers, BOFU - convert shoppers into paying customers

The Instagram Ads funnel allows you to target users with personalized messaging and offers at all stages of the customer journey:

  • Strangers (cold audience) – People unaware of your online store and your products
  • Prospects (temperate audience) – Users that engage with your ads and website
  • Leads (warm audience) – Highly interested users that share contact information
  • Shoppers (hot audience) – Online store visitors looking to buy your products
  • Customers – Those that make a purchase on your e-commerce store

At the Top of the Funnel (TOFU), you have cold audiences consisting of people that don’t know anything about your e-commerce and have never been to your site before. Attract these new audiences into your funnel and get them interested with engaging content.

As they progressively learn more about you and your products through Instagram Ads, they enter the Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) where they visit your online shop, look around your products and even submit their lead information.

Finally, those that reach the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) are very likely to buy. They’ve shown a strong interest in your products and expressed a purchase intent. Use Instagram Ads to present irresistible offers to make these shoppers pull out their cards and start buying.

Users automatically move through your funnel based on how they interact with your ads, Instagram profile, as well as your website and specific pages.

Much like Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads, Instagram allows you to build a full-funnel strategy on a single advertising platform.

Let’s quickly go over why Instagram is a perfect platform for e-commerce…


Why Instagram is perfect for e-commerce

Over the past few years, customer behaviour has shifted significantly towards Instagram. It has become the go-to platform for shoppers to discover new products. In fact, 60% of users seek out and discover new products on Instagram.

And with a whopping audience of 500+ million active users each day, it’s surely the right place to promote your e-commerce.

What’s more, Instagram users are 70% more likely to shop online using mobile phones. This puts you in a unique position to increase sales across mobile devices that are dominating the internet nowadays.

Instagram users also tend to spend more, an average of $65 per order.

The cost for Instagram ads hovers between $0.70 to $1.00 per click on average. However, this depends on location, targeting, placements and how you configure your funnel.

Instagram’s also highly effective at driving impulse purchases, from lipsticks to interior decoration and even food. E-commerce brands benefit from the visual platform that can quickly inspire shoppers to enter the buying mode.

example: greenchef

You can reach highly targeted shoppers based on their demographics and interests but also based on their life events and even shopping behaviour.

Ads demographics

Unfortunately, most users won’t buy from your e-commerce after just one Instagram ad.


Why most people won’t buy after just one ad

People don’t buy from strangers!

Think about it. When was the last time you saw an ad on Instagram from an e-commerce store you’ve never heard of before and said: “I’m going to buy this right now!”

Without ever interacting with the brand or its content, you click on the ad, go to the website and buy a $100 product.

Not likely, right?!

The same goes for 98% of the people.

Shoppers need to understand who you are, what you offer, how much it costs, and also make a buying decision. It’s really hard to do all that with just one ad.

It’s the same way you would first introduce yourself, then date for a while before getting married.

Most people won’t respond to one-night stands.

It may work on Tinder but not for advertising your e-commerce on Instagram.


A big mistake many advertisers make is trying to go straight for the sale.

Since you’re promoting an e-commerce store, it may seem intuitive to pick the Conversion or Catalog Sales objective. However, that’s not going to work for cold audiences.

The Instagram algorithm will struggle to find users that would convert and buy so early in the funnel. It’s also going to be very competitive and very expensive to reach those users. And furthermore, they won’t be worth the money yet, since the likelihood of them buying is very low.

That’s why an Instagram Ads funnel is designed to introduce your e-commerce and gradually warm up audiences until they’re ready to buy. This maximizes the results you get from each stage, making advertising highly profitable.

Ok, now that you know how it works and why you need it, let me show you how to create a perfect Instagram Ads funnel for your online store.


How to design a perfect Instagram Ads funnel for E-commerce

Building a perfect Instagram Ads funnel is the process of mapping out and configuring ad campaigns for each step of the customer journey.

Critical factors to your Instagram funnel success are:

  • Choosing the right campaign objective
  • Targeting the best audiences
  • Using the optimal ad type
  • Offering promotions that resonate at each stage

They all contribute to running your Instagram campaigns as effectively, efficiently and profitably as possible. In this guide, you’ll learn how to correctly set up each of these four elements.

Let’s get started with the TOFU campaigns…

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Stage 1: TOFU – Find and attract prospects on Instagram

The main goal of your TOFU campaigns is to attract new, cold audiences and get them to notice and interact with your e-commerce brand. These interactions can be engagement with ads and your Instagram profile, as well as initial visits to your online store.

It’s crucial to consider that the aim is not to drive conversions or sales, or anything else that requires big commitment or payment.

Cold audiences don’t know anything about your e-commerce or what you sell. So, most likely they won’t respond to ads that push sales.

Since TOFU campaigns won’t generate revenue directly, you want to buy cheap audiences to fill the top of your Instagram funnel and your remarketing list.

And you can reach these low-cost audiences by setting the right targeting and campaign objective, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Also, consider that most users on Instagram aren’t actively searching for products. Instead, they’re browsing memes and looking at pictures of their friends or peeking into the lives of celebrities.
example: Cristiano Ronaldo

Instagram users are looking to get inspired.

So, use engaging ads to stop them from scrolling away. Introduce your e-commerce brand and products and build a database of potential customers that you can retarget in later stages of the funnel.

Create scroll-stopping ads that highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) and the benefits of your products in a fun and interactive way.

example: tailored athlete video ad

If you have a solid Instagram following, you can also look for posts with a lot of organic engagement and turn them into your TOFU ads.
Instagram Interactions

Eliminate the guesswork by strategically choosing your ad creative based on organic engagement to make a perfect ad that’s proven to grab attention.


a) Best Instagram Ads campaign objective for TOFU

Your Instagram Ads campaign objective determines what action you want users to take after seeing your ads. That’s the result that Instagram (Facebook) optimizes your campaigns for.

The best Top of the Funnel Instagram Ads campaign objectives are:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Video Views
  • Traffic

Instagram/Facebook objectives for TOFU

Choosing a campaign objective basically means you say: “find me Instagram users that will perform this action.”

If you set a correct objective for each stage, it’s going to be easy to find users that take the action, helping you fill the funnel with more people.

Once your ads start getting results, Instagram (Facebook) will see your ads as relevant and reward you with a lower ad cost. A win-win!

Now, since cold audiences don’t know pretty much anything about your e-commerce you can’t really expect them to convert on high-commitment asks like email signups or purchases.

That’s why you should focus on micro conversions that indicate that a user is interested.

This could be liking or sharing your Instagram ads, watching more of your video ads or interacting with your profile and posts.

The Traffic goal is also one of the most commonly used objectives. It’s optimized to send users to a specific page of your choice. This will typically be your e-commerce homepage, a designated landing page or a product page.

Optimization and spending controls

Since it only tries to drive e-commerce visits, which is not a huge ask, it can work well for TOFU as well as other stages of the funnel.

Before you commit all your TOFU campaigns to this objective, be sure to test if it delivers good results for your target audience.

Remember that the main goal is to raise awareness of your e-commerce and products, and attract new users into your funnel.

No matter how small or insignificant these objectives seem to your bottom line, they will help you build a database of potential customers for retargeting in the later stages.


b) Instagram audience targeting for the Awareness stage

Since you’re aiming to attract completely new prospects and raise awareness, start by targeting broad audiences based on your ideal customer profile. Think about what kind of people would be interested in your products. Use the following two audience types:

  • Core Audiences
  • Lookalike Audience

Use Core Audiences to target users based on demographics, interests, behaviour and life events.

For example, if you’re selling baby and kid products, you can target users between the 20-45 that have toddlers, preschoolers or newborn babies.
Instagram/Facebook audience creator

If you’re not sure which characteristics to target, plug in what you already know about your audience in the Audience Insights tool to identify the best targeting opportunities.

Facebook Business Manager demographics

It’s a free tool by Facebook that allows you to get valuable insights about audiences on Facebook and Instagram, including demographics, what pages they like, how they behave, etc.

Once you start getting some traction and you want to scale your Instagram ad campaigns, you can start using Lookalike Audiences to reach users that are most similar to your existing customers or engaged shoppers.

Create lookalike audience creator

With Lookalikes you can attract new cold audiences that are more likely to convert, helping scale your campaigns fast with good results out of the bat.


c) Optimal Instagram ad type and placement for TOFU

Since you’re advertising to cold audiences that have likely never heard of you before, your Instagram ads need to work hard to get noticed, grab attention and stop users from scrolling away. Use ad formats that are designed to stand out, like:

  • Story ads
  • Video ads
  • Collection ads
  • Explore ads
  • Image ads

Stories are among the most popular content formats on Instagram. Story ads take up the entire screen and instantly grab attention. Users can’t avoid the ads as easily as when they’re scrolling through the feed.

Plus, Story ads don’t compete with other posts and distractions, which is why they’re perfect for TOFU campaigns.

Example: Overstock story ad

Keep in mind that Stories on an Instagram cycle through after 15 seconds if the user doesn’t click or swipe.

Stories are very fast-paced so you need to have a captivating video or image that’s going to make the user stop and swipe up.

Make your ads feel like they belong in the Stories section. So, start with the hook immediately in the first second of your Story ad and show why users should care.

Also, test using poll stickers in your Story ads, which allow you to be more engaging and playful.

Example: Chewy story swipe up option

Interactive Story polls not only help your ads stand out but also encourage people to watch longer and engage with your ads.

And you can retarget users based on this engagement in the MOFU stage.

The Story ads on Instagram can feature a video or an image. They can also feature a series of up to 10 videos or images that form a Story Carousel, much like what you see in users’ organic posts.

Just be sure to create a specific Ad Set for your Story ads on Instagram. Otherwise, your creative can get smushed and won’t look as good, losing all of its appeals.

Collection ads are designed to maximize the mobile user experience. They can combine video and images to tell a story and showcase your products.
Example: Birchbox product showcase

Instagram’s Collection ads include a cover image or video on top, followed by several product images.

When someone clicks on the ad, it opens an Instant Experience. This is a full-screen experience that displays your products in a grid with prices.
Product and price list

Users can browse products without having to leave Instagram. The ease of use, convenience and immersive user experience make people more likely to engage with these ads.

Finally, if a user wants to learn more or shop, they can tap on the CTA button on the bottom of the screen and be taken directly to your online store.

You can retarget users that clicked on the Collection ad even if they didn’t visit your site.

Video ads in the Instagram Feed also work well for your TOFU campaigns.

With videos, you can demonstrate your unique selling prop and introduce the benefits of your products.

Example: Meundies sponsored ad with Shop Now CTA

Video ads are a perfect scroll-stopper for cold audiences that see your brand for the first time.

Example: Drinkbai video animation ad

Tell a compelling story with video ads about what makes your product awesome and unique to provide a memorable experience.

So, when you retarget prospects in later funnel phases, your e-commerce will be instantly recognizable, and it’ll be much easier to drive action.

Finally, run Explore ads to appear in Instagram’s Explore Feed. It’s a popular placement where users go to discover new content, memes, profiles as well as new products.

Example: Jimmyjoyfood explore ad

Explore Feed ads are perfect for TOFU campaigns. You can reach new audiences at a low cost and introduce your products with engaging videos or images.


d) Perfect Instagram ad messaging and offer for cold audiences

Be patient when advertising to cold audiences. Use Instagram ads to inspire, spark curiosity and fill your funnel with new prospects.

Create Instagram ads that introduce your unique selling prop in a fun and engaging way without asking for much.

Some good examples of offers for cold audiences include:

  • View Instagram profile
  • Watch a video
  • Ad engagement
  • E-commerce visits
  • Giveaways
  • Contests
  • Take a quiz
  • Read a blog post or guide

Actions that don’t require too much work and commitment from your target audience are a good fit for TOFU campaigns.

Video views, Story polls engagement and website visits are good examples of actions that will get you good results.

They allow your audience to become familiar with your e-commerce brand, so they start paying attention and get excited about your future posts and ads.

Give users a reason to care about your ads and products by highlighting the benefits and what makes them unique.

Fresh Cove does a great job with clever messaging to illustrate the comfort of their underwear.
Example: Fresh cove ad

Giveaways and contests are another great way to build a retargeting audience. Who doesn’t love free stuff, am I right?!
Example: Mailleus story ad

It’s a powerful strategy to boost your brand awareness and get more people familiar with your online store and products.

Just be sure not to ask for too much from users to enter the giveaway.

Finally, one thing to definitely avoid is talking about the price in your TOFU Instagram ads.

Pitching your products directly to cold audiences rarely ever works. Keep in mind that these people are complete strangers and being too salesy too early will only make them ignore you moving forward.


Stage 2: MOFU – Turn prospects into shoppers

Once users become aware of your products and start engaging with your ads and e-commerce store, they enter the middle of your Instagram Ads funnel. Now that they’re no longer strangers to your business, they essentially become prospects.

And your job in the MOFU stage is to turn these prospects into shoppers. Get them to click through your Instagram ads and visit your website to view and interact with products.

This stage corresponds to the Consideration stage in the buyer’s journey. Prospects are evaluating your offer and considering if it’s worth the purchase.

Use Instagram ads to highlight key features and benefits of your products to nudge your audience further along the customer journey.
Example: Pillza Pillow ad

Depending on how your funnel works, you may also use this stage to capture leads.

Promote special lead magnet offers to encourage users to share their email addresses or contact information.

Example: Archi tonic ad sign up CTA

And since you already warmed up audiences for cheap, in your TOFU campaigns, it’s going to be much easier and cost-effective to turn them into leads with interesting opt-in offers.


a) Best Instagram Ads campaign objective for MOFU

Middle of the Funnel audience is warm so you can up the stakes by driving some bigger actions. Encourage e-commerce visits, product views and also try to collect users’ contact info.

The best Instagram Ads campaign objectives for MOFU are:

  • Traffic
  • Lead Generation
  • Conversions
  • Messages

Instagram/Facebook objectives for MOFU

With the Traffic objective, your goal is to drive more clicks and visits to your e-commerce store or a dedicated landing page.

The MOFU stage is also good if you want to use Instagram Ads to collect user’s contact info.

Lead Generation objective unlocks a special ad type that allows users to fill out a lead gen form directly from your ad, without leaving Instagram.
Lead generation form for Instagram ads

This significantly reduces friction as the form comes prepopulated with the user’s information.

It makes filling out forms on small mobile screens so much easier which can boost conversion rate and email signups.

Use Messages objective if you want to encourage users to engage with your business in your Instagram DM.

The ads open an instant conversation with your chatbot that can answer questions as well as capture leads.
Example: Send Message CTA

For warmer audiences, you can use the Conversions objective to drive specific action on your online store or landing page.

With this objective, Instagram will optimize your ad delivery to reach people in your audience who are likely to perform a specific type of conversion based on your Pixel.
Instagram/Facebook custom conversion maker

Keep in mind that it’s still too early to push for sales, so align your MOFU conversions with the customer journey. Consider driving actions like product views or form registrations.


b) Instagram audience targeting for the consideration stage

Instagram Ads audience targeting for the MOFU stage consists of retargeting users that have previously engaged with your ads or your business profile, as well as your e-commerce store visitors.

Best Instagram Ads audiences for the Consideration (MOFU) stage:

  • Retargeting based on ad engagement
  • Retargeting based on video watch time
  • Retargeting based on Instagram profile engagement
  • Retargeting based on e-commerce visits
  • Lookalike Audience

Since one of the campaign objectives from the previous step was to have users interact with your Instagram Ads, you can set up a retargeting audience consisting of engaged users.

This could be engagement based on your ads or profile. For that, you need to create a Custom Audience based on your Instagram Business profile.
Instagram business profile custom audience
You can also target users who have opened or clicked on your Instant Experience or Collection ads on Instagram.
Instant Experience custom audience

However, users may do other things with your ads besides clicking and engaging. A good example is video views.

You can create a MOFU Instagram audience based on how much of your video ads users watch.

Video Engagement custom audience

For longer videos, the optimal length for retargeting would be 25%, while for short videos it would make sense to set it to 50%.

Of course, at the MOFU stage, you also want to target users that visited your e-commerce store, be it from your Instagram ads or any other channel.

By checking out your e-commerce store these people have expressed interest in your products which makes them warm enough to be retargeted by your Middle of the Funnel campaigns.

Just be sure to filter out existing customers and leads. You don’t want to show the same ads to shoppers that already bought from you.
Website custom audience

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t remarket to existing customers. You should definitely use Instagram Ads to encourage repeat purchases and referrals.

It’s just that the ad creative and messaging is going to be very different for warm audiences in the MOFU stage compared to existing customers.

Finally, you can also experiment with Lookalikes for scaling your campaigns. Target users similar to existing e-commerce store visitors or leads.


c) Optimal Instagram ad type and placement for MOFU

Best performing Instagram ads and placements for the MOFU stage are:

  • Shopping Post ads
  • Image ads
  • Story ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads

Follow up on your TOFU ad creatives with a new sequence of ads that’s going to pull the prospects deeper into your funnel and get them shopping.

One of the most common ad types for the MOFU stage are regular image ads. Encourage product consideration with interesting images that showcase your products.

For even better results, test out Instagram’s new Shopping Post Ads. They appear as regular Instagram posts with the added product tags.
Example: Bellroy shopping post ad

Shopping Post ads provide seamless user experience, featuring clickable product tags on your image ads that feel native to the user’s Instagram Feed.

Shoppers that tap on these tags will be taken to a product description page within Instagram.
Product page within Instagram app

From there, users can click on the CTA to proceed to purchase from your e-commerce store.

Organic Shopping Posts on Instagram have already seen great results with 130 million users tapping these shopping tags each month.

Similar to Collection Ads, mentioned earlier, Shopping Post Ads can create a mini funnel inside Instagram. Users can discover products, check out the description and price, and continue to purchase on your online store.

Story ads can work just as well for MOFU campaigns driving a direct response. Only now, instead of focusing on being engaging and raising awareness, put your products front and center.

Example: Structube story ad Shop Now swipe up
If you wish to generate leads, use Instagram’s Lead Gen ads that capture user’s contact information straight from Instagram.

Example: John Henrick discount ad
Just be sure to offer some sort of lead magnet in return, such as a coupon code, giveaway or free product samples.

Use Carousel Ads if you want to showcase multiple products in one ad or if you want to highlight multiple features of a single product.
Example: Roadr carousel ad


d) Perfect Instagram ad messaging and offer for warm audiences

Warm audiences in the Middle of the Funnel are primed and ready to enter the sales process. Use your Instagram ad creative and messaging to encourage prospects to continue down the funnel and become leads and shoppers.

Offers that resonate for warm audiences in the MOFU stage are:

  • Free samples
  • Product demos
  • Discount codes
  • Downloadable content
  • Giveaways
  • Contests
  • Free online assessments

Instagram ads at this stage should aim to elicit a more direct response and action, such as product views, adding products to cart or email signups.

Use MOFU ads to inspire prospects to explore your products with more direct language and product-centric ad creative.

Example: Happy plugs Shop Now CTA

You can also include product specs, features, proprietary technology as well as the price.

Social proof can also help increase conversions, from product samples to purchases.
Example: Jimmy Joy Food social proof ad

Finally, incentivize your email list signups with coupon codes, additional savings or other offers.
Example: The Axis Life Sign up CTA ad

Make sure your lead generation magnets deliver a proportional value in return for users’ contact information.


Stage 3: BOFU – Turn shoppers into customers

The Bottom of the Funnel, also known as the Purchase or Decision phase, is when you want to turn shoppers and leads into paying customers.

In the previous stages of your Instagram Ads funnel, you’ve introduced your e-commerce to new audiences, inspired them with interesting ads and offers to become leads or browse your online store. Now, it’s time to start driving sales.

Hot audiences that enter the BOFU stage are primed and ready, they only need a small push towards the purchase.

Get them while their hot. You want shoppers to act fast. Be more aggressive and put pressure with time-sensitive or limited offers.

In this example, Leg Republic is using multiple cues to indicate scarcity and urgency.
Example: Leg Republic Shop Now CTA ad

“Our Pink Stripe Leggings Are BACK!!” indicates that this product is in high demand and it quickly sells out.

“Only Today – 60% OFF!” is another FOMO trigger that drives urgency and pushes people to buy now or miss out.

Ecommerce shoppers will read product reviews, compare prices, and examine pictures or videos of your products in use. Since they rely on past experience from real customers, use social proof to back up your offerings and help them be more confident about the purchase.

Other potential customers may have certain objections that are keeping them from making a purchase. Address these issues in your Instagram ad copy and creative to help shoppers make the final buying decision.


a) Best Instagram Ads campaign objective for BOFU

At the Bottom of the Funnel, you want to directly drive sales on your e-commerce store. Choose Instagram Ads campaign objectives that directly optimize for sales, such as:

  • Catalog Sales
  • Conversions
  • Traffic

Instagram/Facebook objectives for BOFU

If you sell a variety of products and want to promote your e-commerce inventory, then use the Catalog Sales objective. It optimizes your campaign to reach as many sales on your e-commerce as possible.

It works by pulling data from your product catalogue which can be used in your Instagram ads.

For this, you’ll need to integrate a product catalogue to your Ads Manager.
Facebook Business Manager - Catalog Manager

This will also unlock additional ad options like Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) as well as Instagram Shopping posts mentioned earlier.

The Conversion objective can also work for your BOFU campaigns. Just make sure to balance your conversion action with your business goals and bottom line.

So, in this situation, you’ll most likely want to drive conversion actions like “add to cart” and “initiate checkout.”

Finally, you can test if the Traffic objective delivers a similar conversion rate at a lower cost.

Since it’s a broader objective there should be somewhat less competition. And if you nail your targeting and conversion optimization, you can still drive sales at a lower CPM.


b) Instagram audience targeting for the Purchase stage

Audience targeting for the BOFU stage should focus on retargeting existing leads and e-commerce visitors.

You should also make sure to exclude any users that became customers during the earlier stages.

Use the following Custom Audiences for your BOFU Instagram ads:

  • Retargeting based on product views
  • Retargeting based on cart abandonment
  • Retargeting leads

Set up a Custom Audience to reach leads and people that visited your online store in the previous funnel stages.

For this, you can target users that visited a specific page, such as a product page or a lead magnet Thank You page.
Website custom audience
If you ran Lead Generation ads, look for the Lead Form option in the Custom Audience creation tool.
Lead Form - Custom Audience

With this audience, you can retarget users that have previously completed a form on your Instagram Lead Gen ads.

If you choose the Catalog Sales objective the audience targeting is going to look different. It’s completely product-centric, allowing you to target users that viewed or added products to cart but haven’t purchased.

Catalog Sales Audience creator
Instagram also allows you to upsell and cross-sell products, as well as create a custom combination of audiences based on how people interact with your products.
upsell and cross-sell options
Upsells on Instagram is a retargeting option, where a user that views products from one of your product sets gets introduced to products from another set.

With cross-sells, you can promote accessories that complement the product a shopper just purchased.

With this type of audience targeting not only can you drive sales, but also increase the average order value (AOV) to make each sale more profitable.

This type of Instagram Ads targeting can also help recover abandoned carts and boost your sales.

Lastly, you can test Lookalike Audiences based on existing customers to see if driving them directly to your BOFU campaigns generates sales at a profitable rate.
Customer Audience - Customer List

Create a Lookalike Audience with LTV, that’s going to target users similar to your most valuable customers based on their lifetime value (LTV or CLV).


c) Optimal Instagram ad type and placement for BOFU

The best performing Instagram ad types for BOFU stage are:

  • DPA ads
  • Image ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Story ads

If your streamlined checkout process still isn’t enough for some shoppers to complete the purchase, you can still recover abandoned carts by using BOFU Instagram retargeting ads.

Dynamic product ads (aka DPA) let you target customers who have been on your e-commerce and browsed a range of products but left before completing the purchase.

With DPA on Instagram, you can promote relevant products personalized for each shopper. People who have shown interest in a specific product by either viewing it or adding it to cart will see those exact items in their Instagram feed.

So, for example, if a shopper browses your online store and adds one model of a jacket to cart but doesn’t purchase, your Instagram ads will automatically promote that exact jacket.
Example: Jac1t carousel Shop Now CTA ad

DPA is a very powerful ad strategy that allows you to recover abandoned carts and increase sales. This is a very hot audience so it’s key to retarget and encourage them to buy.

Story ads on Instagram can be used at all stages of the funnel. However, similar to the MOFU stage ads, here your focus shifts from introducing products to driving action and sales.

Incentivize users to act fast and buy with limited-time discounts and special offers.
Example: JCO jewllery story ad

The BOFU ads no longer focus on introducing new products or your brand. Now your Instagram ads should highlight special deals and shopping perks on products that hot audiences are familiar with and interested in.


d) Perfect Instagram ad messaging and offer for hot audiences

Hot audiences in the BOFU stage are very close to making a purchase. Focus your Instagram ads on driving sales on your online store.

The BOFU ad messaging formula is simple: restate the value proposition, provide social proof, overcome objections and use FOMO triggers to make shoppers act immediately.

Offers and ad messaging that works for hot audiences are:

  • Discounts
  • Free shipping
  • Price drops
  • Free gifts with a purchase
  • Social proof
  • FOMO triggers
  • Risk-free purchase
  • Easy financing, etc.

Your BOFU Instagram ads should encourage immediate action. Use prompts such as price drops and discounts to drive purchases.
Example: J Crew 30% off story ad

FOMO triggers such as urgency and scarcity will also give shoppers a good incentive to act fast or miss out.
Example: Bee mission urgency trigger ad
You also don’t want potential customers to hesitate and overthink your offer.

Include callouts that indicate urgency and scarcity, such as “limited time offer,” “limited stock” or “while supplies last.”
Example: Mizu towel limited offer ad

Risk-free shopping and money-back guarantees can boost shopper’s confidence and address their common objections. Be sure to overcome these purchasing obstacles with your Instagram ads to help them make the buying decision.

Example: My Perfect Cosmetics Company Money back guarantee ad
Strategically use ad creative and messaging to drive home your value proposition and inspire immediate action and sales.



The Instagram Ads funnel, allows you to attract new prospects for cheap, then warm them up with a series of campaigns that pull them deeper until they finally buy.

It’s a powerful and efficient e-commerce strategy to acquire new customers with an advertising platform that’s perfect for inspiring people to buy new products.

Don’t forget to make a retargeting list for new product launches and repeat purchases.

The funnel should not end with just a single purchase. Extend the lifetime value of your customers by re-engaging them with future MOFU campaigns.

Just keep in mind that e-commerce customers will go through these funnel stages at a different pace. They may also enter at different phases, depending on how they discover and interact with your online store.

A full-blown Instagram Ads funnel can get pretty complex, so it’s easy to mess up. It’s very important to keep track of which audiences you include and exclude from each stage.

And finally, if you need help building your Instagram Ads funnel and promoting your e-commerce business, get in touch for a free strategy call now. ?

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