Instacart Advertising: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

The stay-at-home order put into place during 2020 helped Instacart’s business flourish. In fact, in the past year alone, Instacart saw a 500% increase in order volume. With Instacart’s business booming and no signs of slowing down, marketers need to take advantage of this exponential growth by advertising on Instacart to drive sales in their brick-and-mortar retail partners. 

What Is Instacart?

Instacart gives consumers the ability to order their groceries online from participating retailers and have a personal shopper deliver them straight to their door. With a marketplace spanning over 45,000 stores, 500 million products, and 5,500 cities, Instacart is the largest online grocery service in the world. 

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The Benefits of Instacart Ads

A banner for Instacart Advertising shows how to get started.
Source: Instacart

Instacart’s advertising platform allows brands to reach consumers who are ready to purchase food or other household items that can be found in a grocery store. With that in mind, here are some of the top benefits of Instacart ads:


Using Instacart ads, brands can invest advertising dollars in their store presence while measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) with the attributed sales metric, similar to other digital advertising platforms. This direct linking of digital media dollars to real consumer conversions allows brands to spend budgets more effectively. 

Low Competition

Competition is not as high as it is on other advertising platforms. With a relatively small number of advertisers utilizing Instacart’s advertising platform, costs have remained low while the ad unit inventory has increased. 

Streamlined Supply Chain

Instacart’s platform is perfect for brands that aren’t digitally native or did not have the ability for online fulfillment when the pandemic began. Because Instacart’s personal shoppers buy from local stores, logistical issues, like shipping frozen or refrigerated grocery items, are removed. 

Instacart is also valuable for brands looking to invest in their brick-and-mortar networks while tracking the investment through digital marketing KPIs like return on ad spend (ROAS), conversion rates, cost per click (CPC), and units sold. There are no minimums with Instacart’s featured product ads, so any brand with products in-store can advertise on this platform. 


One major advantage that Instacart had at the onset of lockdowns was its flexibility. Their gig workforce and shopping model allowed them to seamlessly send their personal shoppers to almost any store that consumers shop at within Instacart’s network. Most traditional grocery retailers did not have the online ordering infrastructure in place to process the sudden increase in volume to their site, while e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart struggled to keep inventory available and in stock. 

Instacart was the perfect solution to allow customers to access inventory from the same local stores they were shopping at before the lockdown. 

4 Ways to Successfully Advertise Using Instacart Ads

Advertising on Instacart lets brands reach consumers using the sponsored products option or any of the additional full-service display options. Instacart advertising offers self-serve ads, Instacart managed ads, and, the most popular option, the featured products self-serve ads. This ad type is very similar to Amazon and Walmart’s sponsored product placement. 

Below are four simple practices you can implement to ensure your Instacart advertising campaign is a success:

1. Understand Limitations

With new platforms come new limitations; Instacart doesn’t allow brands to advertise within a specific category share, on certain retailers within their network, or based on geographic regions. It also does not have breakdowns of which stores customers purchase from, so advertisers cannot measure performance by specific retailers. It’s important to keep these limitations top of mind when planning to advertise on Instacart’s platform. 

2. Update Product Details

Brands can update and edit their product details within the ad platform. It is important that brands continuously update product titles and images to ensure that consumers are receiving best-in-class content, similar to the approach to SEO for Amazon. You should also make sure that descriptions accurately align with the product while remaining rich in keywords.

3. Target the Right Keywords

Keyword targeting is crucial for the success of your campaign. Instacart’s advertising user interface uses a second-price auction model, meaning that advertisers pay $.01 more than the highest bidder for a keyword. CPC bid and search term relevance are two contributing factors to winning bids in a price auction. Instacart advertising will automatically add default keywords, so it’s important to review these keywords and remove any that are irrelevant. 

At the moment, keyword targeting is an exact match only. This means that brands will need to add more long-tail keywords into their campaigns to target relevant terms. It is expected that broad match keyword targeting will roll out later this year, so stay tuned — exciting things are on the horizon for Instacart’s advertising platform!

4. Pause Keywords

Like any other digital media initiative, monitoring KPIs and striving to improve efficiency is key. Excluding keywords from your campaign that you don’t want your products to show up for can help with this. However, Instacart’s advertising platform does not yet allow for keyword negation. 

Because keyword targeting on Instacart is exact-match, the only way to stop spending on a keyword is to pause it from the campaign. Negative keywords will hopefully be released soon along with broad match keyword targeting. 

Start Advertising Your Brand on Instacart Today

By understanding the limitations of this emerging platform, consistently updating product details and images, targeting relevant keywords, and pausing keywords when necessary, your Instacart campaigns will be a success in no time. Even beyond lockdowns, Instacart has proven that they are here to stay — they have revolutionized the way consumers buy groceries and have quickly grown into a household name in the grocery delivery industry. 

Brands that sell products in major grocery retailers are utilizing the benefits of advertising on Instacart to stay ahead of the competition by capitalizing on the convenience that Instacart provides its customers. Marketers should take advantage of this emerging platform to reap its unique benefits and capitalize on low CPC rates. 

Ready to start advertising on Instacart? 

Reach out to Booyah’s team of digital experts today.

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