We finally have the ability to target Instagram users based on their engagement with our content. This is great news!

But, what is engagement anyway? (and how can you use it to generate sales?)

I think of it as "behavioral cues." And in a practical sense, it gives you a set of triggers you can use to start and stop your various ad campaigns on a person by person basis.

Use those cues to help you to find people that are ready to take action. Whether that means visiting your website for the first time, doing some product research, sizing up your store for trustworthiness, or taking out the credit card to make a purchase.

In the language of Facebook Ads, it means we can create custom audiences from the following groups: (and we'll use these groups for targeting)

  • People who have spent time watching your videos on Instagram
  • People who open or complete a Lead Form on Instagram
  • People who have interacted with your Instagram business profile

These custom audiences will help us reach our customers with the right message, at the moment they are most likely to respond favorably.


First, make sure that you have converted your Instagram page to a "business page." The process only takes a few moments.

  1. Log in to your Instagram account from a mobile device
  2. Tap the gear icon
  3. Select "Switch to Business Profile" (see the screenshot below)
  4. You'll be prompted to connect your profile to a Facebook page and add some contact information
  5. That's it!

Be sure to make your Instagram profile public in order to switch to a business profile.

Select "Switch to Business Profile"

Select "Switch to Business Profile"

 If you've followed the steps to this point you should be all set.

Create your first Instagram engagement audience:

To create one of the new custom audiences, visit Audiences, and click Create Audience --> Custom Audience.

 Select "Engagement" to reveal the new Instagram options shown below:

Instagram Custom Audience Creation Options

Instagram Custom Audience Creation Options

Look for the Instagram logo to see which options are supported. Currently, the list includes:

  • Video
  • Lead Form
  • Instagram Business Profile

Select one of the 3 options above to customize the audience. Facebook has articles that go in-depth on all of the options, but if you've created custom audiences in the past if should all look very familiar.

How to use Instagram engagement audiences in your funnel:

  • Engagement audiences may or may not have visited your web page, so as a group they are probably not very warm
  • Use Top of Funnel messaging and campaign objectives to help them consume more content, further segment themselves, and warm up to your brand
  • Create messaging that helps them feel like they're discovering your brand themselves. Videos do this very well - here's a few ideas
  • Once they make it to your website, use Mid-Funnel messaging to nurture and convert them into customers

There's a lot to unpack in there, so start simple - and establish a habit of continuous experimenting.

To your inner scientist!