Facebook expands dynamic ads to Instagram, which it bought in 2012. The social network is also rolling out new targeting tools.

Facebook Inc. today announced plans to bring its dynamic ads—the ad format that lets retailers and other advertisers serve shoppers ads based on the products they looked at on the merchant’s site or app—to Instagram, the increasingly influential social network it bought in 2012.

Dynamic ads, previously called dynamic product ads, have been a boon to retailers and advertisers. For example, digital marketing vendor Kenshoo says that its clients generated a click-through rate of 1.7% in the first quarter from dynamic ads on Facebook, which was significantly higher than its 1.0% average click-through rate across all of its clients’ social network ads.

To use dynamic ads retailers have to upload their product catalog to Facebook. They then set rules to enable the social network to automatically target consumers with ads featuring the products that a shopper may be interested in. Marketers can use the tool to aim ads at consumers who visited their site or app, or to reach people based on their interests or location. They can also fine-tune ads to highlight products that a particular consumer viewed most recently, for example, or best-selling products. Starting today, the advertiser can select where it wants those ads to appear: on Facebook, Instagram or on sites and apps that work with the Facebook-owned mobile ad network Audience Network.

“By extending dynamic ads to Instagram, advertisers can promote relevant products to shoppers who have browsed their website or mobile app across two platforms where they spend much of their time,” Facebook writes in a blog post. Facebook is the most popular app among U.S. consumers, according to a recent comScore Inc. report, and Instagram is the ninth-most popular app. Together with Facebook-owned Messenger, consumers around the world spend on average more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted last month during Facebook’s earnings call.

Facebook today also introduced more advanced ways for retailers to target consumers using its Custom Audiences tool, which lets advertisers use non-Facebook information to target consumers on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.


The new targeting options for Custom Audiences are:

  • Frequency: How many times a consumer engages in a behavior, like visiting a retailer’s category page.
  • Time spent: How much time a consumer spent engaging in an activity, such as a retailer’s website or viewing a product page.
  • Dynamic date: A range of dates during which the consumer interacted with a product or page.
  • Aggregated values: The total amount of money a person has spent on a retailer’s website.
  • Devices: The devices a consumer uses to interact with a retailer’s website, including Android, iOS devices, desktop and other mobile devices.

“The new options address the fact that some website visitors are more valuable to a business than others,” Facebook writes. “For example, if a business knows that someone who visits their website once a week is more likely to make a purchase in the next 30 days, they may focus their efforts on connecting with people who have visited their website in the last week. The updates to Custom Audiences empower advertisers to do just that.”