Instacart Ads

Tips For Shoppable Display Ads: Bring Together The Best Of Storytelling And Conversion



Aug 8, 2022

In May of 2022, Instacart announced that it was piloting a new offering for advertisers: shoppable ads — custom, shoppable ads that offer a more immersive way for brands to tell stories, engage their customers, and drive sales.

Text reading “Sell a story, not just a product,” accompanied by a gif of a shoppable ad appearing as a user scrolls on the Instacart platform.

On August 8, Instacart will launch the first iteration of shoppable ads — shoppable display ads — to all brands in Ads Manager, Instacart’s self-service portal. At that point, advertisers will be able to set up shoppable display ad campaigns for campaign launch dates as early as August 15. (Look out for shoppable video ad capabilities coming later this year.)

An introduction to shoppable display ads

Shoppable display is an engaging new format that enables you to reach the right consumer at the right time without disrupting the shopping experience. 

Instacart’s shoppable display ad units consist of a creative image along with a carousel of pinned products with direct add-to-cart functionality. Not only does this ad format allow consumers to easily add pinned products to their cart, it also lets them click through to a customized landing page where they can further explore your brand and portfolio of products. Available across a consumer’s search experience, shoppable display ads allow you to reach users who are searching for similar or complementary products. 

Here are four tips that will help you set up your shoppable display ad campaign for success.

Screenshot of a shoppable ad and a brand page on Instacart’s platform.

Tip #1: Set up your landing page first

Expedite getting your campaigns live by creating the page displayed to customers when they click on your shoppable display ad. 

When a consumer clicks on the creative image or arrow in the top right corner of your shoppable display ad, Instacart displays a page of curated products and engaging creative assets. You can set up this page using brand pages, our free, completely customizable destination that can highlight your key product lines or showcase your brand through engaging visuals and copy. 

When setting up your shoppable display ad campaign, you have the option to link to an existing page or create a new page. If you want to create a new page, we recommend creating that before your shoppable display ad campaign and submitting it for approval. By having your landing page pre-approved, you can link directly to that destination so you’re ready to go. 

Be sure to consider the storytelling opportunity. To drive a best-in-class user experience and improve engagement, make sure that the story on the shoppable display ad is cohesive with what you feature on your landing page. For example, use similar visual styles in your creative and add the same or a similar set of pinned products to the first product collection on your page.

Tip #2: Use keyword targeting to maximize reach

Go beyond your usual shelf space with broad and complementary keyword targeting.

Shoppable display ads present an exciting opportunity to maximize reach and drive more incremental purchases across the customer journey. Using the keyword targeting capability, consider focusing your shoppable display campaigns on high-traffic complementary or broad category terms to reach a broader audience. As you set up your campaign, Ads Manager provides keyword recommendations based on contextual relevance. Take advantage of these keyword recommendations to help scale your campaigns and take it beyond your usual shelf. 

For example, if the ice cream brand Eureka Farms is using sponsored products to effectively own the shelf in the frozen aisle and on ice cream-related key terms, they might add a shoppable display ad campaign to reach consumers who are searching for other items that pair well with ice cream. Think popular terms like “cake,” “cookies,” or “pie.” 

Tip #3: Be thoughtful about product curation

Increase conversion by optimizing your selection of pinned products.

The products you select for the product carousel on your shoppable display ads play an important role in maximizing your chances of conversion. Your shoppable display ad only participates in auctions for placements when consumers are shopping from retailers with at least two of the selected products in stock. So it’s important to select an ample number of products to pin to your shoppable display ad. 

Consumers are most likely to engage with the first product that appears in a shoppable display ad, so pinning your highest performing, most widely available item first can maximize conversion. You can include different flavors and sizes, too. Not only does this provide options to consumers, but it can also help improve retailer coverage.

Tip #4: Create experiences with the right mix of products and visuals

Tell a story with multiple pinned products, engaging visuals, and a clear theme.

A person’s hand holds a smartphone with the Instacart platform shoppable ads displayed, on a pink background of fruits and popsicles.

Shoppable display ads with engaging creative and a clear theme that ties together the visuals of the ad and the products you’ve pinned can help you tell an evocative story.

For example, Eureka Farms has a host of new summer flavors in their frozen treats product line that would be perfect for a backyard BBQ. As the sun goes down on a fun-filled day of outdoor activities, it’s a perfect time to try refreshing popsicles like Melon Mood and Berries Frosé All Day. Or maybe Strawberry Dream? To invoke this experience, they might use shoppable display ads to feature these new summer flavors with a backdrop of lifestyle imagery that puts the consumer in the right mindset to crave ice cream.

Are you ready to set up your shoppable display campaign today? Log into your account in Ads Manager



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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