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Use Instagram ads to bring users to your DMs or your Messenger bot

Learn how to set up Instagram Direct ads, and Instagram ads that click through to your Messenger bot.

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If you use Instagram for business, you should know about Instagram Direct. It’s a destination in Ads Manager that pushes people to your business’s direct-message inbox on Instagram.

Yes, you’ll have to respond manually to messages you get this way. But it gives your brand a unique opportunity to experiment with conversational commerce on another hugely popular social platform. Use this chance to get more chat interactions with users in a new place and see where it takes you.

So today, we’ll be covering the ins and outs of this ad type and another similar one you may find useful. Read on to learn about setting up:

  1. Instagram Direct ads,

  2. Instagram ads that click to your Messenger bot.

Instagram Direct ads

Instagram Direct is an ad placement for the Instagram feed. When a user clicks this ad, they move to your direct-message inbox, where they can start a one-on-one conversation with your brand.

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Manual placements on Ads Manager.

Learn more about placements for Instagram Direct ads in the How to set up Instagram Direct ads section below.

Who you should run Instagram Direct ads

Anyone who wants to get their content in front of Instagram’s one billion+ users can try out Instagram Direct ads. However, we see them being especially effective for eCommerce businesses on Instagram and agencies that work with e-commerce brands.

We also expect that those selling big-ticket items online might find more value from this ad type because:

  • The number of users messaging you with serious inquiries will be lower and more manageable for you to respond to manually.

  • These users who do engage with an Instagram Direct ad will likely be more valuable because messaging you about a big-ticket product or service shows higher intent. Once they reach out, you’re in a prime position to nurture them towards a purchase personally.

How to set up Instagram Direct ads

The beauty of Facebook and Instagram is that you can set up ads for both platforms in one place: Facebook Ads Manager. So head there to get started. Then:

  1. Go to Ad Creation in Ads Manager.

  2. Choose a campaign objective and click Continue.

  3. Edit your campaign name and other details. Then click Next.

  4. In the Conversion section, select the following:

    • Messaging Apps as Conversion location,

    • Click to message as your ad type,

    • Instagram under Messaging Apps.

  5. Customize the following sections:

    • Optimization & delivery,

    • Budget & schedule,

    • Audience,

    • Placements.

    Then, click Next.

  6. Customize your ad name, setup, creative, message template, and tracking.

    When you’re ready, click Publish.

Instagram Direct ads won’t appear anywhere on Facebook. That way, those who click will arrive at your DMs without having to switch apps. To run other types of Instagram ads (like those that lead to landing pages), Facebook doesn’t require you to have an actual Instagram account. Instead, they’ll just use your Facebook Page name and profile photo to associate it with you. But since Instagram Direct ads will lead users to your DMs, you need an existing account to have an inbox and respond.

Ads that click to Messenger on Instagram

You’ve probably explored or currently use Ads that click to Messenger ads to bring new users to your chatbot: ads that show up on Facebook and direct users to your bot in Messenger.

Now, there is a way to have these ads appear on Instagram instead and still direct users to your Messenger chatbot. To try it out for your business, we encourage you to start with a smaller budget, around $5-15 per day.

Automatically redirecting users from the Instagram app to the separate Messenger app can be jarring. You might see a significant drop-off as a result. Yes, Ads that click to Messenger ads redirect to the Messenger app too. But both apps are clearly within the Facebook ecosystem, so it’s less unexpected. Not every user is actively aware that  Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram, so they may think the app switch is a mistake or spam and exit the entire process.

Who should run Ads that click to Messenger on Instagram

These ads will be most helpful if:

✔️ You’ve built a Messenger bot that can effectively engage and convert users. Otherwise, there’s no sense in paying to send new users there.

✔️ You (or your customer, if you’re an agency) offer something appealing to the Instagram audience, a predominantly younger demographic. If not, focusing on Facebook ad placements may be more effective.

How to set up Ads that click to Messenger for Instagram

  1. In Facebook Ads Manager, create a new ad and choose Messaging Apps as  the conversion location and Click to message as your ad type.

  2. Select Messenger under Messaging Apps.

  3. Customize the following sections:

    • Optimization & delivery,

    • Budget & schedule,

    • Audience.

  4. In the Placements section, deselect the Facebook and Messenger placements.

    Then, decide where on Instagram you want your ad to show: Feeds, Stories and Reels, etc., and click Next.

  5. Customize your ad name, setup, creative, message template, and tracking.

    When you’re ready, click Publish.

How to link your Messenger chatbot to your Ads that click to Messenger on Instagram using the JSON

  1. Go to ChatfuelAutomationFlows. Open existing Messenger flow, or add a new one.

  2. Add Click-to-Messenger Ads JSON entry point. Customize the greeting — the first thing users will see when they arrive at Messenger from Instagram.

    Make sure it relates to the content of your ad creative so people know they’re in the right place after the app switch. The greeting should also encourage users to respond and continue the conversation, for example, by choosing one of the Quick Reply buttons.

  3. Click Copy greeting as JSON code on the entry point.

  4. Open your ad on Ads Manager → Message templateAdvanced setupEdit.

  5. Paste the copied JSON code and click Save and finish.

When you’re ready to launch your ad, click Publish. Now, powerful Meta tools for ads are supercharged with Chatfuel automation to boost your Return on investment (ROI.)

In addition, your ad will be displayed only to people with Messenger installed. So Meta won’t waste any of your ad spend by showing them to users who don’t already have the app on their device.

Copying and pasting the greeting’s JSON code from Chatfuel Dashboard to Meta Ads Manager.

Tap into a new audience on Instagram

Facebook said it: 'Conversation is the future of commerce.' Personalized, one-on-one chat experiences are what customers now expect from brands. Ads that click to Messenger on Instagram let you apply this strategy at scale.

Instagram Direct ads let you experiment with conversational commerce and expand your brand’s presence across platforms. And with Chatfuel, you automate powerful Meta ads and move leads through the sales funnel.

So, try Instagram ads to bring users to your DMs or your Messenger bot. Sign up with Chatfuel to get 50 conversations for free and try out code-free automation for your business. Run some tests and see how both ad types can benefit your e-commerce business or your agency’s customers.