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Why You Need to Try Instagram Explore Ads (and How to Make Them)

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Instagram has been rolling out new ad placements rapidly over the past few years, including Stories Ads, Reels Ads, and Instagram Explore Ads.

Explore Ads allow advertisers to show sponsored content on the Explore page, where users go to browse images and videos that the app has curated based on their past behavior and interests.

They are an exciting placement option because they reach people who don't already follow you while in prime discovery mode.

How do Instagram Ads Work in the Explore Feature?

The explore grid on Instagram is customized to each user's interests. According to Facebook, the explore page sources content from across the Instagram platform based on what interests an individual. However, ads do not show up in the explore feed.

Ads only appear after users click on a picture or video in the explore feed. The user can view a contextual feed of content similar to the post clicked on. That is where explore ads got displayed in the same format as standard Instagram feed ads. It helps prevent ads from being intrusive and overwhelming to users viewing the grid.

How to set up Instagram Explore page ads

To create Instagram Explore ads, follow the same steps as you would for regular Instagram newsfeed ads.

  1. In Facebook Ads Manager, create a new ad or edit an existing ad,

  2. Choose an objective that supports Instagram Explore as an ad placement.

  3. Complete the details for your ad set, including selecting Instagram Explore as an Automatic Placement or, if you choose Edit Placements, check the box for Explore under Instagram.

  4. Select Continue

You can preview your ad before submitting it for review — and after review, you'll be notified of its approval or disapproval. If approved, you can see where people are viewing your ad in the results section of Ads Manager.

Tips For Creating Effective Instagram Explore Ads

Consider using Instagram Explore Ads to reach new audiences.

  • Users love the Explore section because they can discover new brands, products, and content. It is an excellent opportunity to connect with open-minded users who may be interested in your brand. Try using lookalike audience targeting or interest and behavior targeting to find the right users to target with your ads.

  • Test different creatives to see what performs better in the Explore section versus the feed. Even though you can use the same creative for both placements, it's always worth testing to see what works best for a new audience

  • Reels are a prevalent feature gathering a ton of attention on Instagram. Creating ads resembling Reels can help you show up in Reels Ads and Explore Ads and drive engagement both ways. Be careful with cropping here, though. Reels are full-screen like Stories and Explore Ads are not, but you can use the same content and crop it manually to ensure it's a fit.


Instagram Ads can help grow your brand's reach if used wisely. So, what are you waiting for? Explore this new feature of Instagram and get rolling with increasing the popularity of your brand. Check out our CRIO App for Creating amazing graphics for your explore ads.

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