The One Thing

Supercharge your Instagram growth with custom audience retargeting

Published 2 months ago • 3 min read

Using paid ads to grow on Instagram is comprised of three basic steps.

First, we can use an awareness campaign to spread the word and let people know we exist.

Second, we can run a campaign to send users directly to our Instagram profile, using the native call to action in our ads.

And third, we can tighten up the entire system by retargeting users who have engaged with our ads and content but haven’t yet chosen to follow us.

Now if you’re new here, we’ve spent the last three weeks covering this Instagram growth process in detail, all of which you can read here and view here.

This email is our fourth and final installment and is, arguably, the most important.

It’s time to do some retargeting.

Capturing our audience

The first step in running a retargeting campaign inside Meta’s ad platform is to create a few audiences.

Once we’ve navigated to the audience manager, we’ll start by clicking the blue button in the top left of the page and building an audience of our existing Instagram followers.

We’re not going to be targeting these people in our current campaigns because we’re looking to gain more followers from this, so our current followers won’t help us there.

However, because we’re optimizing for followers, we want to avoid targeting those users who already follow us.

That’s why we need this audience.

To create this first audience, we’ll select our Instagram account as the source, and select people “who started following this professional account”.

We’ll give this a name like “IG Followers” and click “Create audience”.

The second audience we’re going to create is very similar, but instead of selecting users who follow us, we’re going to select “Everyone who engaged with this professional account”.

We’ll keep the retention period as broad as we can (we want as many people to retarget as possible, after all), name the audience something like “Instagram [365]”, then click “Create audience” here as well.

And finally, the third audience we’ll make is going to be comprised of our video viewers.

We’ve been using ads to push views for our reels, so we want to capture all of that attention for retargeting too.

Once again, we’ll select the blue “Create audience” button in the top left, but instead of selecting Instagram as our source, this time we’ll choose Video.

On the next screen, we’re going to select “ThruPlay” from the dropdown (this is what we’ve been pursuing with our awareness ads) and select the appropriate video(s) from our awareness campaign.

We’ll keep our retention period as wide as possible again, give our audience a name, and click the blue button to complete the setup.

So now we have three distinct audiences—our Instagram followers, those who have engaged with our content, and those who have viewed our specific ad videos and generated a ThruPlay as a result.

Now it’s time to put these audiences to use.

Retargeting in our campaign

To start, we’re going to duplicate the ad set inside our Instagram Follow campaign.

From there, we’ll move down to the audience section of the ad set.

Under the “Custom audiences” heading, we’ll target our engagement audience and our video views audience.

These are the people who have experienced our content in the past—they are what’s known as a “warm” audience.

But we also want to take it a step further and ensure we’re not showing our ads to our existing followers, so we’re going to exclude them from our targeting.

So now we’ve got an ad set that is targeting everyone who has engaged with our content within the past year, except for those who currently follow us.

And just like our original ad set did beforehand, this new ad set is going to use the “Visit Instagram Profile” call to action, sending these users to our profile where they will, hopefully, give us a follow if they like what they see.

And the best part is that these audiences will automatically update and adjust over time, so our only job becomes posting new content regularly and pulling that content into our campaigns to test as ads.

Easy. Automated. Effective.

If you want to learn more about this process, I’ll be walking through each step in greater detail on YouTube this Thursday.

Hope to see you there.

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Read the Newsletter: Read previous issues of The One Thing to learn at your own pace and upgrade your marketing knowledge for free.
  2. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.
  3. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.
  4. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

The One Thing

Tom DuPree III

One high-leverage idea to scale your audience (and your business). Delivered every Tuesday.

Read more from The One Thing

Three of the most effective places for artists to monetize their music are also the three best places to promote it. Succeeding as an independent artist is a delicate balance of marketing your work, serving your fans, and earning money. Because it’s tough to balance everything as a team of one (or only a few), it makes sense to double down on the things that can check more than one box for us. Especially when we’re just getting started. The beauty of music streaming, selling merch, and...

2 days ago • 3 min read

Where we choose to advertise makes a significant difference in the performance of our ads. If we go too tight, we might experience a much higher cost per result (and fewer overall results for our ad spend) than we want to see. If we go too broad, we might waste our money on results that don’t really count for much in the long run. That whole “if your audience is everyone, your audience is no one” thing. So how should we think about country targeting when it comes to sending traffic to Spotify...

9 days ago • 5 min read

Music marketing is about so much more than playlisting vs. advertising. And certainly about more than just creating content and getting streams. It’s about connecting with others and creating a fulfilling path to earn our freedom and a life of meaning through art. Too much emphasis is put on the mechanics of marketing, while not enough is put on why we do the things we do. Why do we release music? Why do we post content? Why do we run ads? Why wouldn’t we do those things? Well, we’re going to...

16 days ago • 4 min read
Share this post