How Instacart Sponsored Ads Targeting Works

How targeting works for Instacart's Sponsored Product Ads, including keyword bidding versus non-search targeting.

Ellie Edwards avatar
Written by Ellie Edwards
Updated over a week ago

There are two classifications of bids for Sponsored Product ads:

  1. Keyword Bids

  2. Non-Search Bids

Keyword Bidding

When a customer searches for a product or item on the Instacart platform, ads appear both before and throughout organic listings on the search results page. These ads appear by brands bidding on specific keywords

In the image below, searching for the keyword "milk" prompted the following 3 Sponsored ads to appear at the top of the search results page.

Instacart currently does not support broad, phrase, or negative matching. Ads only serve for exact-match keywords.

Instacart also does not support pausing or archiving keywords once they have been added to a campaign. After a keyword has been added, you can minimize or stop spend by setting the bid to the Instacart minimum price of $0.15.

Adding Keywords

Manual: When creating your Instacart Goals in Perpetua, we recommend adding as many short and long-tail keywords as possible. This will help your campaigns gain traction more quickly and aid Perpetua's ad engine in gathering data to optimize performance.

See How to Launch an Instacart goal for further steps.

Automatic: In addition to keywords that are added to your goals manually, Instacart will periodically harvest new keywords deemed relevant to your products and brand. These new keywords will be automatically optimized by Perpetua's ad engine as they are added to campaigns.

Bid Price versus CPC

Similar to Amazon advertising, Instacart is a 2nd-price auction. This means that when you "win" a keyword auction, the CPC you pay will be $0.01 higher than the next highest bid.

Non-Search Bidding

In addition to Sponsored Product ads served for keywords, you will also see ads in various "browse" placements across Instacart. These "Non-Search" ad placements include:

  1. General Departments / Aisles (ex. "Milk" or "Meat")

  2. Item Details page - Ads will appear under related products

  3. "Your Items" section - Includes a tailored list of products previously purchased by a customer

  4. Home page - When you first click into a retailer on Instacart

  5. Post Checkout as "Did You Forget"

There is currently no way to target specific non-search placements on Instacart. Non-search spend is determined by one bid which applies to each overall campaign. This bid is adjusted and optimized by Perpetua's ad engine automatically.

At Perpetua, we offer Non-Search Isolation which allows users to isolate their targeting strategy and reporting for all Non-Search placements. This feature is exclusive to Perpetua customers and not offered in Instacart's native console.

Article last updated January, 2022. If you find this information to be out of date, please contact

Did this answer your question?