Pay Per Click

How to Use MailChimp’s Instagram Ad Integration

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Marketing automation platform MailChimp recently announced that Instagram ads can now be purchased, created, and managed right from your MailChimp dashboard.

With email being 40% more effective than Facebook and Twitter marketing combined, MailChimp wondered – what if we combined the best of both worlds?

MailChimp had already unveiled their Facebook ads integration earlier this year and made the bold statement to MailChimp users that combined email marketing and Facebook ads see an average ROI of 51% as opposed to interest-based marketing alone.

Now, Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram, is also getting in on the action. This means that, by using MailChimp, you will have access to two of the most visually driven social media networks, along with all the power of email marketing, right at your fingertips.

Why Use MailChimp for Instagram Ad Buying and Creation?

The obvious question is why would you bother going through MailChimp when you can buy Instagram ads from the source? After all, isn’t buying from the source the best way to ensure quality results?

By using MailChimp, you get the same features and functionality that Instagram marketers enjoy, and you get to combine those features with MailChimp’s robust email marketing technology.

Here are more reasons to combine Instagram ads and MailChimp:

  • Get a simple ad-builder that allows you to create vibrant ads for Facebook and Instagram in seconds.
  • Take advantage of Instagram’s visual-centric culture to promote your products and build hype around your services.
  • You can target users on Instagram using your current MailChimp email lists, or find users similar to your subscribers for broader social outreach.
  • Creating Instagram ads using MailChimp nets 50% more revenue than interest targeting alone.
  • Using MailChimp’s ad-builder keeps your email and social branding consistent for greater recognition and loyalty.

Plus, the ad buying and creation process is super simple. Let’s look at how easy it is.

Step-by-Step: Set Up Facebook and Instagram Ads in Mailchimp

Step 1: Start a Campaign

To create a campaign, click the “Create Campaign” button in the upper right-hand corner.

Create Campaign

Benefit: Improved Productivity

Since you never have to leave MailChimp to manage your Instagram and Facebook ads, you stay more productive. Less switching between platforms means you get more done in less time.

Step 2: Tell MailChimp You Want to Create an Ad

You’re going to get a popup window. Click “Create an Ad” to proceed.

What do you want to create

Benefit: No Added Fees

One of the most attractive aspects of the new Instagram ads integration is that MailChimp doesn’t hit you with a transactional upcharge. You will pay the same amount for an Instagram ad through MailChimp as you would on the Instagram platform. The same goes for Facebook. With no extra fees and all the features of both platforms rolled into one, the real question is: Why wouldn’t you use MailChimp to buy and manage Instagram ads?

Step 3: Identify Your Campaign

Type a name for your campaign and click the “Begin” button.

Create an Ad

After naming your campaign, and to enable social marketing, you will need to give MailChimp access to your personal Facebook account. Any pages that you manage on Facebook and Instagram will also be connected to your personal account. You can choose to restrict MailChimp from accessing certain portions of your profile – your friends list for example – but you will receive greater functionality the more access you allow.

Step 4: Connect Facebook

Click the “Connect Facebook” button to connect to your Facebook account. This will connect both your Facebook and Instagram accounts to your MailChimp account.

Audience Budget Content

Enter your username and password and click the “Log In” button.

Facebook Login Page

Benefit: Expanded Outreach

Allowing Facebook access also lets you combine your MailChimp email lists with Facebook selected audience segments, MailChimp’s existing customer relationship management platform, and e-commerce integration for even greater outreach.

NOTE: You will have to remove any browser ad-blocker extensions before proceeding to the Facebook or Instagram ad-builder.

Once your accounts are linked, you will be able to toggle on or off Facebook and Instagram ad distribution. You’ll always know where your ad budget is going.

Ad Channel

Step 5: Choose Your Audience

Select who you want to target with the ad, either “Contacts on a list,” “People similar to your list contacts,” or “People with interests you define” and fill in the requested information.

Option 1: Contacts on a list

To target “Contacts on a list,” select the first option. Then select one of your email lists and the segment.

Audience Contacts on a List

Option 2: People similar to your list contacts

To target “People similar to your list contacts,” select the second option. Then select one of your email lists and the segment as well as the country. You can optionally include the contacts on your list in the targeting. Finally, refine your audience by selecting the geographic location, gender, age range, and interests.


Option 3: People with interests you define

When you select “People with interests you define,” you will be prompted for information about location, gender, age range, and interests.

Audience People with Interest you Define

Benefit: Advanced Targeting

Buying Instagram ads on MailChimp allows you to be precise with your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. You can narrow down your audience list to the tiniest detail.

Step 6: Establish Your Ad Budget and Start/End Dates

Set a budget for your ad campaign, and establish the start and end dates.


Benefit: Low Minimum Ad Spend

The minimum amount you must pay to see your ads in rotation is $5/day (the same minimum on Instagram). The amount you actually pay will be determined by the number of clicks your ads receive. However, your budget can be shared between Facebook and Instagram in whatever ratio you prefer. You can also choose the duration of your campaign and display times.

Step 7: Populate Your Ad with Engaging Content

Now to the content creation stage. Click the “Add Content” button and fill in the form. Then click the “Save & Close” button.


Benefit: Simple Re-Use of Saved Content

By using MailChimp to create your Instagram ads, you have access to all the elements that have made your brand what it is today. Photographs, logos, and campaign concepts are all at your disposal. This is great if you’re an e-commerce marketer because you’ll be able to access all your product photography for a faster ad creation process.

Step 8: Preview Your Ad and Toggle between Social Networks

After you click the “Save & Close” button, you will see a preview of your ad. You can easily toggle between the Facebook and Instagram views of your ad.

Edit Content

Benefit: Captivating Storytelling for Greater Engagement

With MailChimp ads, you have two ad types to choose from: Static and Carousel, the latter of which is a series of up to 10 images or videos that users can swipe through to enjoy the ultimate visual storytelling experience.

Step 9: Submit Your Ad to Facebook and Instagram

Finally, click the “Submit Ad” button in the upper right-hand corner to submit your ad. (You must have a payment method on file and account funded in order to submit.)

Finish Later Submit Ad

Benefit: Get Ads Online Faster

MailChimp makes it easy for you to stay on your customers’ minds. Creating your ads all in one location allows you to simultaneously blast your ads out to your audience whether they’re browsing Instagram or Facebook.

Step 10: Measure Engagement with Detail Ad Reports

MailChimp makes it simple to determine how your audience is responding to any given Instagram ad. At a glance, you can see the total views, clicks, and return on investment (ROI) for each ad in play.

Instagram Spring Ad

You can also measure:

  • The number of people who saw your ad
  • Total impressions (number of times your ad was displayed)
  • How many clicks your ad received
  • The number of unique clicks versus those who repeatedly clicked
  • The percentage of ad viewers who clicked your ad
  • Total number of ad comments, shares, and likes
  • Your average daily budget and the cost per each click

Benefit: More Powerful E-commerce Marketing

It’s said that nearly half of MailChimp’s 15 million users have an Instagram storefront. If you use MailChimp for e-commerce and you’ve connected your account to Magento, Shopify, or WooCommerce, you will have access to additional reports that include total orders made, ROI, top 10 products sold, first-time customers, average order amount, and total revenue.

In short, using MailChimp for Instagram ad buying and management is quick and easy, and allows you to reach your target audience in new ways. To help you get the most out of Instagram ad integration on MailChimp, here are a few best practices to add to your social media marketing toolbox.

The Guide to Better Engagement with Instagram Ads

Create Relevant and Targeted Ads

Creating your first ads on Instagram can be difficult, as you don’t know what visual subjects and styles will most resonate with your audience. If you’re already using MailChimp to engage with your target base, you might have some idea what it takes to move the needle. But with Instagram, you’re dealing with an entirely new universe.

And since the idea is to get noticed, you might be tempted to create a big splash, such as with something jarring, out of the ordinary, or controversial. Be warned, however. Instagram and Facebook users are both given the option to hide ads they don’t connect with, which means your ads may never be seen by those users again.

Instead, create ads that focus on what your audience wants and needs, and then deliver. Here’s a good example from PetSmart:

Petsmart Instagram Cat Ad

A basic photograph of a kitty cat is transformed into a poignant advertisement for the PetSmart blog, which then starts the prospect on the buyer’s journey.

This ad from EatSprig offers ways to eat healthy for those with limited time and budget. A colorful plate with a creative presentation is all it takes to drive more interest in the food delivery brand.

Sprig Ad

In other words, be clear and direct about what you are offering so that there is no confusion and only interest in following your brand further.

Start Slowly

There are a million and one ways to create visually stunning Instagram ads. If you are unsure about what ads your audience might respond to, start small. Don’t focus on selling your products and services or reaching any of your other business goals.

Instead, run small-scale campaigns that focus on learning more about your audience, just as they may be learning more about you. With valuable analytics data under your belt, you will have at your disposal all the materials you’ll need to create a larger-scale campaign that continues to deliver positive results.

Split Testing

When testing the waters with your audience, split test a few different ads, or carousel ads, to determine which ones gain the most traction. You can even try your hand at video ads if that’s more your style (or your audience’s style). Don’t just test the visual aspects of your ads. For best results, you’ll also want to test the times your ads are displayed, as well as the calls-to-action you use.

Clear Photography Focused on Experiences

Many of today’s social media users (here’s looking at you, Millennials) are more driven by experiences than they are about riches and possessions. For that reason, you would do well to create images that intersperse your products and services with depictions of real people enjoying the journey of life.

Take this ad from Levi’s, for example. The focus of the photograph is a woman having the adventure of a lifetime. She happens to be wearing a Levi’s jacket, and the jacket looks great, doesn’t it?

Levis Jacket Ad

Subtle Branding

Don’t shove your brand in your users’ faces. Today’s social media users also aren’t too keen on blatant advertising. Instead, make your branding almost an afterthought, as in this ad for Taco Bell.

Notice how the image looks like it could have been taken from someone’s personal Instagram account. The branding isn’t blatant, and yet Taco Bell’s products are clearly displayed, and everyone in the photograph is having a blast. I know this still might not sway you to eat Taco Bell for breakfast, but you get the point.

Breakfast TacoBell Ad Insta

Here is an Instagram ad by Macy’s. Notice how the Macy’s branding itself is nonexistent. The spotlight is on some of the other brands the department store carries. Even more important, it features something useful – a themed color palette for the season.

Macys Instagram Ad


With 700 million Instagram users, and with an almost assured ROI of +50% simply by using the MailChimp/Instagram ad integration with your current email subscriber lists, you can’t go wrong making the most of this magnificent conjoining of marketing platforms.

MailChimp plans to add more ad channels by the end of the year. As if Facebook and Instagram weren’t enough, soon you will have even more tools at your disposal, and more efficiency, to reach your audience in ways you never imagined.

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About the Author: Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. He helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement, and conversion.

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