Instagram rolled out its very first sponsored post on 1 November 2013.

Following Pinterest’s lead in trialling promoted pins earlier this year, Instagram has given fashion designer Michael Kors the opportunity to run the first advert on the photo sharing site. 

This could be a mixed blessing.

Nitrogram has worked out a few metrics to uncover how successful this inaugural run was.

According to Nitrogram’s research, the ad was shown once to a select demographic of US Instagram users, outside of Michael Kors’ followers. It was also displayed in-feed, the same way as standard Instagrams.

The ad achieved 218,000 likes within 18 hours, this is a 370% increase.

Engagement was four times higher than normal for Michael Kors non-promoted posts. Although interestingly the sponsored post wasn’t featured on Instagram’s 'most popular' feed, while later non-sponsored posts by Michael Kors were featured.

Obviously the knock-on effect worked for Michael Kors in the long run.

Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom stated that by November 6 "over 5% of the impressions led to Likes". Techcrunch believes this led to a global audience of nearly 4.5m.

Of course the number of likes doesn’t necessarily reflect positive engagement. 20% of comments left under the advert were negative while only a very small amount showed any positive support.

Only 20 people expressed a desire to purchase a product.

The major reward that Michael Kors can be grateful for are the 33,000 new followers it achieved in the 18 hours following the ad’s posting.

This is a very embryonic stage in sponsored Instagrams though. It’s difficult to tell how much of the above engagement was accrued just through the novelty, or notoriety, of being the first advert posted on Instagram.

The results speak for themselves in terms of increase, however time will tell how useful these new followers will be to the brand and what success other brands can expect in the future.

For more information on marketing on Instagram here’s the 10 most shared brands on Instavid.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 13 November, 2013 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (1)

David Somerville

David Somerville, Strategy Director at Fresh Egg

Instagram is always going to be a difficult one for many brands to consider using as a platform as in its nature it is not web-based and therefore metrics, such as traffic visits, go out the window.

It's definitely got lots of potential (used in the right way) for raising brand awareness, however finding ways to relate this back to ROI is the challenge.

Having said that, it can be used as a great channel to encourage user generated content, both online and offline - a UK surf magazine I know use it to source reader's photos to then print in the magazine every month.

almost 5 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.