Over the past six months, the company measured the performance
of its campaigns using "organic" Instagram-style photos -- defined
as a non-glossy pictures shot outside of a studio -- and found that
they performed far better than their traditional-looking
"We always liked organic content better," said Laundry Service
founder and president Jason Stein. "We noticed it was doing a lot
better so we started recommending it more and more to our
Here's what Laundry Service found: Using regular photos, the
company saw a 2.35% click-through rate. With Instagram-style shots,
that increased to as high as 8%. When tying ad performance to
sales, Laundry Service saw conversion rates increase by 25%. The
data was drawn from over 100 million impressions, according to Mr.
Stein, spanning campaigns from more than 15 advertisers.
"It's not an opinion," Mr. Stein said. "This is what was working
The agency has now started an Instagram division under Liz
Eswein, whose @newyorkcity handle is followed by 1.2 million people
on the platform. Laundry Service plans to further build out the
network of Instagram photographers Ms. Eswein has cultivated, which
it will lean on to shoot photos and videos for advertisers.
Ian Schafer, CEO of digital agency Deep Focus, said Instagram photos can, at
times, work better than standard ad creative, but not always. "I
wouldn't fire all of my photographers and just source photos from
Instagram," he said. "Sometimes you want beautiful, food-porny
product shots and you're just not going to get that from
There's also always the chance that the "authentic" Instagram
aesthetic loses popularity, particularly as consumers see it
enlisted more often in advertising.