At first blush, the results are good. Some of the ads -- which
are mainly aspirational, belonging to the genre found in
high-fashion magazines -- have garnered hundreds of thousands of
likes and an influx of new followers for the brands. Michael Kors,
for example, gained roughly 34,000 new followers 18 hours after its
first of four ads published, according to Instagram analytics firm
posted more big follower gains for the subsequent three ads and
currently has more than 1.4 million followers.)
But like its corporate parent Facebook once found, Instagram
will now be charged with explaining what value those likes and
follows actually yield. It's already pushing out surveys on behalf
of advertisers to a group of users who've seen the ad, as well as a
control group that hasn't, the day after each campaign ends to
gauge metrics like ad recall and brand awareness, according to an
Instagram won't disclose the reach of its ads, but it appears to
be considerable based on the number of likes they've racked up.
Take the Ben & Jerry's picture of a man's hand holding a pint
of "Scotchy Scotch Scotch," a limited time offering inspired by the
Will Ferrell character Ron Burgundy. Posted Saturday, it currently
has 249,000 likes along with upwards of 6,500 comments. And Lexus's
sunset poolside vista snapped in Palm Springs, Calif., has 185,000
followers with nearly 6,000 comments.
While comments contain their share of invective that rails
against the premise of Instagram advertising, plenty of users
express appreciation of the images in the various ads.
To assure that image quality is high and in keeping with the
app's aesthetic, Instagram has a review process
in place where every ad will be evaluated before it's eligible
to be put in front of users. Whether it can maintain that high bar
as it tries to scale the business remains to be seen.
Nitrogram analyzed the sentiment of comments appended to Michael
Kors's four ads and found there was a roughly equal mix of positive
and negative comments on the first. But the percentage on the
positive side swelled to 73% for the second ad; to 89% for the
third; and to 64% for the fourth.