Michael Kors' Instagram ad generated 33K new followers, 370% more likes

by Nick Cicero on Nov 05, 2013
Less than 100 seats left for our 17th conference, Social Fresh 2015, in Tampa, Sept 23-25.

Featured speakers include Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Sarah Evans, Scott Monty, Twitter, Priceline, Patron, American Eagle, The Today Show, Buffer, Dannon and more.
>> Reserve your seat today

After last month’s demonstration of what Instagram ads would look with Levi’s, Michael Kors became the first brand to actually post an Instagram ad this week, featuring a luxury watch amidst a table of macarons.

Nitrogram, an analytics platform for Instagram, took a closer look at this first sponsored post and analyzed the key metrics behind their first  including engagement and estimated reach, a few of their results are below:

The post generated 33,000 new followers for Michael Kors

That’s 16 times the average number for the brand’s past 5 non-promoted posts, which were all featured on Insatgram’s popular pagemichaelkors-ad-followers-gained

As a comparison, here are the follower graphs for two previous Michael Kors posts



The ad generated 370% more likes and was likely seen by 6.7MM People


The post generated more than 218,000 likes within 18 hours, 370% more likes than the average of their last five posts.

According to Nitrogram. judging by this time decay in likes  and reach as compared to their five previous posts it was likely the ad was shown only once in the user’s feed, unlike on other networks where promoted posts stay longer in the feed. 

As Instagram Ads continue, it will be interesting to see if these numbers increase, as right now they show a strong surge initially, but then trail off both in new followers and engagement.

Users Talk Back

While the number of likes was significantly higher than average, the comments on the post reflected a disdain for advertising by people on the platform. This is somewhat expected, and Nitrogram found that 20% of the comments were negative on this post. As Instagram ads become more routine this will probably die down.


Instagram success for now will continue to be judged by engagement per post and increase in followers and while these numbers certainly provide a positive outlook, there are a lot of unknowns still.

GE has started rolling out their own Instagram ad this week as well, this time of a giant fan.

Will the introduction of new ads compete for attention? Will ads be shown more often? Only time will tell as we continue to watch how the ads develop.

Update: Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said of these ads this morning at the GigaOm Roadmap conference: “Over 5% of the impressions led to Likes on these ads that we’ve run. That’s pretty tremendous considering most of the ads we see on the internet we ignore.”




Post Author

Nick Cicero is the Editor at Social Fresh and a Digital Marketing Consultant. Formerly of Expion and Livefyre, Nick has experience building social campaigns for Sony PlayStation, Winn-Dixie, Eminem, Teen Vogue and more. He’s a fan of playing...

  • http://www.travisbernard.com/ Travis Bernard

    So how much did the ad cost?

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Not public yet. Looking into that now.

  • http://jetcitydigital.com/ Ron Schott

    So, I think the next question (and it’ll come quickly) is: now what? They got all those new followers, but what can they get them to do on Instagram?

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Clearly, they will use them to generate awesome amounts of “buzz”. Seriously, it is a good question Ron. I think most of the fashion brands are measuring Instagram impact now as an awareness of their brand, new products, campaigns. It is more complicated than measuring clicks on a link for sure, but plenty of fashion brands (and other big brands) spend on hard-to-measure awareness campaigns.

    I would not recommend a B2B company or small business dive into buying Instagram ads anytime soon without proving an impact first.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ryancohn Ryan Cohn

    From the look of those Follower and Like charts, I would assume that Instagram is running ads with accelerated pacing (showing the ads as often as possible early on), rather than standard pacing (showing ads evenly throughout the campaign run). That would be quite different from Facebook’s ad platform, which runs standard pacing. Both options are available on Twitter.

  • Nick Cicero

    Definitely, you can see that they somewhat dropped off at first, then took off.

  • AMLazzara

    I think that ultimately the success will be on how the creative execution of these types of ads will be handled. Of course I am guessing but I would think that there would be a premium for these types of ads.

  • Veronica Segovia

    What would be great to see is how much they actually paid for this ad or how much other advertisers can expect to pay. I’m sure it’s not a real decision factor for the big players in the game, but for a small business it would be good to know what options might be available in a visual platform like Instagram. Does anyone have speculation as to what these would cost?

  • http://room214.com jasoncormier

    I remember when the first Twitter ad opportunities came out, and they were pretty pricey to start (I believe you needed a minimum budget of $15k if I’m remembering correctly). I wouldn’t be surprised if Instagram had big minimums to start.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Definitely a premium, or rather a large minimum buy, for now I suspect. And a bit of selective screening on FB’s part. It will be interesting how much they open up these ads. It will probably be a lot like Twitter’s ad product, keep it high minimum and limited for a couple years before opening it up to anyone. But who knows…

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Great analogy. Completely agree.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    I suspect this was in the high 5 figures

  • Veronica Segovia

    Yes, it’s still recommended to spend at least 15K a month in Twitter! Their promoted tweets/hashtags ran at like 10K each at the beginning. Crazy money to be made!

  • Arron George

    Instagram ads are going to be a powerful tool for companies as long as they use smart images and share useful/attractive content.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    The more useful the better for many brands. Attractive will work for many too, especially fashion/retail. I think the real key will be targeting. If you can use Facebook like targeting, it would be a great result.

  • http://jasonsadler.com/ Jason HeadsetsDotCom

    As someone who is opposed to sponsored ads on Instagram, all these Likes and Followers are great, but I’d love to know the sales of the watch pictured on that day. And subsequently overall sales figures for Michael Kors the day before, the day of, and the day after. I get that this opportunity was great for brand recognition, but I can’t imagine there are enough brands to sustain Instagram’s sponsored post model if it’s only a play for eyeballs and vanity metrics.

    That being said, if it generated substantial revenue, good on Michael Kors and Instagram.

  • Shwinn aka horrificmedium

    And there’s the issue – what’s the measurable here? Can you class it as a microconversion? Does the ad console for Instagram provide accurate impressions data, demographics, etc – because that data would of course be valuable.

  • HSH

    I manage a home furnishing ecomm site, but we’re also a manufacturer with resellers. I utilize Pinterest and Facebook to push awareness of our products and encourage search, but am curious if Instagram is also a viable channel or just something else I have to keep current and manage. Not sure if it’s right for our audience.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    There is no real search opportunity there yet. And I suspect images that would work best on Instagram are different than the media you use on other social networks right now. I think you can hold off.