On Friday, Michael Kors was met with a resounding chorus of boos from Instagram users after the fashion designer ran the first advertisement on Facebook's social photo-sharing app. But while people on the internet are bound to hate pretty much every new feature a social media brand rolls out, it turns out the ad likely accomplished everything Michael Kors hoped it would.
According to the blog of Instagram marketing analytics platform Nitrogram, Michael Kors gained nearly 34,000 new followers in the 18 hours following its controversial sponsored photo. To put that figure in perspective, Nitrogram says Michael Kors added nearly 16 times as many followers with its sponsored post as it has usually added with non-sponsored posts. The sponsored posts increase viewership by pushing them to users who do not already follow the @michaelkors Instagram account, which now has more than 1.3 million followers. And in spite of the negativity aimed at Michael Kors by anti-advertising Instagram users, the post itself received almost four times as many likes as the average Michael Kors Instagram post.
The fate of Instagram ads, of course, will be borne out over time. For instance, it's possible that Michael Kors was able to gain an additional audience of people who were curious to see what an Instagram ad looked like, a novelty that will wear off for advertisers who make sponsored posts in the future. As Nitrogram points out, it's also unclear whether the people who saw the ad were a targeted demographic likely to purchase Michael Kors products in the future. This piece of information, along with the price Michael Kors paid for the ad, will help determine whether running ads on Instagram is a viable, cost-efficient play for ad buyers moving forward.