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Instagram reveals that its ads appear to be working

It’s been almost a week since the first Instagram ad was launched. Despite appearing to not be taken using a simple camera phone – which may irk some of the photo-sharing community’s loyalists – it turns out that it performed quite well.  According to a report, five percent of the total impression made by the early ad have led to Likes, and it was deemed “tremendous” by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Nitrogram, an Instagram analytics platform, released data they’ve culled on the ad featuring a Michael Kors watch. Here are some of the more important facts to consider:

1. Compared to the response garnered by the last five non-promoted grams posted by the official @michaelkors Instagram account, the sponsored ad received almost four times the usual amount of ❤ clicks.

2. A typical Michael Kors post on Instagram receives an average of 46,000 ❤ clicks. The sponsored ad received almost 218,000 ❤ clicks during the first 18 hours it was live.

3. 20 percent of the comments posted on the sponsored post were negative in nature.

4. Only one percent expressed outright intention to purchase the product being advertised.

5. On average, the Michael Kors account gains over 2,000 new followers for every post featured on Instagram’s popular page. The sponsored ad gained the Michael Kors account almost 34,000 new followers, 16 times more than the usual amount.

6. The total number of people who actually saw the sponsored ad on their Instagram feed is estimated at almost 4.4 million.

The last statistic is actually based on Systrom’s earlier “five percent” statement from the recent GigaOm Roadmap conference; Nitrogram’s original estimate was an audience of 6.5 million users. In an interview with GigaOm founder Om Malik, Systrom revealed two more important figures: Instagram now has over 150 million active users and over 55 million photos are shared through the app on a daily basis.

“Are they making us hundreds of millions of dollars per day? No, but that wasn’t the goal,” Systrom explained to Malik. “We announced we’d take it slow doing it the right way. We measure the ‘how it’s going’ by how the roll out is going and how we’re making this transition.”

Clearly, having an ad peddled by the media-sharing app has its perks and can certainly best the results most brands produce using their own marketing strategies. Right now, there’s no real way to ensure how relevant specific ads are to the users that see them on their feeds – by default all users see all ads – people may be hitting like only because the photo looks pretty, not necessarily because they intend to buy the product. But at the end of the day, the prettier the picture, the less jarring the infiltration of ads become to the service. 

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