Less than two months after Instagram debuted ads on its mobile photo sharing app, the results are in: They work!
At least that’s according to Instagram itself, which obviously has a stake in saying they worked. More than that, it surely made certain that they would work by allowing a select group of four brands that already were active on the Facebook property to do campaigns. So take the positive results for what they are, which is a very early look provided by the very company that stands to benefit from what it characterizes as positive results.
Anyway, the gist is that Instagram and the four brands that did campaigns, including Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s, believe that their campaigns reached a broad swath of users even with a very light ad load per user. And given the brand-oriented metrics they cite, it’s clear that the company views Instagram as a brand advertising medium more like television than, say, Google’s search or most display ads.
Here are the results they provided:
- All four initial ad campaigns measured were successful at delivering the broad reach our advertisers were seeking.
- The marketers achieved a high impact with a very low average frequency of ad impressions per user.
- Levi’s reached 7.4 million people in the U.S. across a nine-day period, targeting people aged 18-34.
- Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million people in the U.S. over eight days, targeting people aged 18-35.
- Across the four campaigns, there was a 32-point incremental lift in ad recall per campaign for people who were repeatedly exposed to a particular campaign versus control groups.
Across the four campaigns, there was a ten-point incremental lift in brand message awareness per campaign for people who were repeatedly exposed to a particular campaign versus control groups.
In particular, seventeen percent of people who saw a single ad for Ben & Jerry’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch-flavored ice cream not only became aware of the new flavor, they also associated it with the brand.
All that said, Instagram took pains to point out that these are very early tests whose results may or may not prove out as the company expands its ad program. Indeed, its Tumblr post acknowledges, “We believe that early campaigns may benefit from an overall increase in awareness of ads on Instagram due to their recent introduction.” In other words, they’re a novelty right now, so they’re bound to get people checking them out, but there’s no telling yet whether they will continue to attract this much attention going forward. The company said it would continue to “optimize” ad formats.
Still, if Instagram can replicate the results with other brands, it could help Facebook grow its mobile ad business even faster. According to a new report from eMarketer, the social network is set to remain the No. 2 seller of mobile ads. Although it is still quite a bit behind Google, it’s gaining. Facebook’s share of the mobile ad market will rise from 9% last year to 16% this year, while Google’s share will fall from 49.8% to 41.5%.