Studies Show Instagram Ads Boost Recall, Awareness

instagram-logo-200pxIn early November Instagram introduced its first brand ads. Inaugural advertisers included Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, Levi’s, Lexus and Michael Kors, among a few others. Now the Facebook-owned company is out with preliminary results and case studies for some of these initial campaigns with a spotlight on Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s.

In presenting the two campaigns, Instragram reports on standard brand metrics rather than “performance” metrics (e.g., CTRs) or social metrics (e.g., Likes). The effectiveness measures were reach, recall and awareness.

Instagram Ads

In its blog post Instagram shared the overall results of its first four “completed campaigns,” including the Ben & Jerry’s and Levi’s placements. Here’s the company’s verbatim discussion of the metrics:


  • 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

Ad Recall: 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

While these case studies are obviously, entirely self-serving — arguing that Instragram is indeed an effective brand advertising channel — their findings appear validated by an independent study from Simply Measured. In that study the firm compared the performance of two car-branding campaigns on Instagram and Google+: Toyota USA on Google+ and Lexus (also owned by Toyota) on Instagram.

Simply Measured reported that the Instagram campaign outperformed the Google+ campaign “on almost every single aspect”:

From an initial analysis of the pilot campaigns, we found that the Lexus campaign, ran on Instagram, outperformed ToyotaUSA’s campaign on Google+ on almost every single aspect, including total engagement, followers growth and most importantly, post-campaign organic lift.

Below is the comparison across measurement criteria and metrics. You can read the full analysis here.

Google+ and Instagram comparison

Related Topics: Facebook | Facebook: Advertising | Facebook: Instagram | Social Media Marketing | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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