On Thursday, the photo filtering and sharing site released early metrics from its initial advertising campaigns, and the results ought to excite social media-savvy marketers. On its company blog, Instagram writes that it analyzed metrics like reach, ad recall, and brand awareness across four of its initial ad campaigns. The results, the blog post says, are far more telling than other markers such as comments, which often skew negative.
In terms of reach, all four campaigns proved successful, with Levi's ads reaching 7.4 million people in the U.S. over nine days and Ben & Jerry's ads reaching 9.8 million over eight. Ad recall, which measures consumers' ability to…well, recall an ad, was also up.
Brand awareness increased by about 10 percent across all the brands. A single ad for Ben & Jerry's, for example, improved the ice cream company's brand awareness by 17 percent. In its blog post, Instagram conceded that users may have noticed the campaigns more because ads were only recently introduced on the site.
This isn't the first indication that Instagram ads just might work. Recently, for instance, a Michael Kors Instagram ad garnered 98,000 likes in just four hours.
"As we emphasized when introducing ads, our goal is to make them enjoyable, engaging, and natural to Instagram, so we started by partnering with brands that were already great members of the community," Instagram wrote in the blog post. Among other prominent companies, Lexus, Burberry, and General Electric placed ads on the photo-sharing site.
Despite the positive results of the campaigns it analyzed, Instagram also experienced an outpouring of vitriol from some users over the introduction of advertising. As Instagram ads become more prevalent and, at a certain point, expected, that level of backlash could die down.
Whether users will abandon the platform if advertising becomes mainstream remains to be seen. If they stick with the site, though, and Instagram is able to promise marketers the same level of brand awareness it's demonstrating today, it could become a worthy--and less expensive--alternative to traditional advertising platforms like television, and may even steal some ad market share from its own parent company, Facebook.