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Ben & Jerry's Is Early Winner in Instagram Ad Race

User comments are sweeter for some sponsored posts

Instagrammers scream for ice cream, in a good way. Ben and Jerry are getting the hang of Instagram ads, demonstrating that not every sponsored photo is an unwelcome intrusion.

Millions of US Instagram users are adjusting to marketing from brands, and the ads are even leading to an influx of new followers for the companies. If there is a brand that is benefiting from the new advertising avenue, it is Ben & Jerry’s, according to data shared by top Instagram tracking firms Statigram and Curalate.

The ice cream men are scooping up new followers and amassing “likes” more than any company that has participated in the rollout of the first Instagram ads.

Also, the negative comments that have plagued other product placements are not as pronounced on Ben & Jerry’s posts.

“Comments on these ads seem much more positive than they were on [Michael] Kors and GE's,” said Romain Ouzeau of Statigram. “Most of them include mentions which of course have a positive impact on engagement and reach.”

Companies like Michael Kors, Levi’s, Lexus and GE have also run sponsored Instagram photos. In all instances, the posts have led to a flood of negative comments, but also a surge in followers and likes, the data show.

“Brands will want to exploit Instagram ads to drive followership,” Apu Gupta of Curalate said. “A follow effectively invites brands into the screens of consumers.”

In the case of Ben & Jerry’s, which has run four Instagram ads so far, followers are up about 20 percent, gaining more than 50,000 new followers, Statigram said.

The effectiveness of Instagram in driving sales is still unknown, according to Sharad Verma, CEO of Piqora. Still, “Likes” show reach, and brands care about them as a measure of engagement. On average, Piqora said 1,000 “Likes” equals 1 million impressions on Instagram.

Here’s a look at the early days of Instagram advertising and what we’ve learned, so far:

Ben & Jerry’s first ad was the most liked with 386,877, that’s a more than 2,000 percent increase from the average post from the company.

Lexus has the fewest followers of any of the early ad partners with about 37,000, but it amassed nearly 190,000 “Likes” on its first ad.

-Increases in likes ranged from 5X to 88X versus the brands' typical posts, with the average being 32X, according to Curalate.

-Ben & Jerry’s average daily follower growth went from 429, pre-ads, to more than 7,200, post-ads.

-A GE ad 3 weeks ago —an image of a high-tech engine— drew 60,000 “Likes,” but the same image posted organically only drew 2,300 “Likes.”
 

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