Michael Kors’ Huge ‘Likes’ Tally Provides Flipside to Rocky Instagram Ads Debut

First advertiser on the platform has a lot to dissect

Headshot of Christopher Heine

The debut of Instagram ads today seems like an emerging social media case study in the power of the consumer voice—in this case, it's a battle between Instagram's low-threshold Like button versus comments that people actually type out.

With Michael Kors taking the front-line lead as the first paid advertiser ever on the social-photos platform, Adweek earlier reported that the shrapnel was considerable as Instagram users were firing nasty complaints at the brand. 

That still appears to be the case, although it's probably slowed down as people around the nation begin to attend to their weekend plans. Still, over the last few hours, conversely, Michael Kors' "likes" for the ad have exploded, exceeding 150,000 at press time.

Based on our editorial team's research, the retailer's "likes" high in recent weeks on the platform was 85,000, while averaging about 50,000 per post. So while whatever Michael Kors is paying the Facebook-owned app for the engagement, the fashion marketer looks to be getting all kinds of bang for its buck. 

Michael Kors has 1.3 million Instagram followers, while there are 100 million monthly users on the platform. With those stats in mind, there is no "dislike" or "hate" button on Instagram to allow people who are too busy or lazy to type up their negative thoughts. And of course, there's no way to measure how many people quickly scroll past the Kors image.

But the dichotomy portrayed between the comments and likes is interesting, indeed. How Instagram users react to ads flowing through their news feed in the weeks ahead could be even more telling. 

After all, coming soon are promos from adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Burberry, General Electric, Levi's, Lexus, Macy's, PayPal and Starwood.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.