Instagram Promotion: Is It Worth It?

Instagram is a pretty stressful business at the moment if you’re a blogger or influencer. In the last 6 months or so the algorithm change has meant that less people are seeing your posts, and generally if you follow lots of bloggers then 75% of them (basically, the non-mega-famous ones) will pretty much no longer appear in your feed. Our likes have gone down, engagements have become sparse and in general it’s all a bit shit.

There are a lot of ways to try and increase your engagement, like ensuring engagement on other profiles, commenting as much as you can, producing content that can be reposted by brands/pages and so on, but I tried out the new Instagram promotion feature to see whether it’d help my Instagram grow a little.

WHAT IS INSTAGRAM PROMOTION?

You basically pay any amount of money that you choose, and in return one of your Instagram posts is ‘sponsored’ and shows up on other people’s feeds, even if they don’t follow you. You can create certain settings, for example, which gender it points towards, and what age groups will see it. Instagram will tell you what sort of reach it will receive (an estimate) for the amount of money you’re going to pay.

WHAT’S THE COST LIKE?

To be fair it may not be as much as you think. I’ll get onto how much I spent in a mo.

WHAT’S THE INCENTIVE?

Generally, the idea is that your posts will be seen by other people that don’t follow you, and will encourage them to like your photos and hopefully follow you. It reaches people with similar interests to you as well, so hopefully the people who do see it will actually like your page in general. Along with this, each promotion links to a certain website of your choosing. When someone sees the promotion they’ll see ‘Learn More’ which can lead to either your blog, or an affiliate link (whatever you want really).

CAN ANYONE DO IT?

No – you have to have a ‘business account’ on Instagram. Most bloggers and companies have this, and it’s a free thing for you to set up (you’ll find ‘turn to business profile’ in your settings!).

WILL IT POST STRAIGHT AWAY?

All promotions are ‘checked’ by Instagram to make sure they follow their policy – so obvs no nudity or swearing. Most things are generally accepted, and for us bloggers they’re accepted within an hour or so.

HOW LONG DO THEY RUN FOR?

Well, as long as you’d like! You can set this yourself, but I think it’s usually around 1-10 days. Obviously, the more days you want, the more it will cost.

SO, WHAT DID I DO?

I chose an outfit photo post of mine (see above!), which then linked to my website. I paid £7 for a 7 day promotion, and this estimated to reach between 3,000-5,000 accounts. I set the promotion to be for females only (about 80% of my readership is female) and the age range was from 14-30.

AND… WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?

After 7 days, and £7 payment, I got 72 likes on my image, 3,433 impressions (which is how many people saw the promotion) and 6 clicks on my blog.

Now, you might think that sounds great, I think that’s pretty shite.

To put it in perspective, I paid £1.17 per click on my website, which just isn’t really worth it. If you think about other ways you could share a link to your site, such as tweets with hashtags, or Facebook posts on fashion blogging pages (which are both FREE), then the whole Instagram promotion seems a bit of a pointless activity. Sure, I only put £7 down for 7 days, so obviously you’d see better results if you put down triple the amount, but to be honest it still seems like an expensive way of promoting yourself.

WHAT ABOUT NEW FOLLOWERS?

I didn’t receive any dramatic increase in followers at all. Sure I probably got maybe 10-20 or so, but nothing that really stood out.

DO I RECOMMEND IT?

Not really. I feel like this service would be great for big businesses to increase sales, especially as they’ll be able to put big budgets towards it. If you’re looking for engagement and new followers, then I think there are much better (and cheaper) alternatives.

Let me know if you’ve tried it, or what your thoughts are on Instagram promotion!

NOW you can check out my new post all about free and organic ways to boost Instagram engagement! Read here.

R x

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45 Comments

  1. 25th March 2017 / 9:08 am

    Oh wow this is interesting to see! I was reading up on this as I wasn’t sure if it benefitted us as bloggers, I’ve seen bands/music pages and brands do it and it have a bigger reach and impact on there page. It’s such a shame that for you, and probably for many other bloggers, it was a waste of money and time x

    • 27th March 2017 / 5:58 pm

      It’s definitely something that would benefit a brand more than a blogger – it’s a shame that you need to have loads of money to help get new engagement, especially as instagram have made it so hard to engage now!

      R xoxo

  2. Parie
    25th March 2017 / 11:46 am

    This was such an interesting read, such a shame that it didn’t target more of an audience 🙁 ‘x

    • 27th March 2017 / 5:59 pm

      Glad you thought so babe! Me too, but it’s good to know how it works and whether to invest in or not!

      R xoxo

  3. 25th March 2017 / 12:32 pm

    What a useful post – never actually read anything like this / about this before, so it was really interesting. I know it wasn’t the biggest amount of money to lose – it was probs worth it to gain an insight like this, so you could write this fab post, but the results you got from it are pretty poor aren’t they. I really expected more!

    Nikki xx | http://www.lovelaughslipstick.com

    • 27th March 2017 / 5:59 pm

      I wasn’t too bothered about the amount as it was less than a tenner, and good to find out how effective it was, but as you say, deffo quite poor results!

      R xoxo

  4. 25th March 2017 / 1:17 pm

    Jeeeeesus! So not really worth it for the smaller influencer at all?! I agree, there are so many free ways to get out there on social media, this seems pointless. Spend the £7 on fab accessories or a Primark top to blog about

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x
    http://www.fashiondujour.co.uk

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:00 pm

      Exactly that! You may as well spend £7 on an item to blog about (and therefore get views on) than the promotion itself!

      R xoxo

  5. 25th March 2017 / 3:30 pm

    This is really interesting! When you’re a newer blogger and you want to get your numbers up, and you’re learning how to juggle between so may different platforms and up your photography/writing skills, it’s easy to see why this would be beneficial. Interesting to know that it wasn’t worth it

    http://thedianaedition.com

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:00 pm

      Yeah I think at the end of the day the paid promotion isn’t at all worth it! It’s so hard to build your following and readership as a blogger but there deffo are ways of doing it, that are also free.

      R xoxo

  6. 25th March 2017 / 11:40 pm

    Well, that’s just so disappointing, babe!! I haven’t run any promotion as of yet so I can’t speak for any other platforms but you’d surely expect a bit more from Insta. Btw, the photo is so beautiful & would be very eye-catching. Clueless why it didn’t do well. Something must be awfully wrong with the whole IG promotion because the pic is killer!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experience with it.
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:01 pm

      Yeah I think I imagined it not to be AMAZING but at least to gain some new followers and a spike in engagement, but not even that!

      R xoxo

  7. 26th March 2017 / 12:40 am

    Thanks for this! I’m starting to find Instagram a little bit infuriating for small business’s and was interested in whether this feature was worth while. Thanks for testing this and great post.

    Charlotte
    http://www.monnolife.com

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:01 pm

      There are deffo better free ways of going about engagement and getting your name out there! Thanks for reading!

      R xoxo

  8. 26th March 2017 / 8:16 am

    I love this post and the fact that you tried it out! I used to pay to promote my posts on Facebook and it was a similar sort of price and the results were always similar to what you have found above. I honestly believe in sticking to the free ways of promoting… I saw you tweet about this post and it brought me here, personally, I ignore sponsored posts on my Instagram feed and my interest in the subject/love of the outfit will always take me to that bloggers page/blog/social channel x

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:03 pm

      Oohh see I’ve not tried the Facebook one, so it’s good to know! I think I agree when it comes to instagram posts, I’m not always drawn to the sponsored post unless its a cool new brand or something!

      R xoxo

  9. Harriet
    26th March 2017 / 8:27 am

    Thanks for writing this. Iffy was an interesting read. £7 isn’t masses but on a regular basis it would add up. Also I think paying £1 per ten or so likes is pretty steep. I won’t be using this feature!

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:03 pm

      That’s the thing, it’s great to have so many views of the sponsored image, but 6 clicks for £7? Not worth it!

      R xoxo

  10. 26th March 2017 / 8:44 am

    Thanks for sharing this. My post today is about insta bots.. it’s sad to see they’re more effective than actually buying a sponsored post. And worrying..!

    A £1.17 CPC would be good for a lot of retail sites, but for a blog that’s just not going to cut the mustard is it!
    Xx

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:06 pm

      Just read the post, and it’s so worrying! I hate the idea of bots, but it genuinely seems more beneficial than the paid promotion. What is going on with the world!

      R xoxo

  11. Abi Street
    26th March 2017 / 12:40 pm

    Ooh this is really interesting! I’ve never thought about doing a paid promotion, and after reading this i’m quite glad that I haven’t.. It’s a shame that Instagram aren’t listening to their audience because the algorithm truly sucks! x

    Abi | abistreetx

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:07 pm

      Agreed! There was literally NOTHING wrong with instagram beforehand!

      R xoxo

  12. 26th March 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Compared to Facebook, I think this is a pretty good return! I’m happy to be able to pay right now because in a year ot two it will be too expensive with all the businesses having caught on. That being said, nothing can compete with quality organic content!

    Cheers

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Glad you found it good, it seems like you’re the only one though, haha! I haven’t tried Facebook but not heard good things so I think I’ll stick to organic ways, even if it is a bit slower.

      R xoxo

  13. 26th March 2017 / 5:55 pm

    This is such a fab post Robyn! How annoying that you didn’t really gain anything from it. At least it was only £7 you paid! Very interesting to read though. Instagram is a complete pain at the moment! Gweni xxx

    http://www.gbeauty.co.uk

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Thanks gorge! It was money I was prepared to use to test it out, but I am a bit disappointed with the results. Goes to show that organic growth is all we got!

      R xoxo

    • 27th March 2017 / 6:09 pm

      Facebook promotions seem to not have amazing results either, but I think they’d be better than instagram when it comes to click rates (more people go on FB and click on links than on insta generally).

      R xoxo

  14. 28th March 2017 / 4:33 pm

    Agree, it’s not worth it at all. Also I found out that promoting your Instagram through Facebook ads manager is cheaper than doing the ads directly from Instagram. At the end if your target is click to your blog or new followers, it’s not worth the price. Anyway I love your blog ^^

    • 30th March 2017 / 5:32 pm

      Ohhh interesting! I’ve not tried out any Facebook ads but I hear they’re better than Instagram! Thank you so much though!

      R xoxo

  15. 30th March 2017 / 7:22 pm

    This was really useful and good to know. I’ve never seen any other bloggers sponsored post in my feed, it always seems to be brands. £1+ per website click is a bit shocking actually as there’s so many alternatives! Thanks for sharing your findings

    • 1st April 2017 / 11:57 am

      Me too! I see some bloggers sponsored posts, but only generally ones I’ve already heard of before or already follow! So interesting. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      R xoxo

  16. 25th May 2017 / 5:15 pm

    This was so helpful! Just today I made my Instagram account a business account and playing around with the new features. I was curious as to how useful the promotion tool was. Is there a tool you would recommend to use instead?

    • 29th May 2017 / 10:19 am

      Thanks! I always think organic methods are best to be honest, sharing photos often and using hashtags. Most paid promotion methods just don’t pay off unless you have thousands to spend on them!

      R xoxo

    • 13th September 2017 / 5:22 pm

      Really not worth the money, is it? I think free ways of promotion, although perhaps a bit more time consuming, are way more beneficial.

      R xoxo

  17. roh
    7th April 2018 / 9:07 pm

    so what are the other better and cheaper alternatives that you’re suggesting???

    • Tahira
      11th April 2018 / 1:18 am

      Yes I would also like to know about organic growth methods

  18. Tahira
    11th April 2018 / 1:15 am

    Thank you for writing this post..! My test is currently running on instagram and I have similar thoughts. It’s NOT worth it. I am new to blogging and therefore experimenting differently methods to increase my audience.

    Do you have a post about how to do organic growth on instagram. Like you have mentioned above there are free ways for promoting your content. Can you please mention a few?

  19. Max
    29th July 2018 / 6:15 pm

    This is a very good article. Thank you for such a detailed explanation.Nowadays Instagram became the most popular space for advertisement and becoming popular or promoting your product.
    So lots of people think How to get followers on Instagram There are lots of ways, but the most popular and
    easy is to buy fast followers or promote your account using specialized bots like Bigbangram.

  20. 3rd August 2018 / 5:24 am

    Really interesting to read – thank you for writing! 🙂

  21. 6th August 2018 / 1:23 pm

    Thanks for this insight. I was curious to know if it really works and this is super helpful. Thanks for sharing and being honest.

  22. Ania
    10th August 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Thank you for a great article! I’ve been running small promotions and I was worried I was doing something wrong – my illustrations were getting a lot of likes, but not many people followed me. Recently, I got really frustrated because a small illustration got over 900 likes in 3 days, but only 16 people chose to follow me. I want to turn my account into a small business, so followers are important.

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