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How Instagram Ads Frontrunner Michael Kors Cashed in on the Network’s Biggest Day Ever


Thanksgiving is perfect for Instagram.


My feed was chalk full of food-porn on Thursday and I’m sure yours looked identical (let’s be honest, Thanksgiving tables generally have the exact same ingredients).

And because we all wanted to show off our cranberry sauce, Instagram recorded it’s biggest volume day ever, which is a record they also set last Thanksgiving. The most notable difference is that on Thanksgiving 2013, Instagram didn’t double it’s posts from the previous day like they did in 2012. This isn’t surprising, the network is more established, and users are posting more regularly this year. But they still set the record.

Why do we post so many pictures on Thanksgiving? Because we spend the full day with our families, forced to put down our cell phones and engage with real people we really care about in real life…it’s awful. But Instagram doesn’t require the time investment that other networks do, so we can afford to sneak a quick photo of the table and a scroll through our feed. The quick, consumable connection to your social clique made possible by Instagram is undeniable.

There is a unique problem presented with this type of activity: How a brand stands out among so many posts?

How do you engage an audience who’s time on the network is sporadic and brief? Well, Michael Kors – the first brand to use Instagram Ads – showed their chops on the network once again, and answered that question in their own style.

How Michael Kors Made an Impression on Thanksgiving

When every photo around you is turkey and stuffing, how do you stand out? Do you share a photo of a Thanksgiving table and hope that it’s prettier than all the other Thanksgiving tables? Not if you’re Michael Kors.

The luxury brand knows their audience, and knows why their followers follow them. So they did what they do best, and shared their visually appealing product, but tacked on some Thanksgiving messaging.

This photo was captioned “Thinking of you all on Thanksgiving! #CelebrateWith”…Now, that might not seem relevant, but with 66.3K likes, who am I to critique? Michael Kors fans don’t follow Michael Kors for their pictures of stuffing and centerpiece cornucopias.

Michael Kors upped their standard one post per day and posted twice on Thanksgiving; neither of which involved turkey, and both of which outperformed average engagement:

Michael Kors Instagram Thanksgiving

The luxury brand known for their watches and purses (or so my wife tells me) paired their Thanksgiving posts with a Holiday-themed #CelebrateWith tag. The posts outperformed their other posts from the week, averaging over 60K engagements on the Holiday posts.

How Did Instagram Ads Make This Possible?

Michael Kors’ average engagement per post before launching their ad campaign on November 1 was 37.4K likes and 335 comments per post. Their average engagement on posts is now over 55K for the month of November – nearly 20K more likes and comments per post – and their audience has grown by an average of 2,979 fans each day throughout the last week (not to mention the 30K+ fans they gained in the day following their first ad).

Screenshot 2013-12-01 15.51.40

Another interesting (and semi-unrelated) take-away I noticed while putting this engagement rate chart together: In weeks that Michael Kors posts more than 10 photos or videos, their engagement rate plummets. This is where analyzing your social activity allows you to save an amazing amount of time. If you manage an account that sees a trend like this, you can rest easy knowing you don’t need to spend time on more than 7-10 posts a week.

How Michael Kors Used #CelebrateWith Brand The Holidays

Michael Kors took advantage of the branding opportunity to stage what seems to be a holiday theme. Their #CelebrateWith hashtag was used again on Saturday, and has garnered a total of 6 million potential impressions on Instagram alone. The tag has already been used on 38 other photos, and on the backend, allows Michael Kors to track and compare various themes, analyzing the engagement difference between #MKTimeless, #CelebrateWith, and their other branded hashtags.

Michael Kors #CelebrateWith Instagram Campaign

What’s The Lesson?

The big take-away from the Michael Kors campaign is that any brand can capitalize on the holiday season, and – especially for B2C brands – find a unique way to engage with an eager audience who’s already preparing for a big purchasing season.

By posting images that don’t get lost in the Thanksgiving norm, Michael Kors was able to stand out and create a conversation around their brand, and because of the nature of their photos, their specific products as well.

To find out how Simply Measured’s full suite of Instagram reports can be used to help you understand and plan your holiday content, be sure to check out our full suite of Instagram analytics, from account reports, to competitive analysis and keyword monitoring.

Learn More About Instagram Analytics

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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