Instagram Promotions. Are they worth it?

On October 28th I paid $10 to promote the following post for 2 days.

This isn’t the most scientific experimentation. I literally promoted a single post with a small $10 budget. But maybe, just maybe it will give you some insight before you drop any of your own cash.

Before the promotion, the post had 157 likes and 0 comments and my account had 843 followers.

When you select to promote an Instagram post you have some options. First, your budget, then your objective, where clicking the ad takes the visitor, who you want your audience to be and how many days you want the promotion to last. As you’ll see in the screenshot below, for $10 Instagram estimated my promotion would reach 3600 – 9600 people.

11:59 PM on 10/28 here’s where my post stats stood:

+7 likes (164 total)
+7 followers (850 total)

11:59 PM 10/29 with 10 hours left on the promotion:

+10 likes (174)
-1 followers (849)

By the end of the promotion:

+18 likes (175)
+5 followers (848)


Above is a side by side comparison of the original stats vs the promoted ones. The $10 did get 632 views (and 635 engagement as you’ll see below), where without I was at 349. That said, Instagram estimated 3600-9600 and I’d say 632/635 is a very far cry from that estimate.
Below is more info as to who actually saw the promotion.
So, in conclusion, would I use Instagram ads? Personally no. With a large budget, multiple promoted posts and a very specific objective I think Instagram promotions could prove useful and worthwhile, but for miscellaneous images on personal accounts they seem to be far from worth it. Better instead to refine hashtags, produce more content and participate in Instagram pods if you have the opportunity.
Have you ever paid for a promotion on Instagram? What was your experience?

7 thoughts on “Instagram Promotions. Are they worth it?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this experiment! I recently did a similar thing myself on my photography Facebook page. They gave me a $30 coupon to “boost” one of my posts. I was similarly let down by the results; I think FB (and Instagram) definitely oversell on how many potential people you reach. Mine said upwards of 11k, but it only ended up reaching a little over 1.5k, and I didn’t gain ANY extra likes on my page. People shared and liked the post, but it did very little for my “brand” in the long run. Luckily I didn’t lose any money on it since it was a coupon, but it definitely didn’t sell me on putting my own cash toward boosting in the future.

    Like you said, a focused campaign with several images definitely yields better results. I’ve worked in marketing, especially social media marketing, and it’s pretty powerful stuff. However, you have to be willing to put a lot of money towards it, and the truth of the matter is that if you’re a small brand or just have a personal page, it might not be “worth it” for a long, long time.

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