If the shoe fits: Why Michael Kors is reaping the rewards of betting big on Instagram's direct marketing

A tandem approach to social has paid dividends for the luxury brand.

Seemingly always one step ahead, Michael Kors was the first brand to make use of Instagram's advertising function in 2013. It bucked the trend again earlier this year when it revealed it was to be first out of the gate with the platform's new Marquee video ad feature, and it looks like the risk has paid off.

In September, Instagram scaled up its advertising business to implement a "seamless backend" so marketers could use it in tandem with sister company Facebook.

Michael Kors rose to the challenge, taking to the image sharing site to raise the profile of its shoe line and promote its 'Jet Set Six Collection', followed by a targeted follow up drive on Facebook.

For its Marquee campaign, which was designed to reach a huge swathe of users quickly, Michael Kors ran three videos starring model Lily Aldridge out and about in Paris wearing the shoes.

The Instagram drive comprised of multiple creative, and Michael Kors noted an increased brand awareness and ad recall in all four countries in which the spots ran. There was a 22-point lift in ad recall in the US, a 24-point lift in the UK, a 25-point lift in France and a 30-point lift in ad recall in Canada. The campaign also raised top of mind awareness in all four countries.

Bonjour! @LilyAldridge takes on the City of Light in our newest Jet Set 6 Collection. #JetSetGo

A video posted by Michael Kors (@michaelkors) on

When the Marquee finished rolling, the brand quickly created a custom audience of the hundreds of thousands of people who had watched the Instagram ad before remarketing in a targeted follow up campaign on Facebook.

When both drives ended, there was a significant increase in prospective customers. 200,000 people visited the designer's website in the following 30 days and of those visitors, the company saw traffic to its 'Jet Set 6' product page more than double.

“Our new Jet Set 6 imagery is perfectly suited for the Instagram experience" said Lisa Pomerantz, senior vice-president of global communications and marketing at Michael Kors, who added that the brand has "always been an early adopter of digital innovation."

The figures will be welcome news to the social network, which has been trying to sell brands the virtues of using the platforms together since the 'Facebookification' of Instagram in September.

When the image sharing site shifted towards Facebook's ad structure three months ago, it adapted its buying interface, Power Editor and ads API. Speaking to The Drum at the time, Facebook’s director for the UK and Ireland Stephen Hatch said the services were strong individually but "incredibly powerful together".

Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

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