I Bought Two Different Instagram Promotions and This is What Happened

Anyone who has a business account on Instagram knows that if there’s one thing Instagram is always trying to push, it’s business accounts buying their promotions. It seems as if the word “promote” shows up more times on my Instagram than any posts ever actually do. Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012, so it really comes at no surprise that promotions are pushed so heavily on Instagram, given that Facebook has been allowing Facebook Pages to promote posts for years. In the past, Facebook has given me free $10 credits here and there to promote my Eva Darling page posts on Facebook. Surprisingly, Facebook promotions were highly effective in driving viewers to my Facebook page and my blog.


Curious, I wondered if given that Instagram was owned and operated by Facebook, Instagram promotions would be as effective as Facebook promotions are. The wonderful thing about promoting on Instagram or Facebook is that they allow you to purchase promotions for nearly any amount of money or time. Setting out to test the Instagram promotion waters, I purchased two different promotions: one for $10 for a duration of 48 hours, and one for $5 for a duration of 24 hours.



For reference, the couple times I promoted posts with Facebook, I received anywhere from 50-75 additional likes on the post, as well as several more page likes and views. I started the 48 hour promotion a few hours before the 24 hour promotion, however seven hours into the 24 hour, it seemed as if that post was performing better.


As you can see, while the 48 hour post {left} had more views and more engagement, it had also been running a few hours longer than the 24 hour post {right}. The 24 hour post had more profile visits, which to me, is really what matters, as the purpose of using an Instagram promoted post for me was to be discovered by a new audience. When you’re creating a promotion, Instagram actually gives you the option to have your post shown to users typically within your target audience, which is what I did. 33 engagement / 826 promotion views = an engagement rate of right around 3.99%. On the other hand, 16 engagement / 332 promotion views = an engagement rate of 4.82%.


A few hours later I checked back at the promotions again. This time, 11 hours into the 24 hour promotion. The 48 hour promotion had five profile clicks, 984 views, and 37 engagement, bringing the engagement rate down from 3.99% to 3.76%. The 24 hour promotions had six profile clicks, 373 views, and 18 engagement, keeping the engagement rate about the same at 4.83%.


With just five hours remaining on the 24 hour promotion, things started to turn up for the 48 hour promotion. The 3.76% engagement rate jumped up to 4.11%, with 55 engagement, 1,338 views, and nine profile visits. Meanwhile, the 24 hour promotion also improved, with 4.83% engagement rate jumping up to 5.72%, 647 profile views, and seven profile visits.



These are the end results:

$10 48 hour promotion

12 profile clicks

1,829 promotion views

72 engagement

3.94% engagement rate


$5 24 hour promotion

8 profile clicks

868 promotion views

53 engagement

6.11% engagement rate


Perhaps most confusing about Instagram promotions is the promotion management page. After the promotions ended, the promotions page claimed that I had four clicks on the 24 promotion, and 19 clicks on the 48 promotion. As seen in the individual ending statistics for each post, I had 8 profile clicks to the 24 hour promotions and 12 clicks to the 48 hour promotion. Maybe I’m missing something, but I have no idea where these numbers came from or which set of numbers to trust.


Overall, I’m a little disappointed with the results of my Instagram promotions. Maybe it’s just the difference between the typical Instagram user and the typical Facebook user, but I feel as if Facebook promotions do a better job overall of bringing new people to your actual page. On Instagram I think it’s more typical to follow accounts that you don’t personally know, making it easier to just like a picture and keep scrolling without a second thought about it. I know I’m guilty of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram when bored! Facebook, however, I think more people know their friends, so when something new pops into their feed, it’s more obvious. Another thing to note is that Instagram does show your promotions to people who follow you, so their views and engagement are included in these numbers. One of my good friends actually texted me after seeing one of my promotions on her feed. It makes me question the effectiveness of Instagram promotions in reaching a new audience.


The bottom line: While trying Instagram promotions was interesting, they unfortunately just didn’t work well enough for me. For a similar amount of money, I think there’s more effective ways to reach new audiences.






  1. January 23, 2018 / 9:49 am

    This is so helpful! I’ve been thinking about trying Instagram promoted for a while and now you have me rethinking it for some kind of alternative.

    • Eva Phan
      January 31, 2018 / 3:10 pm

      So glad it helped! If you’re looking to boost engagement or find new audiences, I highly recommend trying to link up with other bloggers/influencers in your niche to try to cross-promote and build a community! I think that definitely is more sustainable {and it’s free}!

  2. Chloe
    January 23, 2018 / 11:39 am

    Thanks so much for this post! I have been thinking about doing promotions on Instagram for the longest time but it really doesn’t seem all too effective. 🙁

    • Eva Phan
      January 31, 2018 / 3:12 pm

      I was in the exact same boat! I waited a while to do it and it really just isn’t worth it, in my opinion. Rumor has it that Instagram’s been pushing down certain types of posts in the algorithm for the exact reason for trying to get business accounts to buy more promoted posts. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s true!

  3. January 23, 2018 / 6:19 pm

    I’ve been wondering about the Instagram promotions and this was so helpful to know! I’ve been hesitant to use them just because I wasn’t quite sure how well they’d work considering IG seems to change their algorithm all the time.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Eva Phan
      January 31, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      My pleasure! I can’t say for sure about the algorithm, but I have heard that some unpromoted types of posts are getting pushed down to sway users to promote their posts. What I think is a little shady about the promoted posts that they aren’t necessarily upfront with {but that in my opinion they should be} is just that they will show your promoted post to users that already follow you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be spending money on advertising to someone who already follows me, they can’t follow twice!

  4. Angel tankeko
    July 17, 2018 / 9:40 pm

    Thank you for the info! So much help! 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.