Instagram’s advertising has certainly picked up over the past few months, including mobile game ads that have managed to gain attention across a number of genres. However, according to a new study from Locowise, the recent drop in organic engagement could mean a significant change for the site, moving over to a “pay-to-play” platform.

Originally reported by SocialTimes, the report suggests that, even though Instagram ads are now open to whichever companies want to take part, they could be the only way for them to reach users on the site.

Looking across over 2,500 brand profiles, Locowise came up with the following results from the study, which are also pointed out in the chart below.

  • Follower growth for the month was 0.25%.
  • Engagement per post was 1.76% of the post’s audience.
  • Profiles posted a daily average of 2.62 posts.
  • 93% of posts were photos, and 7% were videos.
  • Photos drew an engagement rate of 1.85%, while the average engagement rate for videos was less than one percent (specifically, 0.9%).
  • Likes represented 98.12% of all interactions, and comments just 1.88%.


These numbers look like stark differences in the chart above, with organic growth and engagement both dropping off. But does this mean that the site will go “pay-to-play” with brands to try and pick things up

Regarding the results, Locowise stated, “The ads platform leverages all of the best aspects and features from Facebook’s ads, so if you’re already doing ads on Facebook, you will be very familiar with ads on Instagram, too. Instagram has announced that it is seeing ‘significant demand’ for ads, particularly in e-commerce, travel entertainment and retail.

“Some early numbers from a selected number of partners shows that the click-through rate on Instagram is 1.5 percent, compared with 0.84 percent on Facebook. The average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is reported everywhere from $3 to $6.29. Videos costs as little as $.02 per view. A view counts when the video has been seen for at least three seconds, exactly the same on Facebook.”

At the moment, it’s unknown if Instagram looks to change its status quo when it comes to ads, but considering its current status with organic engagement, a change to its program could be instituted sooner rather than later.