Instagram case study: SK-II tests newsfeed ads for optimal ROI

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Running ads in Instagram Stories in addition to mobile video ads in Instagram and Facebook News Feed helped the skincare brand SK-II achieve an incremental 13-points of ad recall.


The challenge

SK-II is a line of skin care products from Procter & Gamble, launched over 25 years ago in Japan. Built on a scientific foundation and years of research, the luxury brand believes in healthy skin for people of all ages.

SK-II wanted to test ads in Instagram Stories to determine whether it could drive incremental business value, increase brand awareness metrics and improve media efficiencies.

The solution

SK-II saw an opportunity to use Instagram Stories ads to drive brand awareness of its SK-2 Genoptics Beauty product in Japan.

For the two-week campaign, the skincare brand tested a News Feed-only ad placement on Facebook and Instagram versus running ads in Facebook and Instagram News Feed plus ads in Instagram Stories.

The results

• 13-point incremental lift in ad recall with ads in Stories + News Feed ads versus News Feed ads only

• 24-point lift in overall ad recall

• 62% increase in complete video views in Instagram Stories and feed ads on Instagram and Facebook.

SK-II broadly targeted its ads to Japanese women aged 18–54. Ads that ran in Instagram Stories as well as in News Feed saw significant lift in ad recall amongst women aged 18–44. The campaign enjoyed strong brand results, with a 24-point lift in ad recall amongst its target audience.

Using ads in Instagram Stories helped drive an incremental 13-point ad recall compared to the Facebook and Instagram News Feed-only campaign. Running ads in both News Feed and in Instagram Stories also increased reach by 30% and impressions at 25% lower CPM. The campaign also improved the number of video views, including a 62% increase in 100% video views in Instagram Stories and feed ads on Instagram and Facebook.

Mahak Ambwani, brand manager, digital content and social media at SK-II, said: “Taking a different approach to our Instagram campaign has paid off. While we were doing well with mobile News Feed ads, we found the native storytelling format of Instagram Stories ads helped our campaign stand out, driving higher recall.”

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