The value of converting Instagram followers to email subscribers for Shopify stores (3 years of data)

  • 20 March 2023
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Hey folks!

Since the privacy changes over the last couple of years have impacted ROAS on social ads, I've seen more questions about the ROI of social.

I’ve also seen questions about get more value and driving more sales from your existing audience and customer base, especially in how to drive it through existing funnels (e.g. how to do more with less or what we already have).

So I spent the last few months gathering data on Instagram for Shopify stores and now believe I have enough to share some findings. I plan to do the same for other social networks in the future.

The TL;DR

It's still worth investing in Instagram, but spending on ads without a broader long-term strategy is harder to justify for most stores.

Instead, you should be focused on converting your Instagram followers into subscribers (e.g., email or SMS). This allows you to consistently market to this audience long-term to better track, nurture and convert sales than you could with paid ads alone.

Said another way: You own your email/SMS list, you don't own your social following. Use Instagram for discovery and email marketing for conversions.

Ok, now onto the interesting stuff!

Where is the data from?

I used data from thousands of Instagram giveaways by Shopify stores over the last few years and combined it with email marketing sales data from Klaviyo (based on over 100,000 stores) to create the calculator that produced these estimates. For simplicity, the data is summarized by pre-defined industry and follower counts below.

How were these estimates calculated and what assumptions were made?

Follower growth, giveaway entry, and email opt-in rates are based on data from thousands of Instagram giveaways using an Instagram giveaway app we built. We then filtered the data so that only data from campaigns run by Shopify stores was used here to keep it relevant.

Revenue per email opt-in data is provided from Klaviyo's dataset and assumes one weekly email newsletter. Data is extrapolated over 12 months (the value of that new subscriber over a year) and assumes one Instagram giveaway per month to estimate annual attributable revenue.

Notes:

  • If newsletter frequency is MORE than once per week or MORE than one giveaway a month is run, expected results would be higher. These results are conservative since two giveaways a month is normal.
  • Email opt-ins are underestimated by about 10% since about 10% of entries come in after the giveaway ends. They still go to the store’s email list (the store gets the subscribers), but aren’t included in these results just due to sampling to keep the data clean.

Assumptions the calculator makes based on the data described above:

  • Instagram follower growth rates: 4.76% - 11.87% per giveaway (varies by number of followers)

  • Instagram giveaway entry rate: 0.7% - 7.68% per giveaway (varies by number of followers)

  • Instagram giveaway entry to email opt-in rate: 43% (varies based on rules used, but this is on average)

  • Welcome email revenue per opt-in: $1.30 - $4.77 (varies by industry)

  • Campaign email revenue per recipient: $0.06 - $0.12 (varies by industry)

Notes/clarifications on the above:

  • More detailed explainers for all of these are in the calculator linked at the bottom of this post (mouse over each item for details)

  • The ranges depend on the size of the Instagram following, e.g., engagement/entries drop as the following grows.

  • The calculator maxes out at 100,000 followers since I didn't have enough data points to have confidence beyond that, but I'll update it when I do.

  • Entry and email opt-in rates eventually slow if always used on the same audience (after many giveaways), but this is offset using collabs. E.g., host a giveaway using a co-authored post with an influencer or partner business to keep reaching new people (effectively an endless pool of new people).

  • This is based on real stores with real (earned) Instagram audiences. Artificially large audiences (e.g. if you buy followers or buy engagement) produce very poor results.

How to interpret this data

Given the number of followers and industry shown, if you run an Instagram giveaway to capture email options, the new email subscribers you get will be worth that amount of revenue over 12 months if you 1) run one giveaway a month and 2) send a weekly newsletter.

Show me the data!

To be transparent, the actual calculator is on a marketing page to justify the many hours I've spent on this, but to spare you from that (because we're friends, right?) I've summarized the results below.

An example for the below data: For the Automotive industry, the value of 50,000 Instagram followers is worth $25,822.26 in annual revenue, assuming you send a welcome email + weekly newsletter and do a monthly Instagram giveaway.

Overall (average across industries)

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,346.17 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,423.81 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $8,044.35 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $16,088.71 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $32,177.41 annual revenue

Apparel & Accessories

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,439.07 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,660.11 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $8,599.54 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $17,199.09 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $34,398.17 annual revenue

Automotive

  • 250 Instagram followers: $2,160.59 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $5,495.19 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $12,911.13 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $25,822.26 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $51,644.51 annual revenue

Electronics

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,308.61 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,328.29 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,819.91 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $15,639.83 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $31,279.66 annual revenue

Food & Beverage

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,308.61 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,328.29 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,819.91 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $15,639.83 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $31,279.66 annual revenue

Hardware & Home Improvement

  • 250 Instagram followers: $2,176.4 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $5,535.41 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $13,005.63 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $26,011.26 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $52,022.51 annual revenue

Health & Beauty

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,219.65 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,102.04 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,288.35 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,576.7 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $29,153.4 annual revenue

Home & Garden

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,690.12 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $4,298.62 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $10,099.74 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $20,199.48 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $40,398.96 annual revenue

Jewelry

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,176.17 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $2,991.44 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,028.47 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,056.95 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $28,113.89 annual revenue

Mass Merchant

  • 250 Instagram followers: $873.72 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $2,222.21 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $5,221.15 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $10,442.30 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $20,884.61 annual revenue

Office Supplies

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,091.17 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $2,775.25 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $6,520.53 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $13,041.07 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $26,082.13 annual revenue

Specialty

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,249.31 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,177.46 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,465.54 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,931.08 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $29,862.15 annual revenue

Sporting Goods

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,545.82 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,931.6 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $9,237.42 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $18,474.84 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $36,949.69 annual revenue

Toys & Hobbies

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,221.63 annual revenue

  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,107.07 annual revenue

  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,300.16 annual revenue

  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,600.32 annual revenue

  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $29,200.65 annual revenue

Key takeaways

  • Instagram is great for finding new customers and email is great for driving sales from them.

  • Instagram followers can be extremely valuable because they are already interested in what you offer, but you need them in a more monetizable channel, like email.

  • Keep investing in Instagram, but focus on getting Instagram followers on your email list.

  • TBH I was quite surprised by 1) the overall value of Instagram followers to Shopify stores and 2) how much it can vary between industries.

Future improvements

  • We're adding support for Facebook soon, so I should get similar data on Facebook.

  • We're also adding support for SMS, so I'll soon have data for that too. But TL;DR from the early data, I believe getting Instagram followers on your SMS list is still a good idea, but SMS seems to drive less revenue than email, though they tend to have different purposes and should work together. More to come when I get more data (e.g. maybe this is offset if people are more likely to opt-in to SMS).

Link to the full calculator with more details

I hope this is helpful. Here is the link to the calculator for a bit more context, though fair warning, it is on a page we use for marketing, so you can skip it if you want since I've included the main stuff above.

Why I have this data / disclaimer

My startup built a Shopify app called POPSMASH (Shopify link) that turns Instagram followers into email subscribers. So, though all of the above data was collected during our market research, I can vouch for its accuracy since it was collected BEFORE we started to focus on Shopify stores. We then focused on Shopify stores since they get by far the best results compared to other businesses. The revenue per email/subscriber data is from Klaviyo’s benchmark data (which is quite amazing).

Over to you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I'm also happy to answer any questions on the data, methodology or anything else!


4 replies

Userlevel 6
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Hey @popsmash, it’s great to see more data on how/ why it’s worth investing in IG as a means to funnel followers to your email list.

 

Does your app/ software work with stores not hosted on Shopify? Or is it Shopify only?

Userlevel 3
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Hi Gabrielle.

Does your app/ software work with stores not hosted on Shopify? Or is it Shopify only?

Sorry, for now it’s only for Shopify. We will expand beyond Shopify, but likely not until next year since there’s a lot we want to get right first with a more focused cohort.

Userlevel 6
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@popsmash I respect that. It’s always nice to see companies put focused effort into making their products stronger before branching out into new markets. I look forward to the day I have an excuse to test this out with one of my clients!

 

Also, if I can toss a vote in the ring, I’d ask for BigCommerce to be on the list of “next up” platforms. :D

 

~ Gabrielle

Userlevel 3
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Thank you so much, will do!

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