How to estimate Shopify sales growth from Instagram (3 yrs of data)
Sales & Marketing

How to estimate Shopify sales growth from Instagram (3 yrs of data)

If you've been using Shopify for a while, you know that just about every successful Shopify store does two things:

  • Use Instagram to find new customers
  • Use email marketing to drive new sales

In fact, it's common for Shopify stores to drive 20% - 40% of their sales through email marketing alone. Instagram and Facebook are unbeatable for finding new customers, and email marketing is unbeatable for driving conversions.

But here's something you probably didn't know: You can drive significantly more conversions and sales by converting your Instagram followers into email subscribers.

Below we'll be analyzing the findings & approach for the data used to create this Shopify sales calculator.

If you're looking the case study on how Shopify stores can get email subscribers from Instagram, you can find it here: Shopify Instagram Email List Case Study (Q1 2023)

Let's dive in!

Is this applicable to my Shopify store & marketing strategy?

First, a lot of companies are cutting costs now. I believe you can use this data to justify growing your budget rather than cutting it due to the untapped opportunity.

Second, when most people think about Instagram giveaways, they think of the Kardashians, but that's unrealistic. Based on the data, even small giveaways drive consistent results because 1) people browse Instagram for fun and 2) people love participating in giveaways for a chance to win stuff. In fact, there is no other kind of Instagram post that drives more engagement.

For example, Hydroflask drives insane engagement just by giving away $40 water bottles. A recent example: A local gift shop with only 3,000 Instagram followers gave away a $50 gift card and got hundreds of new followers and over 100 new email subscribers - big results for such a small following what's $25 in actual cost (assuming keystone).

Start small, experiment, and double down on what works. Use an app to automate the process.

What's the TL;DR on Shopify sales from Instagram?

TL;DR: Email is still king (now more than ever), but social is also still irreplaceable. However, we need to be clearer about the roles of both.

Said more clearly, the main takeaway from this data is the new universal marketing truth:

Social is for discovery, email is for conversions.

Find your customers on social, convert them with email.

The data tells us that It's still worth investing in Instagram, but spending on social ads without a broader long-term strategy to capture value from that ad spend is harder to justify for most stores.

Stores must focus on converting 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.

You own your email/SMS list, you don't own your social following.

Ok, now onto the interesting stuff.

Where did this data on Shopify sales from Instagram & email marketing come 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 incremental 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.

^ This is VERY important, especially for brands that work with influencers. Why? Because this tactic works with co-authored collab Posts and Reels (as long as you initiate and tag the influencer as a collaborator).

This means you might just run 1 giveaway a month for your Instagram followers, but you could run even 1-2 a week with different influencers and collect emails from their followers. This results in vastly increasing the ROI of any influencer campaign you're doing. E.g. do this with an influencer with 100,000 Instagram followers and get a few thousand new Instagram followers out of it with minimal additional extra work. Crazy, right?

Ok, back to the assumptions...

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, which is expected.
  • 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 yield eventually slow if always used on the same audience, but this is offset using collabs as described above. 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 subscribers).
  • This is based on real stores with real (earned) Instagram audiences. Artificially grown 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 opt-ins, 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!

An example on how to interpret the below data:

For the Automotive industry, the value of 50,000 Instagram followers is worth $25,822.26 in annual incremental email marketing 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 incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,423.81 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $8,044.35 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $16,088.71 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $32,177.41 annual incremental revenue

Apparel & Accessories

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,439.07 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,660.11 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $8,599.54 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $17,199.09 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $34,398.17 annual incremental revenue

Automotive

  • 250 Instagram followers: $2,160.59 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $5,495.19 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $12,911.13 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $25,822.26 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $51,644.51 annual incremental revenue

Electronics

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,308.61 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,328.29 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,819.91 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $15,639.83 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $31,279.66 annual incremental revenue

Food & Beverage

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,308.61 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,328.29 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,819.91 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $15,639.83 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $31,279.66 annual incremental revenue

Hardware & Home Improvement

  • 250 Instagram followers: $2,176.4 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $5,535.41 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $13,005.63 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $26,011.26 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $52,022.51 annual incremental revenue

Health & Beauty

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,219.65 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,102.04 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,288.35 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,576.7 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $29,153.4 annual incremental revenue

Home & Garden

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,690.12 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $4,298.62 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $10,099.74 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $20,199.48 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $40,398.96 annual incremental revenue

Jewelry

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,176.17 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $2,991.44 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,028.47 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,056.95 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $28,113.89 annual incremental revenue

Mass Merchant

  • 250 Instagram followers: $873.72 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $2,222.21 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $5,221.15 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $10,442.30 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $20,884.61 annual incremental revenue

Office Supplies

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,091.17 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $2,775.25 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $6,520.53 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $13,041.07 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $26,082.13 annual incremental revenue

Specialty

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,249.31 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,177.46 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,465.54 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,931.08 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $29,862.15 annual incremental revenue

Sporting goods

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,545.82 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,931.6 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $9,237.42 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $18,474.84 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $36,949.69 annual incremental revenue

Toys & Hobbies

  • 250 Instagram followers: $1,221.63 annual incremental revenue
  • 2,500 Instagram followers: $3,107.07 annual incremental revenue
  • 25,000 Instagram followers: $7,300.16 annual incremental revenue
  • 50,000 Instagram followers: $14,600.32 annual incremental revenue
  • 100,000 Instagram followers: $29,200.65 annual incremental revenue

Key takeaways on Shopify sales from Instagram & email marketing

  • Social media marketers are an email marketer's best friend: Social (especially Instagram) is the #1 source of new, highly qualified email subscribers for e-commerce brands.
  • For email marketers: A lot of companies are cutting costs, so use this to justify getting more email marketing budget.
  • 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 data & research

  • 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).
  • We're working with more Shopify Plus stores now, so I should have more data on larger Instagram followings soon.
  • We launched a Shopify quiz app that also captures data to make personalized product recommendations with impressive results. I should have enough data on conversion rate uplift, increase in average order value and reduction in returns and exchanges to share soon.

Try the Shopify sales calculator yourself for more data

I hope this is helpful. Here is the link to the calculator for more context.

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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