How Much Can a Single Dress Drive Engagement?

How much can a single dress drive engagement? By 3000%, yes, 30x the average engagement, if that dress is featured in the #RoyalWedding. Even if you take no interest in news about the British royal family, you must know that Ms. Meghan Markle (now Duchess of Sussex) was married to Prince Harry over the previous weekend.

Perhaps you would not know, however, that her wedding gown was a Givenchy Haute Couture item.

Or that her evening reception dress was a Stella McCartney.

If this is news to you, then you certainly would not have known that both Givenchy and Stella McCartney’s posts on their official Instagram accounts announcing this information drove their respective engagements for the single posts up by 3100% and 2800% as of the time of writing. Given that both brand accounts have followers that number in the millions and average engagement in the tens of thousands, this is certainly no small feat.

Let’s take a look at three important metrics to understand the full impact this wedding dress has had on the brands’ Instagram accounts as well as what we think about this impact. Today, we’ll be taking a look at:

  1. Engagement
  2. Top Posts
  3. Audience Growth Rate

I. Marked Increase in Engagement

The impact of having the Duchess of Sussex wear your dress is perhaps most evident from the sharp increase in engagement over the wedding weekend. Both the Givenchy and Stella McCartney official Instagram accounts saw a sharp spike in the number of likes received over the weekend.

Likes received on the @givenchyofficial account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips's proprietary platform.
Likes received on the @givenchyofficial account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.
Likes received on the @stellamccartney account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips's proprietary platform.
Likes received on the @stellamccartney account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

Naturally, most of these likes have gone to the announcement posts featured at the beginning of this article, clearly indicating that it is the wedding itself that has prompted Instagram users to like the Givenchy and Stella McCartney posts.

What We Think

The pattern of likes received after the event seems to suggest that popularity for the announcement posts has spilled over to other posts as well, resulting in a general, overall increase in the number of likes received on posts made on both accounts. What remains to be seen is whether Givenchy and Stella McCartney’s audience will continue to appreciate and engage with their posts even after the royal wedding is long over.

While short and quick boosts in engagement do have their place in social media marketing, these boosts should ideally lead to long-term increases in engagement for them to be considered effective.

II. Multiple Wedding-Related Top Posts

To get a better idea of whether there may be long-term increases of engagement, we can take a look at the top posts for both accounts. We see that posts related to the wedding and the gown feature highly on the Givenchy account, with all five of the top 5 featuring the dress.

Top 5 posts from the @givenchyofficial account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips's proprietary platform.
Top 5 posts from the @givenchyofficial account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

Similar analysis can be done for the Stella McCartney account. In this case, while the evening reception dress has obtained many more likes than normal, and other Stella McCartney dresses that were worn at the wedding and featured on their Instagram page also made it to the top 5 posts, it seems like the spillover effect has not been so large as to eclipse the rest of their posts that obtained high engagement in the last three months.

Top 5 posts from the @stellamccartney account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips's proprietary platform.
Top 5 posts from the @stellamccartney account from Feb to May generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

What We Think

Many more of Givenchy’s top 5 posts have been taken over by those of (or related to) the wedding gown. This suggests that Givenchy’s audience prefers posts about the gown significantly more than their other posts made in the last three months. This is different from the Stella McCartney audience, for whom two posts, one about the death of a rhino named Sudan and another about the March For Our Lives movement in the US, actually received more engagement than some posts made about the wedding.

After the wedding hype dies down and both accounts return to posting their regular content, followers of Givenchy (especially the new ones who have followed the account thanks to the announcement about the dress) are probably less likely to continue liking the posts on the account, since they are not as interested in the regular content.

III. Increased Audience Growth Rate

The final metric we are looking at today is the increase in audience growth rate after the announcement posts. Due to Instagram’s restriction of information obtainable through the API, we were not able to retrieve the full information on audience growth but it is still quite obvious that both the Givenchy and Stella McCartney accounts experienced a boost in audience growth rate over the period of May.

Graph of audience growth for @givenchyofficial, generated via Popular Chips's proprietary platform.
Graph of audience growth for @givenchyofficial, generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.
Graph of audience growth for @stellamccartney, generated via Popular Chips's proprietary platform.
Graph of audience growth for @stellamccartney, generated via Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

What We Think

In terms of audience growth (in percentage), the Stella McCartney account appears to have benefited more from producing Ms. Markle’s dress and announcing it on Instagram than Givenchy has. Yet, a quick look at their Instagram account seems to suggest that the increase in follower count has not led to an increase in engagement for non-wedding related posts since the event.

While an increase in audience size typically leads to an increase in engagement, this is not always the case and brands should definitely not take audience growth as the main sign that their campaign has been successful.

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