10 Amazing Instagram Contest Examples (Critiqued)

10 Amazing Instagram Contest Examples (Critiqued)

If you're an avid Instagram marketer, you know how effective contests can be to help you build your brand, generate massive engagement, and drive a serious return on investment from social media.

And though running an Instagram contest is pretty easy with tools like Wishpond, we can always use great ideas from some of the best brands in the business.

In this article, I'll take a close look at 10 Instagram contest examples and critique them. I'll go over what they do well, what they could improve, and what exactly you should take away from each of them.

Let's get into it!

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Instagram Contest Example #1. Love One Today

What's good:

  • It's easy to enter: Instagram hashtag contests are simple - all entrants need to do is post an Instagram photo with the contest's branded hashtag.
  • The content is great: Love One Today can use the content entrants contribute for future marketing campaigns on social media, or for daily posts.
  • There's voting: Voting is great for a contest beecause it gets people who aren't planning on entering to engage with your contest and brand.
  • The prizes are amazing: What avocado fan wouldn't want to win a Vitamix blender, a food processor, or some avocado-themed merchandise?
  • Multiple prizes: Love One Today maximizes their contest's conversion rate by offering multiple prizes. People are more likely to enter if they believe they have a realistic chance of winning.
  • The content: Love One Today does a good job at establishing their brand as a reliable and valuable source of information for avocado-related information by providing health resource PDFs right on their contest page.

What could be better:

  • The headline: Though the headline does a good job in communicating the theme of the contest, it could do better a better job of drawing in entrants with a headline emphasizing the prize (e.g. "Win $X in AMAZING PRIZES by showing us how you stay fruit-full with fresh avocados!")
  • The full terms: Though they sort of discuss it, it's not very clear how entrants can win (besides being the most "liked" photo).
  • Pictures: Skimmers might have a hard time seeing what they could win - there are no pictures of the prizes.

What you can learn:

There's a lot of awesome things to take away from this contest.

First, the contest is wholly thematic - it's an avocado-themed contest run by an avocado-centric brand. Keeping your contest on-brand helps to establish your brand identity, especially with contest entrants who are seeing your brand for the first time.

Next, Love One Today has used a contest platform like Wishpond to build their contest. This makes it super easy for entrants to enter, without the need to visit an external page or fill out a form.

I also love that they've chosen to have over 20 prizes - the contest feels winnable, unlike some that have a single grand prize and hundreds or even thousands of entrants.

Finally, they've done an amazing job with the premise of their contest. Getting people to submit pictures of recipes incorporating avocados is a great way to build their library of user-generated content. It's content that can be repurposed and posted again to flesh out their social media content calendar.

Instagram Contest Example #2. Oris Watches

What's good:

  • The cause: In addition to doing its part for a good cause, Oris found a cause that aligns well with their target market: men's wellbeing.
  • The video: Adding a video to the page that explains the contest (or in this case, the cause behind it) makes it easier for potential entrants to understand what Oris' contest and its brand are all about.
  • The entry instructions: Having entry instructions in simple bullet points makes it simple for page visitors to enter. Emphasizing the important information (like the entry hashtag and Oris' Instagram handle) means even skimmers won't have trouble understanding how they can enter.
  • The promotion: Contests work best when the theme, content, and the product they're promoting all come together. In this case, Oris launched an exclusive Movember Edition watch in partnership with Change for the Better, a men's health charity.
  • The prize: A company that sells Swiss watches probably isn't itching to give away a $6,000 watch. Oris circumvents this problem by giving away some awesome accessories, including a weekend bag and a few fountain pens.

What could be better:

  • The length of the page: This contest page contains a large video, contest instructions, and a product section, in addition to the usual gallery and (large) hero section. Though it looks great, the page might be too long for a visitor. Shrinking some of these sections or using columns to reduce the length of the page would have made this contest page more easily digestible.
  • A product promotion: There's not much of an incentive to purchase the Movember edition watch - Oris doesn't even mention whether or not proceeds from the purchase of the watch will go towards the charity (though it is implied). Having some sort of promotional pricing, or at least some more information about the donation from each watch, would help Oris better convert contest entrants.

What you can learn:

Oris is a perfect example of the fact that almost any company can run a contest and find success with it.

Like the previous contest, Oris has built their Instagram hashtag contest using a contest app - this saves them tons of time and allows them to pull all of their entrants' photos into a single gallery.

Like Oris did with their video, your business can use alternate forms of media to engage page visitors. Videos, in particular, are awesome because they require little effort from the people watching it, and can explain in seconds or minutes what might take pages of copy to do.

Finally, they're promoting a product. It's likely Oris put together a series of marketing emails for entrants to market their Movember watch and other products. When it comes down to it, the goal of your contest is to drive a positive ROI. Tying your contest to a the promotion of a product ensures you'll be able to maximize the number of entrants you convert.

Instagram Contest Example #3. Pink Lime Salon & Spa

What's good:

  • The page: The page is nicely designed, using the company's brand colors. On top of that, the hero section features a carousel that highlights the different services Pink Lime offers, from hairstyle to makeup.
  • The headline: The hero section makes it clear what entrants could win. Having the value of the prize (a $500 hair style & makeup makeover) in large, bold text is engaging and makes it easy for a visitor that doesn't want to read the rest of the page to see the prize.
  • Multiple prizes: Pink Lime gave away three makeovers, making page visitors more likely to enter.
  • The review: People take their hair and makeup seriously (or so I'm told!) - showing their strong Google review score instills confidence in entrants who might not be sure whether or not they can trust them with their precious locks.
  • Bonus points: Pink Lime got people to tag their friends in their posts in exchange for bonus entries, increasing their social engagement and the number of people who were exposed to their contest.

What could be better:

  • The emphasis on prizes: Without reading the body text, it's hard to tell that there are actually three makeovers being given away. I'd add this somewhere into the headline ("You could win 1 of 3...") to make it more clear to skimmers.
  • The page layout: The page kind of looks like a bunch of copy thrown together - using columns or more clear section dividers would help organize the page.

What you can learn from this contest:

People tend to think of contests as a marketing solution for product-oriented (rather than service-oriented) businesses - Pink Lime shows this isn't necessarily true. Even if you're a local service-oriented business, you can generate a ton of engaged leads with a contest.

Adding bonus actions to your contest in exchange for additional entries is an awesome way to meet your other goals, whether they're to increase social media engagement, grow your following, or get more subscribers for your email list.

Finally, think about adding some form of credibility to your page to increase its conversion rate. Having Pink Lime's Google review score on their page shows page visitors they can be trusted. Adding testimonials, reviews, Yelp scores, or other forms of social proof can help establish legitimacy for your business.

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Instagram Contest Example #4. Valdo

What's good:

  • The concept: The idea behind the contest is awesome - Valdo got people to take photos of their original cocktails, a creative take on a standard photo contest.
  • The user-generated content: Valdo thought forward with this contest, collecting recipes and photos they could use in their future social media posts.
  • The prize: Valdo gave away a trip for two to Italy, valued at $7,500 - what more can I say?
  • Voting: Getting people to vote in order to determine the top 25 entries is a great way to increase engagement and get more people to interact and engage with the contest.

What could be better:

  • The copy: There are a few grammatical mistakes in the copy, which is a bit of a hit to the company's credibility - something you don't want when you're spending as much on this contest as Valdo did.
  • The prize: I know, I know. But hear me out. A trip to Italy is awesome, but it's also a prize that could draw in a lot of entrants who aren't necessarily interested in Valdo products. Extravagant prizes can be amazing, but they can also mean you end up with a list of non-engaged leads.

What you can learn from this contest:

Create a contest theme that's engaging and exciting. I love that Valdo chose such a creative theme for their contest - it helps filter out uninterested leads and makes for awesome user-generated content in the future.

Though they might've gone overboard, this contest shows the importance of an appealing prize. Choose a prize that you know will appeal to your target market and you'll have a much easier time converting people who visit your page.

Adding voting to your contest is great because it helps your contest spread organically. Friends and family of entrants who vote might be compelled to enter themselves.

Instagram Contest Example #5. EarthQuaker Devices

What's good:

  • The humor in the hashtag: The hashtag ("#ShowEQDyourJunk") is inherently pretty funny - which could be the difference between a bounce and a clickthrough on any ads EQD runs.
  • A prize every week: EQD hd a prize draw week in April which made it easy to get a large number of entrants on a consistent basis. This kept engagement during the contest high, ensuring they'd reach as many people as possible.
  • The layout: This page is awesome. It's straightforward and clearly organized, making it easy for visitors to see the prize, how to enter, and the terms of the contest.
  • Tagging friends: Requiring entrants to tag friends helps spread the word about the contest. It's a common Instagram practice, for good reason.

What could be better:

  • Bonus actions: Adding bonus actions to their contest could have helped EQD spread the engagement from their contest to their other social platforms or generated more subscribers for their email list.
  • Voting: EQD also could have added voting to their contest, allowing them to generate more leads and increase the engagement on their contest as a whole.

What you can learn from this contest:

Simplicity can be the key to success. Making your page as simple as possible makes it easier for your visitors to understand how they can enter your contest, increasing your conversion rate.

Running a recurring giveaway is an awesome way to keep people coming. This allows you to consistently generate leads and entrants for as long as your contest is running - if it's profitable, you can literally have a recurring contest that runs forever.

Make sure to get your entrants to tag their friends on your Instagram contest. This spreads the word about it to people who would most likely be interested in it as well, meaning you'll get more entrants and more followers - and that's more potential sales.

Instagram Contest Example #6. Marvel Studios

instagram contest examples

What's good:

  • The format: Again, it's an Instagram hashtag contest! I love that this contest gives entrants the options to upload either their favourite movie moments on their own personal photos.
  • Multiple themed posts: Marvel Studios has promoted this contest for a little while now, using their different characters to create multiple posts on their Instagram account.
  • The amazing prize: I'd say a trip to the premiere of possibly the largest feature film ever isn't too shabby a prize. Plus, it's still relevant to Marvel Studios' fanbase, meaning they won't get a ton of entrants for their contest who aren't engaged fans.
  • The engaging image: Don't underestimate the effect of an eye-catching image for your contest. This image has it all: bold "hero" text, the featured hashtags, and a recognizable image.

instagram contest examples

What could be better:

  • A gallery: This contest idea is pretty cool, and entrants could search for others' photos using the hashtags... but one unifying gallery (maybe organized based on character hashtags) to show off everyone's entries would be awesome.
  • Feature creative entries: A contest from a brand this big is sure to generate amazing, creative entries. Marvel Studios could have featured these entries in their Story or on their profile.

What you can learn from this contest:

There's not much to add here that hasn't been covered in the other contests. The main takeaway from this contest is that you'd be best off putting some decent time into the photos your use to promote your contest on your profile. Try to include a decent amount of information (at the very least, the contest "headline" and the featured hashtag).

Instagram Contest Example #7. Cellucor

instagram contest examples

What's good:

  • The recurring nature of the giveaway: As you can tell by "GIVEAWAY FRIDAY", Cellucor runs these giveaways once a week on Fridays. Having a recurring giveaway allows you to give away smaller prizes on a more frequent basis, keeping engagement high and costs relatively low.
  • The giveaway format: This is an example of a non-hashtag-centric contest. This kind of contest requires people to follow the account, like the photo and tag friends. This is awesome because it boosts the engagement of the contest post while helping Cellucor grow their Instagram following rapidly. People who enter the contest are likely to tag others who might be interested in Cellucor products, meaning they're more likely to attract new and engaged followers.
  • The photo: Though the image as a whole could be better, Cellucor's photo is well-shot and does a great job of showcasing the product they're promoting.
  • The caption: Instagram photo captions don't often get enough thought, but Cellucor does a great job in theirs. They highlight the promotion with a pair of emojis, quickly explain the giveaway prize and then display point-form instructions for entry. It's short, simple, and to the point.

What could be better:

  • The image: Though the photo is great, the image could include some additional elements that would make it better - at the very least, Cellucor could include the words "win" or "giveaway" to make it more clear. People don't always read captions, so having some indication in their image would help.
  • A follow-up promotion: Getting all these followers means nothing if they're not making purchases. Cellucor could have created another post a few days after the contest with a discount on the product featured in the contest to help turn some of that new engagement into sales.

What you can learn from this contest:

Not every contest needs to be a hashtag contest, nor does it need to be a massive giveaway. Feel free to run smaller giveaways on a more frequent basis, especially if huge giveaways aren't the best fit for your product.

If you're looking to generate a large Instagram following, this type of contest is probably the best way to do it. It spreads the word quick about your brand to a ton of (theoretically) interested people.

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Instagram Contest Example #8. MVMT

instagram contest examples

What's good:

  • It promotes a product: MVMT ran this giveaway to promote their new Monochrome collection. Running a giveaway to promote a new product helps MVMT get their followers interested in their new offerings.
  • The format: Like the Cellucor giveaway before it, this MVMT giveaway requires people to follow their account and tag friends to enter, which generates substantial social engagement.
  • They generate subscribers: At the time of the giveaway, MVMT also sent entrants to an external page where they could sign up to get early access to the collection - this is an effective method of generating email subscribers for future marketing efforts.

What could be better:

  • The prize: I'm willing to bet that even at MVMT's relatively affordable price point, the markup on their watches is pretty high. They could have given away more watches or split their prize (a set of 3 watches) into 3 to increase each entrants' chances of winning.
  • The image: I'm not a big fan of this collage - it makes it hard to tell what exactly the winner will receive, and doesn't actually indicate in any way that this post is a giveaway announcement.

What you can learn from this contest:

Running a contest alongside your product launch is one of the best ways to promote a new product. Not only does it provide all of the benefits that a normal contest does, it also serves to spread the word organically about your new offering. It also primes people to purchase the product in the (rather probable) case that they don't win.

Plus, I love that MVMT sends people to an external page where they can sign up for email alerts. As great as Instagram is, trying to convert your follower list into email subscribers increases the chance that they'll be sales in the future - it's way easier to sell products through email marketing than on social.

Instagram Contest Example #9. RYU

instagram contest examples

What's good:

  • It's product-centric: This contest is awesome because it seeks to show people how versatile RYU's bags are for life, exercise, and travel.
  • The video: RYU switches it up a bit by posting a video with catchy music that shows a RYU bag in different settings, conveying the travel theme of the contest. There's text in the video that gives a hint about the contest prize, with a CTA to enter the contest on RYU's website. Good stuff!
  • Purchase necessary: This is an awesome way to drive sales. RYU is able to offer such an awesome prize because entrants need to have purchased a RYU backpack, duffle, or tote bag. Though this limits the total number of entrants, RYU ensures they'll make sales before the contest has even started.

What could be better:

  • No purchase necessary: Though I think it's great that RYU will generate sales even before people even enter their contest, it also means it's going to be hard to convert people after the fact... because they've already converted. RYU has a plethora of other email-generating campaigns, so it's hard to tell what their goal for this campaign is.

Instagram Contest Example #10. DAVIDsTEA & Frank And Oak Women

instagram contest examples

What's good:

  • It's partnered: Partnered promotions are an awesome way to co-market to two audiences with similar interests. In this case, Frank And Oak Women and DAVIDsTEA came together to run a promotion to their target market of young adult females. This allows them to populate their followings with people from each others' existing follower bases.
  • Multiple prizes: A partnered promotion gave these two businesses the ability to create multiple prize packages made up of prizes from both of their product lines.
  • More chances to win: Because this was a "tag-to-enter" style contest, both Frank And Oak and DAVIDsTEA had posts on their Instagram profiles. Entrants were able to increase their chances of winning by entering on both businesses' posts.
  • The image: Besides fitting the Instagram aesthetic, the image features images of the prizes, including products from both busineses.

What could be better:

  • Clarity: The contest post says "you and two friends" have the chance to win. It's not clear whether one of you winning means all three of you win, or how many prizes there are. This caption lacks general clarity.
  • The format: Though tag-to-enter contests are great, the prizes are good enough that I'd venture this contest could have been run using a contest app of some kind. This would allow these businesses to email entrants in the future.

What you can learn from this contest:

Partnered promotions are amazing. Period. They boost engagement, allow you to split prize costs, and, if run correctly, can result in massive returns for both of your brands.

If you're looking to run one, make sure you partner with a business whose target market is similar to your own. This ensures any new followers you gain from the contest are engaged and have the potential to become your customers in the future.


Conclusion


There you have it - 10 amazing examples of Instagram contests, critiqued. Hopefully, you've taken away some tips and strategies that you can use for your next Instagram contest.

If you're not sure where to get started, why not try building a contest with Wishpond? Simply sign up for free to start building your Instagram contest.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know below!

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