15 Of The Best Instagram Contests EVER

best instagram contests

In this article, we’ll be finding and discussing the best Instagram contests that you can take inspiration from when running your own. If you’re working with a brand on Instagram, or building your own, stay tuned to learn more!

Why run an Instagram contest?

Let’s look at a traditional lane of advertising: television. On television, ads take up roughly a third of the running time of most programs, and the truth is most people don’t really care about the ads that they’re watching. In this situation, people tend to tune out the ads and focus on something else: whether that’s thinking about their own lives, reflecting on a shocking twist in the show they’ve been watching, or just talking to the people they’ve been watching the show with.

Advertising and marketing in the age of the Internet has to compete with a more interactive media than ever to keep a viewer’s attention, and nowadays forced advertisements and pop-ups can even be blocked on the user end.

So how do you get (and keep) a user’s attention online, and why should you run an Instagram contest?

Two words: audience engagement.

The primary benefit of running a sponsored Instagram contest is to get people interacting with the brand in a fun, interesting way to make an impression. There’s many ways that brands and Instagram stars have chosen to do this, and in this article we’ll be highlighting the best ones for you to keep in mind when either making your own Instagram contest or working with a brand making one.

The Best Instagram Contests

15. Heineken’s Instagram Scavenger Hunt

Together with the help of Wiedin+Kennedy, Heinekin used Instagram for a creative contest: a scavanger hunt! By posting images on their account in the form of a mosaic, Heinekin made an interactive scavenger hunt that users could browse to find the right images, for a prize of tennis tickets. At the time this contest was done, this idea was very novel, easily placing it in this list of best Instagram contests.

14. Macallan Whisky’s #MeAndTheMacallan Contest

Macallan Whisky ran a simple contest- post a picture on Instagram of you drinking a bottle of The Macallan, and you’d be entered into a chance to win a prize from them, alongside a featured shot on Macallan’s respective social media outlets.

13. Hillside Beach Club’s #JobAtHeavenOnEarth Contest

Hillside Beach Club is a five-star resort based in Turkey, and to get six “Chief Instagram Officers”, they ran this contest. Entrants tagged stunning beach photos to win a #JobAtHeavenOnEarth, and the winners were given HBC accomodations for a week, in addition to control over the brand’s Instagram. One part contest, one part hiring, this entry earned its place on our list of best Instagram contests.

12. Sony’s #SonyX Contest

Sony wanted to promote a new pair of their headphones, and turned to Instagram for a creative way to do so. What they ended up doing earned their place on this list of best Instagram contests.

They opted to allow users to post one image a day with the #SonyX caption, and each day they chose a single winner for a $50 coupon for the headphones. While simple, this contest got a lot of traffic and turned out so successful that Sony followed up with a new one that holiday season.

11. Marc Jacobs’ #CastMeMarc Contest

Marc Jacobs needed to recruit new faces for their brand. In Fall 2014, they opted to do this by turning to Instagram, where people were eager to take pictures of themselves for the world to see. By adding the #CastMeMarc hashtag, users were pitted against each other in a contest to be photographed and featured in Teen Vogue.

10. National Geographic’s Untamed Americas Contest

There’s a lot of romanticism paired with the idea of great, sweeping views of nature. National Geographic, of all outlets, knows this better than anyone, and made one of the best Instagram contests on this list by taking advantage of that.

As part of the Untamed Americas contest, NG asked users to take photos of stunning vistas in the American continents. Winners of the contest received a Nikon D3100 camera and a subscription to the magazine, prizes very relevant to NG’s audience.

9. Madewell’s #Flashtagram Contest

Madewell made one of the best Instagram contests by working with fashion Instagrammers to create a #Flashtagram contest. As part of the contest, a few people received free denim, but this entry is more of a “campaign” than “contest”. Still goes to show how you can use Instagram as a marketer, though!

8. Applebee’s #Fantographer Contest

Applebee’s turned their fans into impromptu fan-tographers with one of the best Instagram contests in recent memory, in return for getting their Instagram featured on Applebee’s account. This contest greatly boosted Applebee’s Instagram following, going to show how far a little interaction can take you on the Web.

7. Buffalo Wild Wings’ #Fannerism Contest

Buffalo Wild Wings took advanage of the World Cup to promote their brand. They encouraged users to take part in the #Fannerism contest- by taking photos of themselves watching the World Cup at Buffalo Wild Wings, fans were entered to win a free gift card.

6. Ben & Jerry’s #CaptureEuphoria Contest

Ben & Jerry is known for many things: their amazing ice cream, their great treatment of their employees, and…an Instagram campaign?

Ben & Jerry’s #CaptureEuphoria Instagram contest was simple: take a picture of yourself eating their ice cream in a way that captures the “euphoria” of eating Ben & Jerrry’s. While there were no cash prizes on play, people took part in the contest to have a chance at appearing in custom-made ads for Ben & Jerry’s, ads that would also shout out the original user who took the photo, encouraging people to check out their Instagram.

It was a clever ad campaign and, due to its execution, earned its place on this list of the best Instagram contests.

5. Swarovoski’s #InstaSparkle Contest

Swarovoski, if you haven’t heard of them, is responsible for making precision-cut crystals. They ran an #InstaSparkle contest, where fans submitted images that “captured the theme of light reflection” for a chance at Swarovoski’s Nirvana Jewelry.

4. Dunkin’ Donuts’ Halloween Cup Decoration Contest

Dunkin’ Donuts got onto this list of best Instagram contests by doing one very simple thing: tell its followers on Instagram (and other social media outlets) to decorate their cups and send them the result for a chance at winning a $100 gift card. There were five winners total (four from Instagram, so hush, this still counts) who took home the money.

3. Kenneth Cole’s #DressForYourSelfie Contest

Kenneth Cole made one of the best Instagram contests by keeping it simple: combining selfies (the preferred communication method of teens around the globe) with Instagram and their brand. All people had to do was provide the tag #DressForYourSelfie to take part, with the winners receiving free shoes for a year.

2. Four Seasons’ Local Photography Contest

The Four Seasons Hotel is a popular, luxury international hotel chain run in major cities around the world. With this Instagram contest, they encouraged residents of those cities to take great pictures of the city and its landmarks- winners of the contest earned a free weekend stay at the hotel in that city, and this contest has been run many times at their various locations worldwide.

1. Starbucks’ #WhiteCupContest

What would this list be without Starbucks?

Starbucks is always making headlines with their cup designs and fan contests, so of course they made this list of the best Instagram contests. In this article, we’ll be talking about the White Cup Contest, wherein users drew designs on white Starbucks cups to submit to Starbucks, with the winner earning a limited-edition run of their cup design in stores.

Learning More

And that’s it!

In this article, we went out of our way to list the best Instagram contests ever. With any hope, this article gave you an idea of how to make and run your own!

To learn more about Instagram growth, stick around Grin. We offer a free blog full of hot tips like this, and a Grin Platform you can use to buy/sell shoutouts and other services from Instagrammers just like you.