Instagram: best practice content examples from global brands

This month saw the release of the handbook: Going global with Facebook. It’s a useful body of research for budding social media marketers looking to use such these platforms to connect with international consumers.

With the data in the report having been collected by Facebook and the title of the document seemingly only referring to Facebook, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the research covered anything other than Mark Zuckerberg’s platform.

You’d be wrong though, and it’s the Instagram-related trends buried deep in the latter pages which I wanted to cover today.

After all, there’s more to social media than Facebook. Instagram is proving a successful service for brands and organisations to engage with their audiences. In this process, some are using content in a number of interesting ways.insta1

Mercedes-Benz shares how it is organizing things neatly

In order to promote its new compact SUV, the handbook details how Mercedes-Benz recently took to Instagram to use its rich visual functionality and highlight the space-saving design of the GLA vehicle.

Taking influence from the widely-used #ThingsOrganizedNeatly hashtag, the brand did just that. It used the GLA’s custom cargo mat to organize items relevant to trips that potential customers would make. These sponsored posts were also cross-targeted with users on Facebook.

The campaign resulted in a 14 point lift in recall for Mercedes-Benz Instagram ads, a 54% increase in site visits from both Instagram and Facebook ads, as well as a 580% increase in site visits when combined with Facebook direct response ads.

Qantas uses seasonal photo and video imagery

Shaping marketing campaigns around the seasons is nothing new, but airline Qantas looked to Instagram to connect with a younger audience itching to travel and returning home this summer.

insta2According to the report, Qantas is the first Australian brand to run a video and photo campaign on the service. The brand sought to present ‘quintessentially summer moments’ such as surfing, cricket and going on road trips with additional 15 second video clips of real people reuniting at airports during the season.

In response, the brand saw a 30 point lift in ad recall and a four point lift in message association.


CCTV News re-uses existing content on Instagram

The Chinese broadcaster successfully used Instagram to recycle the best of their existing content and to reach a US audience.

By curating memorable moments from a range of CCTV News documentaries and films into 15 second Instagram blips, The handbook details how they managed to portray themselves as a destination for quality and wide-ranging world news with a unique perspective.

The videos really connected with the younger end of the US audience, reaching 3.7m people and seeing a 6 point lift in ad recall among 25-34 year-olds as well as a 4 point lift in brand awareness.

Birchbox jumps on the unboxing trend

Beauty product subscription service, Birchbox, have also recently used short video clips on Instagram to drive engagement and promote their boxes.


The brand adopted the recent online video trend of ritual unboxing and showed their actual staff members receiving boxes and trying out the products they contain. The videos also reflected the tropes established in “let me show you” style blog posts.

As a result of the campaign, Birchbox saw a 12 point lift in brand awareness and a 26 point lift in ad recall.

Instagram best practice

The above examples were just a few of the brands featured in the report which have successfully made use of Instagrams’ specific content-led functionality. The handbook also cites what it considers to be best practice for using the service…

  • On brand: Those who are doing best on Instagram have best identified their brand’s unique point of view and are ensuring that the content they create quickly reflect the brand – either via “a logo, an iconic brand element, or a brand colour.”
  • Consistent: Users need to be able to scan a brand’s Instagram page and quickly identify a message from a selection of photos and video stills. Consistent messaging “across both paid and organic content” is really important.
  • Concept driven: All of the brands succeeding on Instagram according to the handbook have concept driven campaigns. This can be “a specific visual treatment, or a theme” and some which we’ve seen work really well reflect trends already proving popular on social media such as hashtags and unboxings.
  • Well crafted: Bold uncluttered imagery that is well-considered works well on Instagram. Quality composition and style can be achieved with careful planning and without the need for big budgets. Remember, Instagram is something of a product of high-resolution mobile screens – so ensure any content works in this context.

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