Scroll and Heart: Instagram Advertising Campaigns

Let’s start with a no-brainer, what’s the secret to a successful Instagram campaign? Well, great pictures obviously. If you mix engaging images with a brilliant communication strategy strongly based on insights on your audience and community, you are pretty much sure to be on the on the right way to succeed on Instagram.

Instagram A-B-C

In case you are Kimmy Schmidt (hashbrown no filter!) and you lived in a bunker for the last 15 years, Instagram is social mobile app platform fully based on image sharing. It offers multiple filters to modify pictures and allows users to use hashtags to share their pictures. On the app, users can share pictures and short videos, follow other users, heart and comment pictures and search for other pictures using words, hashtags and even emojis. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for  US$1 billion in cash and stock and its search it’s powered by Unicorn, Facebook’s search infrastructure.  Last March, Instagram announced that it will get rid of its chronologic feed in favour of  an algorithms  based feed with the goal of personalising the  users’  experience  focusing on their interests and relationships, rather than showing photos in chronological order.

  • Why is this platform interesting for Marketers and Advertisers? Let’s summarize some data.
  • 400 Millions Monthly Active Users
  • 20% of Internet users aged 16-64 had an Instagram account in 2014.
  • The app is more popular among younger people, with usage at 41% among those aged 16-24 and at 35% among 24-34s.
  • 51% of the users are men and 49% are women.
  • Last but not least, user spends 21 minutes per day using the app.
  • 3.5 billions like per day
  • #love, #istagood, #follow and #nofilter are some of the most popular hashtags used on the platform

Instagram advertising was launched in the US in 2013 for a selection of brand in the form of  “promoted post”, a sponsored post is shown on organic the feed of users targeted based on their interests, location, gender or age. It is now available worldwide to any business or advertiser.

Instagram has the same targeting options of Facebook advertising and it’s actually fully integrated in the Facebook advertising platform and it claims to be the world’s largest mobile ads platforms.

Instagram now offers three formats (photo, video and carousel ads) and the different advertising solutions for business and advertisers objectives such as clicks or conversions to website, mobile app download and engagement, video view, general engagement or mass awareness.

In 2013, Michael Kors was the first brand to test Instagram advertising testing with a promoted post. Despite some first negative reactions, results speak for themselves, the ad gained in the first 18hours  218,000 likes (370 % more than usual)  and 33,000 new followers (16 times more than usual).



Instagram is one of the favourite platforms of beauty lovers and big beauty brands don’t miss the opportunity to engage with this community: 95%  of beauty brands are on the platform in 2016— up from 75% from October 2013. And for beauty and fashion brands, engagement and interactions are higher on Instagram compared to any other platform, where they share products and lifestyle pictures, make up ideas and often re-gram of fans or bloggers make up done using their products.

Let’s talk about some successful campaign on this industry.



Guerlain is an icon French cosmetic and perfume brand founded in 1828 in Paris. Guerlain wanted to promote Terracotta, a legendary bronzing powder created over 30 years ago and still one of the best seller of the brand. The goal was to reach a younger audience and reinforce the association between the company and the Parisian lifestyle. They achieved their goal by creating strong and creative visuals and playing with Parisian landmarks.

The results of the campaign, measured by a Nielsen Brand Effect study, were :

  • 965,000 women reached
  • 23 point increase in ad recall
  • 15 point increase in campaign awareness


Maybelline is an American leading beauty brand  with more than 200 products available in 129 countries. The objective of one of their Australian campaign was to raise awareness of the Brow Drama mascara among 18 to 40-year-old Australian women. The campaign featured local visual highlighting eyebrows as an essential part of every woman’s makeup routine with pictures of Australian model and Instagrammer Stephanie Smith demonstrating how sleek and sculpted eyebrows impact overall appearance.
This campaign shows well how using consumers insights and crafted images, a company can eventually increase its sales using social media since the campaign generated the following results:

  • 16-point lift in brand awareness of Maybelline Brow Drama,
  • 3pt  lift in message association
  • a 2.4x uplift on Maybelline Brow product sales


Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bess an American natural skincare and cosmetic company decided to promote with an instagram campaign their new lip crayon collection with the goal of  to boost awareness and increase ad recall with beauty enthusiasts. Over a four-week period, Burt’s Bees ran image ads targeting females 18-24 in the US. The playful visuals of the campaign showcased the different lip colour option offered by the company and highlighted some key attributes such as natural ingredients, variety of colours and the precision of the lip crayon. The campaign generated a 5 pt. lift in product awareness lift in  16-point lift in ad recall.



Birchbox is a subscription beauty service that delivers 5 new beauty products each month to its subscribers based on their preference. Birchbox created a five videos campaign focusing on the surprise reaction of the unboxing experience with the goal of boosting awareness and reach a new audience.

The video campaign generated a sizeable 12pt lift in brand awareness and a 26pt lift in ad recall versus the control group.



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