Best of 2014: Our Favorite Instagram Campaigns

A picture is worth a thousand words, and brands are saying a lot this year on Instagram.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant to see Instagram as anything more than an inspirational channel for people and brands. Similar to the way I use Pinterest, I began following lifestyle brands as a way to get inspired and potentially influence decisions on where to travel or what clothes to buy or how to style my home. I didn’t want to feel like I was being “sold” to.

Then I made the dangerous decision to follow Baublebar on Instagram. I happen to love jewelry and figured I’d follow the brand to get a sense of the latest jewelry trends—yes, to influence purchases but not necessarily directly make a purchase from Baublebar itself. Then they began to introduce their Buried Baubles—a jewelry piece they highlight that is on sale for a limited time. They post a photo of the piece and update the link in their bio to direct to the flash sale page. GENIUS. So terrible for my bank account, but a brilliant way for them to influence my very loose purchasing habits.

Brands are taking note of Instagram’s unique features and finding ways to drive sales. And let’s face it, Instagram kills it on engagement. A Forrester study earlier this year found that brand Instagram posts generated an average per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. With a number like that, it’s no surprise that more brands are beginning to pay attention and put more resources into this channel. 

I’ve definitely seen several amazing images and campaigns on Instagram this year, and so has the rest of the Spredfast marketing team. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite Instagram campaigns of 2014: 

GE InstaWalk

One of the best things about Instagram is that it’s an easy way to provide an intriguing, behind-the-scenes look at everything from our favorite celebrities and sports teams to our favorite brands. Carried over from a campaign that started in late 2013, General Electric hosted two real-time tours at a few of their facilities across the US in 2014 and invited some of Instagram’s best photographers to capture images using the hashtag #GEInstaWalk. Most recently, GE took Instagram photographers to a locomotive manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The content sourced by these photographers are beautiful, but also provide insight into the technology behind GE’s most advanced products.


Welding At It's Best @generalelectric #GEinstawalk #slusherphoto

A photo posted by scott slusher (@slusherphoto) on


Online retailer NET-A-PORTER has more than one million followers on Instagram and continues to find fun ways to incentivize engagement. In January, Net-A-Porter launched the “I am Porter” app to promote their print magazine Porter. Users were able to place their own photo within a virtual Porter magazine cover and share the images on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for a chance to win an $8,000 shopping spree. More than 1,000 users participated in the UGC-contest on Instagram. This is one of the most fun user-generated contests we saw on Instagram this year, and we also loved seeing Instagram used well in an omni-channel campaign. 

Target Halloween Campaign 

We already mentioned as one of our favorite Halloween campaigns, but we’d be remiss to have a post about the Best of Instagram without mentioning it here. Target created an adorable virtual village within their Instagram account called Halloween Hills. Each image (or, in this case, haunted home) linked off to a separate “Trick” or “Treat” Instagram account that shared cool DIY recipes and craft projects, guided by Instagram photo instructions. The concept was so innovative and definitely one of our recent favorites.


In August, Instagram released the Hyperlapse app, which enabled users to create time-lapse videos with video stabilization. Many people were quick to jump on the trend, creating videos that made anyone with motion sickness incredibly nauseous. We were really excited to see many brands immediately use the app and turn out video that worked really well for their product. 

Footlocker shows off product


The Nike Kobe 9 'Bright Mango' drops TOMORROW! Will you be lacing these up? #approved #hyperlapse

A video posted by Foot Locker (@footlocker) on

Nickelodeon gets creative


A video posted by Nickelodeon (@nickelodeontv) on

Oreo shares UGC content

We’re looking forward to this holiday season, particularly so we can see how brands use Instagram over the next few months (we’re already seeing some fun uses already). If you see any Instagram campaigns that make your holiday season brighter, tweet @Spredfast and let us know. 

Wondering how to lay a strong foundation for success on Instagram and other major social networks? Check out our 6 Blueprints for Social Network Success

Laura Baker's picture

Laura Baker

Laura is the Senior Manager of Digital Strategy, leading strategy and analytics for Spredfast's digital channels. A Kansas City native, Laura loves barbecue, Jayhawks, Boulevard Beer and Bo Jackson. In her free time, Laura trains dogs at a local animal rescue, writes for a classic movie review blog and tweets (frequently) at @SnackMantis.