Powerful Instagram Marketing Trends & Ideas (for the Holiday Season)

Examples, Ideas, Instagram

We’re halfway through the third quarter of 2019 and officially in the holiday planning phase. This is an important time, as marketers know it can make or break a holiday campaign.

With a goal of helping you reach as many relevant holiday shoppers as possible, this article is focused on Instagram, where 60% of its 1 billion active monthly users engage the platform to discover products and brands. Your business doesn’t want to miss out on the expected $1.035 trillion in US retail spending this 2019 holiday season — especially to your competition.

In late 2018 we reported on a trend of Instagram’s steady investment to capture impulse buys (around 84% of Americans admit they’ve made an impulse buy) and evolve the platform towards a whole new level of e-commerce. Now in 2019, with more than 2 million monthly advertisers, much has already changed. We got the expansion of the shopping tag feature to both Instagram’s feed and Stories and the launch of an on-platform purchasing feature. Instagram is now a huge opportunity for businesses to create more engagement and increase sales conversions.

This article starts by explaining 5 Instagram trends with continued growth this year — trends able to guide your 2019 holiday promotions, contests, and overall marketing strategy. The article also provides content, contest and promotion ideas based on these trends. You can use these examples to expedite your own Instagram marketing planning for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas.

Remember: effective planning starts by setting the right goals and having quality content — for a refresher we created a 2019 Instagram Marketing Strategy Guide earlier this year.

Now, let the holiday planning begin!

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Instagram Marketing Trends & Ideas Woobox Contests

Instagram has been looking to maximize its revenue opportunities this year. Businesses who understand the following trends that have emerged to achieve this goal will see a greater impact from their own Instagram strategy.

Sharing Instagram Content, Contests, and Giveaways on the Stories Feature

Instagram Marketing Trends & Ideas Woobox Giveaways

Instagram Stories have been steadily growing in 2019 with more than 500 million viewers every day. While the Stories feature is known for its in-the-moment and unpolished content, believe it or not, one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.

Prior to 2019, we’ve seen Instagram contests primarily distributed on the main feed — which is more polished and mostly used for product and brand discovery. This year we are seeing a lot more brands utilize the Stories feature to distribute their giveaways and promotions.

Instagram Marketing Ideas & Trends Woobox Promotions and Contests

Stories are a smart choice as a contest or giveaway distribution channel for a few reasons, including:

  • Stories only last for 24 hours before they disappear. This appeals to a user’s sense of urgency to take action now versus later.
  • Stories are designed and keep evolving to focus on engagement which is much higher than the newsfeed engagement rate.
  • Stories are the first thing a user sees when they go on their Instagram account, being right at the top. So they have the ability to be seen by more people.

Interactivity and engagement within stories have continued to grow with Instagram adding features like questions, polls, countdowns and emoji stickers. Music was also added as a feature this year, as a Facebook study found that 80% of Stories with voice-over or music performed better than ads without.

Instagram Shopping Features Are Growing Rapidly

Over the last year, Instagram introduced an array of new shopping features that every marketer should take advantage of this holiday season. 130 million Instagram users tap to reveal product tags in shopping posts each month. Features that were new to last year’s holiday shopping season like “product stickers” for stories, shopping tags for video, and the added shopping feed in the Explore section.

A roll-out of a beta “Checkout” feature was tested with a variety of large U.S. brands (you can find a current list here) that will inevitably give all brands and advertisers in-app checkout abilities — maybe even before the holidays.

Holiday Marketing Trends for Instagram Contests (with Ideas)

The shopping collection feature, which allows consumers to save products of interest by tapping “save to shopping collection” on the retailer’s ad, will also continue to support retailers this season for holiday wish lists and inspiration.

IGTV Will Remain a Focus and See Further Changes

Instagram Marketing Ideas & Trends for Contests, Giveaways, Sweepstakes

As we’ve already seen in 2019, Instagram isn’t giving up on its aspirations for IGTV, even though last year hopes of user and creator adoption seemed grim. Early this year, IGTV introduced 1-minute teasers to the feed to direct viewers to the main IGTV channel. Instagram also began featuring IGTV in its Explore tab—alongside Shop—which indicates its internal priority at the company. Additionally, Instagram allowed users to link to IGTV video using URLs in their Stories.

Instagram Marketing Contest Giveaway Examples Holiday Trends

IGTV also underwent a revamp, taking lessons from the “discover feeds” from rapidly growing video sharing apps like TikTok, and its video rival Snapchat. The main IGTV channel now has a “discover feed” of its own and it automatically queues the next video for users to watch. The platform even pulled back on its strong push for vertical video formats by now allowing landscape video format uploads to entice more creators to join.

Clearly, Instagram is putting a lot of time into getting users to adopt IGTV, meaning businesses and advertisers need to care because the platform will incentivize them. Facebook’s live video feature was given more reach than other traditional forms when it first launched, and we can expect the same with IGTV in its early beginnings.

Instagram Contests & Giveaways are Evolving to the Platform

There are 3 major themes that your business should try out this holiday season when it comes to contests and giveaways.

Frequent and Recurring Contests and Giveaways

Instagram Stories Contest Example Ideas Trends

Previously, brands would focus on one-time contests with large prizes, bringing a lot of attention and a surge of new followers to their account. Many brands are now trying out recurring giveaways that happen more frequently than once a year, from monthly to even daily giveaways through their Stories and feed. Recurring giveaways have lower-end prizes (often products the brand offers) which in turn creates a lower barrier to entry and helps generate more qualified leads. The ongoing engagement factor and consistency of this approach provides different benefits than larger giveaways.

Giveaway Collaborations with Influencers

Many businesses are leveraging the power of trust and loyalty through influencer collaborations. These partnerships can significantly increase the reach and performance of contests and giveaways and will continue to grow in popularity beyond 2019. Two ways to collaborate include having one influencer create content that you share on your profile or working with multiple influencers to create content for your contest.

Make Contests More Interactive

Interactivity is one of the best ways to grab attention during the holidays, and Instagram Stories makes it easy. Whether you add a poll, a question, or a picture-by-picture walk through that leads to your giveaway, you will see brands adding interactivity to their promotions this holiday.

Mentioned above, one of the biggest trends we’ve seen in Instagram advertising is interactive, high-quality Instagram Stories ads. Instagram favors less text, so opt to create video ads, or use photo-ads with minimal descriptions and focus on the call-to-action. When creating Instagram Stories ads, opt to include the voiceover or music feature for even more engagement.

The second major advertising trend we’ve seen this year that we’ll definitely see skyrocket during the holidays is sponsored content from influencers as brand recognize they need to invest in this type of content. Instagram tends to be the most lucrative influencer investment as 78% of Influencers Prefer Instagram for brand collaboration and 55.4% of Influencers use Instagram Stories for sponsored campaigns.

Instagram Marketing Ideas and Contest Examples for the 2019 Holiday Season

Now that some of 2019’s most impactful Instagram marketing trends are top of mind, this section will incorporate these strategies into tangible promotion examples. We will take you through ideas for the seasons biggest holiday opportunities including:

  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Christmas

A healthy US retail spending growth of 3.7% equalling around $1.035 trillion is expected this season. The following Instagram marketing campaign ideas can help you capture more of this opportunity.

Halloween Instagram Contest and Marketing Ideas

More than a third of shoppers have plans to start their shopping in September or earlier for Halloween. Here are a few ideas you can start now to build momentum and capture early shoppers.

Hold a weekly contest or giveaway to build up to Halloween

As we’ve mentioned above, recurring contests and giveaways create more consistent engagement. In this case, they also create an optimal way to reach both early Halloween shoppers and last-minute customers.

One of the best parts of these types of campaigns is that the prize doesn’t have to be extravagant. People are inherently drawn to “free” and “win”, so the prize value can be cost-effective and easily stay within your marketing budget.

We love this example from this Halloween lifestyle craft influencer, HalloweenXO.

Instagram Giveaway Example w/ Marketing Trends & Ideas

Any brand and product can be adapted to fit the theme. We really appreciated how this eco-friendly toothbrush used their Halloween giveaway to showcase their values while tying their campaign back to Halloween by claiming the prize will keep away “possible cavities from eating all the candies”.

Instagram Marketing Trends & Ideas Woobox Examples 2019

And this brand even made Botox fit the theme!

Instagram Cosmetics Beauty Marketing Trends & Ideas Holiday Season Example Giveaway

If you are already exhausted by the thought of running a recurring Instagram contest or giveaway with all of your other holiday marketing planning happening, using contest software like Woobox makes the process much easier to launch and manage.

Woobox can even help you easily help you amplify engagement by awarding bonus entries, and randomly select one or more winners for you with a single click.

Remember: Promote your contests and giveaways in your Instagram stories and use engaging elements like music and creating a story through images that lead to the contest. IGTV promotions can also win you lots of organic traffic this season.

Collaborate with a Macro-Influencer or a Strategic Group of Micro-Influencers

No matter what kind of marketing budget you have, utilizing Instagram’s top advertising trend, influencer marketing, can work for every marketer.

Larger Budgets

Partner with an influencer whose audience is vast and fits your ideal customer profile. Run a co-branded contest with them, making sure the prize includes your product or offer. Have the influencer post a few posts that also include shopping tags to your product or service being advertised to capture impulse buys and shoppers ready to purchase. Make sure that your team creates the giveaway rules/entry form to ensure you capture all leads. Woobox makes this easy and keeps leads organized for future contact.

Smaller Budgets

Find influencers with a few thousand followers up to 10K followers and provide them with free products to host their own giveaway with their audience. Create a unique contest page that co-brands with that influencer, and have the influencer share to promote the giveaway. Creating and managing the campaign makes it easier to capture all leads, and takes away the lift for the influencer—they won’t be able to say no.

Focus on the Halloween Experience

Many campaigns this season will focus their content on Halloween content, but forget to communicate the Halloween experience. People love the Halloween season because they get to create a unique experience, that oftentimes brings a nostalgic feeling. Think about Halloween parties, food, drinks, and ambiance.

One example is to host a giveaway or create some sort of incentive (such as a discount) that requires the entrant to complete a poll about what they’d like to experience this Halloween season. Woobox makes creating polls and managing feedback simple.

Using the idea from the Woobox customer example below, create a list of recipes, decor, and games that are Halloween themed to create the ultimate Halloween party. Have entrants vote on their favorite Halloween Experience. You can even post each individual experience as its own Instagram post and story with shopping tags to your products.

Instagram Marketing Example based on Holiday Trends & Ideas

For more Halloween specific Instagram campaign and contest ideas, check out this recent article.

Thanksgiving Instagram Marketing and Contest Ideas

58 percent of women and 52 percent of the 2,200 adults surveyed in a nation-wide poll said they think stores should be closed until Black Friday. As we saw last year, there is a growing trend of consumers aiming to keep the Thanksgiving holiday focused on keeping the holiday about family and friends and giving seasonal staff the opportunity to do the same. Another national poll uncovered that just under one-half of those it surveyed, 46.4 percent, said they would refrain from shopping at stores that remain open.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run Thanksgiving promotions, but it does indicate a winning strategy to focus on this season: creating a campaign that inspires and rewards connection.

Marketing Trends & Ideas for Instagram Contests This Holiday Season

One of the most successful marketing campaigns ever done around the Thanksgiving holiday was Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. The campaign encouraged customers to replace table place cards with customized Coke bottles that would include their guests’ names and a personalized message. For Gen Z and Millennials, personalization is a way of life, and staying connected to friends and family is important. With 70 percent of Instagram’s user base made up of individuals under the age of 35, every brand should be following Coca-Cola’s lead this season.

Some ways to capture the hearts of these generations without needing to create a completely personalized product include:

  • Create a giveaway contest that encourages users to take a selfie with your product and a funny, on theme caption. Stove Top did a great job with this. Bonus: you can share out the most creative selfies on your channel throughout Thanksgiving Day.

Instagram Giveaway Ideas Trends for Holidays 2019

  • Hold a contest that encourages entrants to share one of their favorite Thanksgiving memories
  • Hold a giveaway for the “best family recipe” this Thanksgiving, encouraging entrants to post photos or a video of them making the recipe on Thanksgiving day with family and friends
  • Create a Thanksgiving-themed personality quiz to engage your Instagram audience. Use software like Woobox to easily create and host your quiz results. Have their results describe their personality type as various Thanksgiving dishes, and reward them with a discount to a personalized product recommendation based on their results. Here’s another example from a Woobox customer of using a personality quiz but creating a giveaway out of it instead.

Instagram Marketing Example for Holiday Shopping 2019

Quick but Important Reminder: Share your campaigns on Instagram’s feed, Stories, and IGTV. Curate user-generated content from these campaigns and make sure to tag and shout out winners and Instagram followers engaged with the campaign.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Instagram Marketing and Contest Ideas

Cyber Monday sales in 2018 topped $7.9 billion (according to Adobe Analytics data) making it the single largest shopping day in U.S. history.  Black Friday’s online sales also grew significantly to $6.2 billion—more than $2 billion in revenues came from smartphones. Whether you love them or hate them, these two major retail days should be a primary focus this holiday season. To stand out from competitors, we encourage your team to create content that makes your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals known to your audience well in advance and makes them as easy as possible to access the day of. Here are campaign ideas that do just that.

Create a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals Guide Using IGTV

Instagram Stories Marketing Example for Holiday Trends Ideas 2019

A few weeks prior to the days, compile a video describing and or showcasing all of the deals consumers can expect this season and share to IGTV to capture organic traffic and to be able to easily link to from your stories. Sponsor both Instagram posts and stories using the best practices for this season we mentioned earlier to reach as much of your audience as possible, along with new audiences. You can run spin-off campaigns from managed through contest software like Woobox, including creating audience polls for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals they are most excited for or holding a vote on which deal they like the most for an extra discount on the most popular deal or to enter a giveaway to win that item.

Use shopping tags and encourage your audience to make a shopping list on Instagram

Instagram Marketing Ideas & Trends 2019 Holiday

As we mentioned, Instagram’s shopping feature is going to skyrocket this holiday season, and tagging your Black Friday and Cyber Monday product deals provide an array of advantages. To stay top of mind the big days, encouraging users to save your products to their Instagram Wish List (aka “shopping list”) will increase the likelihood that they will remember your deal. If Instagram’s checkout feature rolls out as planned, they will also be able to easily check out without ever leaving the app. By using shopping tags you’ll also end up getting featured on Instagram’s shopping tab on the Explore page, and users that follow you will see your products along with new customers the algorithm thinks will like the content.

Host a giveaway to win all of your Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals

Host a contest for one or more of your followers to win your Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal list. Once the giveaway is complete email everyone who entered and didn’t win the contest a coupon for extra savings on top of the current promotions. Using software like Woobox to run your contest makes picking a winner as simple as one click, and compiling and transferring all entrants data to an email marketing campaign seamless.

Christmas Instagram Marketing and Contest Ideas

At last, but certainly not least, all of your Instagram marketing campaigns are a build-up to drive gift sales for the Christmas holiday and create new brand awareness and customers with the increase in traffic and buyer intent.

Christmas and holiday shopping trends look like this:

  • 39% of shoppers start before the end of October
  • 21% of shoppers start before Thanksgiving
  • 27% of shoppers start after Thanksgiving
  • 11% of shoppers start in December

And this shopping trend extends beyond Christmas day, as 4 percent of shoppers in a survey by the National Retail Federation said their final gifts wouldn’t be bought until after Christmas. Let’s go through a few examples of campaigns to capture the attention of ad-inundated Christmas shoppers and convert them to customers.

An online variation of the “12 Days til Christmas” giveaway

It works for Ellen, so it will definitely work for your Instagram’s engagement. Create a recurring giveaway, where each prize has a 24 hour entry period, and the winner is announced the next morning, followed by a brand new giveaway. This type of contest keeps engagement high on the important shopping days leading up to til Christmas, brings new eyes to all of of your other shoppable content and product promotions, and creates buzz about your products. This type of giveaway also makes a lovely recap content post to share the day after Christmas showcasing all of the winners.

Instagram Marketing Ideas Trends Examples 2019

And remember, there is no rule saying you have to have a 12-day giveaway. If you want to capture the opportunity of the season, you can start your giveaway earlier to see greater returns.

Instagram Book Giveaway Example Holiday Marketing Trends & Ideas

Using Woobox contest software to prep, launch and run your recurring holiday giveaway will save your team a lot of time and guesswork, and allow more focus to all of your holiday campaigns.

Collaborate on gift guides with influencers

We all know that one of the most stressful parts of the holiday is trying to find the perfect gift for everyone. Suggesting gifts helps customers find what they need for the holidays and brings in business. While creating your own branded gift-guide can be beneficial, collaborating with influencers can be more effective because they can edify your brand and your products. The most important part of this campaign is choosing the right influencers that share your same audience profile, and have a strong, credible brand themselves. Once you’ve decided the influencer or influencers you will partner with, you can create a coupon specific to this campaign to track sales and offer an extra incentive for their audience to make a purchase. Make sure to have created content around the product or products you are promoting and include shopping tags for those ready to purchase.

Create interaction to foster engagement and grab attention

Instagram Marketing Examples for Holiday Shopping

One of the best examples of what creating interactivity looks like is the collaboration between Ted Baker and the POKE agency who launched an interactive holiday campaign called #TedsElfie. Instagram users visited their holiday-inspired Instagram page @TedsElfie where they found a series of images that were curated to look like a puzzle board. Each image’s comment revealed details about whether or not you were close to finding the missing Elfie.

When someone found Elfie they would leave a comment on the photo to enter a big giveaway (including a trip to see the northern lights). Those who didn’t find the elves still had the chance to win smaller prizes from different brand collaborators in the giveaway.

If creating a massive online adventure isn’t in your time allotment this year, adding interactivity to your campaigns can be as easy as adding music to your Stories, creating polls, asking questions, telling stories, and anything that demands interaction from your audience.

2019 Instagram Holiday Marketing Guide Summary and Recap

The team at Woobox is here to help you use the platform to implement any of the campaigns mentioned in this guide, and answer any questions to help you achieve the best results this holiday season. Before we recap what this article covered, here is a list of every Woobox service mentioned in throughout the article to support your holiday campaigns.

Recap: 5 Instagram Marketing Trends to Know This Holiday Season

Businesses who understand and utilize the following trends will see greater success in their 2019 holiday campaigns.

1. Share Instagram Content, Contests, and Giveaways On Stories

This year we are seeing a lot more brands utilize the Stories feature to distribute their giveaways and promotions—and for good reasons. Stories elicit engagement, are seen by more people and continue to be a priority of the platform.

2. Use Instagram’s Ever-Growing Shopping Features

Instagram introduced an array of new shopping features that every marketer should take advantage, including “product stickers”, a shopping feed in the “Explore” section, and a beta run of an in-app “Checkout” feature.

 3. IGTV Will Continue To Grow

Including its favoritism by Instagram’s external team, other benefits of using IGTV this season include: 1-minute teasers of IGTV videos on the feed, the IGTV button featured in the Explore tab, and links to IGTV video available to share in Stories

4. Instagram contests and giveaways are changing

Recurring giveaways, collaborations with influencers, and infusing more interactivity into contest promotions are required to stand out this holiday season.

5. Instagram Advertising is changing too

Similar to its owner, Facebook, Instagram is forcing ads to have minimal text and a deeper focus on imagery. Ads and sponsored content with influencers are also drastically growing as 78% of Influencers Prefer Instagram for brand collaboration

Content and Promotion Ideas Recap for the 2019 Holiday Season

Use the following examples to expedite your own Instagram marketing planning for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas.

1. Halloween Promotion Ideas

  • Hold a weekly contest or giveaway to build up to Halloween. Using recurring contests and giveaways is an optimal way to reach both early Halloween shoppers and last-minute customers.
  • Collaborate with a macro-influencer or a strategic group of micro-influencers. No matter what kind of marketing budget you have, utilizing Instagram’s top advertising trend, influencer marketing, can work for every marketer.
  • Focus on the experience. Many campaigns this season will focus their content on Halloween content, but forget to communicate the Halloween experience.

2. Thanksgiving Promotion Ideas

  • 58 percent of women and 52 percent of the 2,200 adults surveyed in a nation-wide poll said they think stores should be closed until Black Friday.
  • The overall winning strategy to focus on this season is creating a campaign that inspires and rewards connection.
  • One of the most successful marketing campaigns ever done around the Thanksgiving holiday was Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign.
  • Create a giveaway contest that encourages users to take a selfie with your product and a funny, on theme caption.
  • Hold a contest that encourages entrants to share one of their favorite Thanksgiving memories
  • Hold a giveaway for the “best family recipe” this Thanksgiving, encouraging entrants to post photos or a video of them making the recipe on Thanksgiving day with family and friends
  • Create a Thanksgiving-themed personality quiz to engage your Instagram audience.

3. Black Friday & Cyber Monday Promotion Ideas

  • Create a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals Guide Using IGTV.
  • Compile a video describing deals consumers can expect this season and share to IGTV to capture organic traffic.
  • Use shopping tags and encourage your audience to make a shopping list on Instagram.
  • Host a giveaway to win all of your Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals

4. Christmas Promotion Ideas

Christmas and holiday shopping trends look like this:

  • 39% of shoppers start before the end of October
  • 21% of shoppers start before Thanksgiving
  • 27% of shoppers start after Thanksgiving
  • 11% of shoppers start in December

Contest examples include:

  • Create an online variation of the “12 Days til Christmas” giveaway. Create a recurring giveaway, where each prize has a 24 hour entry period, and the winner is announced the next morning, followed by a brand new giveaway.
  • Collaborate on gift guides with influencers. Suggesting gifts helps customers find what they need for the holidays and brings in business
  • Create interaction to foster engagement and grab attention. One of the best examples of what creating interactivity looks like is the collaboration between Ted Baker and the POKE agency who launched an interactive holiday campaign called #TedsElfie.

If you’re ready to launch your most effective holiday season campaigns to date on Instagram, Woobox is here to help. Woobox Support is available from 8 am until 5 pm PST, Monday through Friday at 1-360-450-5200 or support@woobox.com.

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