How to Use Instagram Giveaways for your eCommerce Business

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 03/08/22

In our latest guest post, marketing specialist Stefanos Bournias explores Instagram marketing objectives for ecommerce – and how your business can achieve and measure them with giveaways.

If you’re like most e-commerce marketers, you:

  • Use Instagram to increase brand awareness
  • Use Instagram as a sales channel
  • Run giveaways to achieve your Instagram marketing goals, but aren’t sure how to quantify the results 

Giveaways have become integral to ecommerce growth on Instagram. A quick giveaway on Instagram can grow your followers 70% faster than any other method. 

But what are the key performance indicators to analyze, and how do we quantify the results?

Instagram marketing objectives 

You’re probably vaguely, if not fully, aware of the benefits that your ecommerce business can reap from running giveaways on Instagram.

Here are the top marketing objectives that Instagram outlines:

Chart of 3 marketing objectives. Awareness: drive awareness of your business, product, and service. Consideration: have potential customers learn more about your products or services. Conversion: increase product sales, mobile app downloads, even visitors to your store.

At the top of the funnel, your marketing objectives are all about awareness, and consideration. It’s important to keep in mind that vanity metrics like reach or even likes may not be very beneficial for your business objectives. Instead, you want to start building a genuine, active audience. 

At the middle and bottom of the funnel, your marketing objectives should be geared towards conversion. The exact conversion event will vary. It depends on your business’ conversion window and the product you’re selling.

It’s imperative that you’re fully aware which stage of the funnel your marketing campaign is targeting. This will determine the objective and will allow you to set a goal that you can quantify.

Setting a goal

Your goal will determine the rules and rewards of your giveaway.

Establish your key performance indicators. These will help you know what you want to achieve, and how you’ll determine if your campaign is a success.

For instance, if you want to generate more sales, then your key performance metric should be conversion events like add to carts & purchases.

If you have historical data from previous giveaways, use it to benchmark your goal. If you don’t, it can be tricky to set an arbitrary number. So be realistic, and don’t get de-motivated if you don’t achieve it right away!

Don’t complicate things by having too many objectives at once. Having a single goal is better because you’ll focus your energy and efforts on that goal – and it’s easy to track your performance. 

In this article, we’ll explore three different objectives that you could focus on, with key metrics and top tips for each one. 

Here’s How to Achieve Your Instagram Marketing Objectives with Giveaways

1. Create product awareness: showcase specific products in your giveaways

If you have a great product you want to showcase, one of the most effective ways to generate awareness is through a giveaway. 

I often see ecommerce businesses doing giveaways where the prize isn’t a product they actually sell. There’s nothing wrong with this if you know what products your community loves.  The prize is the holy grail of your campaign, and it should excite your target audience.

But if your goal is to create awareness and you’re convinced you have a great product that your community will love, then consider showcasing specific products in your giveaways. 

Get to know your audience and know what they have in common. Know their needs and ask them what they want.

The internet-bred eCommerce fashion retailer, Dolls Kill, is killing it when it comes to their Instagram marketing. Their Instagram account is the 2,600th most followed account with 2.6M followers (which grew from 55%-60% from the previous year).

Analysis of Dolls Kill Instagram account, listing their overall grade (A minus), followers rank, following rank, media rank, and engagement rank on Instagram.

Dolls Kill often run giveaway campaigns to showcase an item from their upcoming mini-collections.

Screenshot of a Dolls Kill Instagram post. The image shows a collection of pink lingerie, accessories, and cosmetics. The caption invites users to a Valentine's Day giveaway worth over $2000. Users have to follow and tag friends to enter.

The most common mistake most entrepreneurs make is offering a prize that appeals to an overly broad audience. 

Generic prizes produce short-term results. A larger number of people may take part in your campaign, but they might only be interested in your prize as opposed to your business. And once your campaign is over, they’ll probably unfollow you.

You want to build a tribe with a cult-like-following. Not a bunch of followers who don’t take any action and support your online shop. Which brings us to our next objective…

2. Build a cult-like following: run giveaways to reward your community

Building a tribe is not easy. But you’d rather have 1,000 true fans than 10,000 people who are un-engaged. Ultimately, this will make or break your business’ growth on Instagram.

Genuine giveaways allow you to build your tribe. They’re  one of the most effective ways to increase your followers by giving back to your community and making them feel like a part of your tribe. 

You can also make your giveaways fun and more engaging by adding a competitive element to them. 

When they first started out, Dolls Kill ran photo contests for followers who modelled their clothes. They later recruited the winners as their main influencers, which has allowed them to grow rapidly in an authentic way.

3. Use Instagram as a sales channel: run giveaways to promote sales

Instagram is one of the most effective sales channel for ecommerce businesses because:

  • It’s visual: impeccable for showcasing products.
  • Its users are engaged millennials: 80% of users follow a brand.
  • Its users are making purchases: Instagram has the 2nd highest average order value out of all social channels.
  • It’s continually adding new, business-friendly features: think of shoppable tags, or the native payments IG is currently testing.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend making purchases the primary objective of your giveaway campaign. Your campaign might (and probably will) generate sales, but if you make it the main objective, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Using Instagram as a sales channel is an objective to consider once you’ve already raised product awareness and built a community with previous giveaways. Start with the first two objectives in this article – then move on to promoting sales with giveaways when you’re ready.

Leverage giveaways to build your business

We started this blogpost by considering the three marketing objectives recommended by Instagram: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Next, we saw how you can work towards those goals by raising product awareness, then building a community, and finally promoting sales and conversions with Instagram giveaways. Just as your customers move through the funnel in three stages, you can think of your Instagram campaign as having three stages of giveaways.

Ready to get started? Make sure your first giveaway follows Instagram guidelines – by using our free templates for giveaway posts and Stories, with text and images designed for success.

Stefanos Bournias

Content marketing consultant that specializes in SaaS businesses. He's written for start-ups like Opt-Intelligence and Hypeauditor and worked with content managers and inbound marketers to deliver quality content that increases brand awareness, traffic and qualified leads.

Publication date: 2019-06-13