Top Audiences and Advertisers to Target for Instagram Contests

by Julie Foley Second Street


Selfies are everywhere on Instagram – in fact, #me is the third most popular hashtag on Instagram and #selfie is the 12th (you can explore the top 100 here). Consider running a contest that gives people one more reason to share! Plus, selfie contests are one of the most versatile contest types you can run on Instagram.

Audience: Selfie contests can reach either a broad or targeted audience, depending on the contest theme.
Advertisers: A selfie contest could be a good fit for almost any advertiser.


Pet owners love to share pictures of their animals, and #CatsofInstagram and #DogsofInstagram are two of the more popular hashtags on the network.

Audience: Pet Owners
Advertisers: Veterinarians, Pet Supply Stores, Animal Shelters, Doggie Day Cares, Grooming Salons, Obedience Schools (get more ideas here)

Food & Drink

People love to snap and share pictures of a particularly delicious (or artistic) dinner or a craft cocktail. An Instagram hashtag contest would be a particularly good fit for a restaurant or bar whose food and drinks look as good as they taste.

Audience: Young Professionals
Advertisers: Upscale Restaurants & Bars, Breweries, Distilleries, Wineries


#TBT, or Throwback Thursday, is a hashtag people use when they post older photos on – you guessed it – Thursday. In fact, #tbt is the 4th-most popular hashtag on Instagram! It’s also a good fit for Instagram hashtag contests, since you can adapt the #tbt hashtag for almost any audience or advertiser.

Babies & Family Life

New mothers love to share photos of their babies on Instagram, making it the perfect venue for a Cutest Baby hashtag contest.

Audience: New Mothers, Young Families
Advertisers: Baby Goods Retailers, Pediatricians, Day Cares (get more ideas here)

Fashion & Beauty

Of course the inherently visual medium of Instagram would be a perfect fit for fashion and beauty content. Plus, the popular #ootd (Outfit of the Day) hashtag, is easy to riff on and customize for an advertiser.

Audience: Women
Advertisers: Retail, Salons & Spas

Travel & City Life

People are proud of where they live, and Instagram is a way to show off their hometown. A staycation giveaway or “Why I Love My Town” contest could be a great way to crowdsource content for your media company or a local tourism board.

Audience: Young Families, Young Professionals, Amateur Photographers
Advertisers: Visitor’s Bureaus, Parks & Recreation Departments, Neighborhood Associations, Local Attractions, Museums, Camera Stores

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