Simple Tips on Finding Success on Instagram | Case Study: Taco Bell and Chobani

Simple Tips on Finding Success on Instagram | Case Study: Taco Bell and Chobani

Finding success isn't everything, but when it comes to big name brands winning at social media it is certainly worth noting. Brands have been finding ways to connect with audiences for years while companies like Instagram always bring new avenues to explore. Here is how they are changing the game and pushing Taco Bell and Chobani to new heights in reaching their audiences.When Instagram began bringing in ads, it got me thinking as a photographer from a business standpoint: what tips and tricks can I implement and take from these big names to connect with an audience and build a following of my own? Utilizing some basic tips that companies use, I was able to find success in consistency and trends while also simply keeping a real storyline. I am going as far as I can go with absolutely no budget, while Taco Bell and Chobani were able to see how well Instagram could reach a specific audience with paid ads. The numbers are quite impressive and show the growing possibilities with the platform. 

Taco Bell reached 12.5 million 18-to-44 year-olds in the United States over a four-week period between March 26 to April 30. With a 29-point lift in ad recall, four times that of control groups and five times higher than the famous Nielsen online ads which is astonishing having done product research with Nielsen for years. Chobani reached 4 million 18-54 year olds during their campaign within a four week period with a 22-point lift in recall.

Since the exact costs spent by Chobani and Taco Bell on these campaigns has not been made public, Salesforce has estimated the costs to be in the tens of thousands. Not bad for power brands such as these but I think I will continue using the same free tricks I have been using for the last couple years. 

Here are some great tips from Director of brand communications Jessica Lauria at Chobani to those looking to advertise with Instagram. While Chobani did pay for the campaign these tips still hold strong for anyone looking to make a real push on Instagram. 

  • Lean-in to what people are already doing. Chobani noticed that many of the food shots on Instagram were from the vantage point of the eater; even the spoon was placed a certain way so it emulated that approach. It also took to heart the popular Instagram hashtag #foodporn as a guiding aesthetic principle, though it didn't actually use that hashtag.

  • Be real. As Lauria notes, 95% of their content is coming from their social strategist's iPhone. Chobani avoided professional-looking shots, which would be jarring in the average user's Instagram feed.

  • Don't overbrand. Resist the temptation to include a logo in every shot.

  • Don't create ads. Like Facebook's News Feed ads, Instagram ads aren't traditional advertising, but posts that an advertiser wants to amplify. "Advertising on Instagram is like advertising without advertising," Lauria says.

I love the way Instagram has brought advertising to the platform. This slow ease into the feeds of millions of people across the world seems to simply keep control of the quality of the content all while appeasing those heavier users that may at first be against the idea. Will this deter brands from reaching out to those with large followings already to advertise? Probably not as using influencers is always a great way to reach audiences specifically built by power users already in the network.

Have you seen ads pass through your Instagram feed? Which ones and how have you felt about the change?

[via Mashable]

Andrew Griswold's picture

Andrew Griswold is a photographer and designer based in Indianapolis. Born and raised in Indy he has made a name for himself by staying very active in the creative community in both photography and design. He has also founded a community of photographers via Instagram connecting them with brands to work with and shoot locally.

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Interesting article but how many more sales did this actually bring in? The statement "Taco Bell reached 12.5 million 18-to-44 year-olds" means what exactly? Does it mean that it simply showed up in 12.5 million different people's feeds?

Perhaps I'm missing something here.

The numbers he uses demonstrates the reach of the advertising, and he directly compares that reach to other media and even brings the cost into it. What you are asking about is not the reach statistics, but the return statistics. Return is not so easy to measure and is often related to a combination of reach and content (as well as outside social, political, and economic elements).

I doubt either company has released or will release their returns based on these ads, but since advertising costs are usually based on reach rather than return (think Superbowl ad prices), I'm not sure it really matters when you are talking about a way for major companies to reach millions by only spending tens of thousands. Or a way for you to reach out to an audience for free.

Understood and I agree with what you're saying but I think as far as defining "success on Instagram" for a commercial company is concerned, it has to be better than simply reaching an audience to make it worth anyone's efforts. All they have succeeded in doing is getting into someone's feed.

That doesn't make me want to buy Chobani any more than the Superbowl ad makes me want to buy a Pepsi...I feel it is a wasted marketing effort unless the return is a noted.

Your point of view makes sense from one point, but what you fail to consider is a key marketing role, which is get the brand in front of people and in their heads. You can't directly track income from these but you can confidently say that now each person who saw their taco or last photo post has Taco Bell on their mind or will in the next few hours.

Red Bull does a great job with this. They market to action sports campaigns and all of these different areas which don't actually show them getting revenue or a way to track it, BUT they have found that them being in front of the consumer more often drives them to choose Red Bull over Monster Energy or other drinks when it comes down to the time to actually make a purchase. This goes the same for what companies like Taco Bell are doing, just simply trying to get them into the consumers mind so that when they are hungry at school while sitting on Instagram, they see a taco and think "yum....that'd be good" then find themselves passing one on the way home and grab a bite.

Hope that kind of illustrates what they try to do and many other marketing campaigns aim for..

What this type of marketing is doing, more than anything, is making each brand seem more personable and relate-able. By creating native, passive, content they are subconsciously telling their demographic, "hey, I get you." If they decided to post an ad for $1 tacos or something in a fun way, their rapport built up to this point will likely land them all kinds of positive responses. You should check out the book "Jab Jab Jab Right Hook." Talks a lot about this type of social marketing, worth the read.

No, but you will remember the brand after seeing those images on repeat. That value is immeasurable and why the biggest brands in the world are so successful because ROI isn't everything - changing behavior or being in your head is.