Why You Should Envy the GoPro Instagram Strategy (and How You Can Emulate It)

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GoPro’s versatile cameras have transformed our ability to capture awe-inspiring moments from the extreme to the mainstream. And with a treasure trove of user-generated content at the ready, GoPro has become a digital marketing powerhouse.

@psycho_ward137 getting barreled on the North Shore. #Surf #Hawaii

A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

By emphasizing the feedback loop between adventure, social media, and the gadgets themselves, GoPro makes the possibilities for capturing amazing, aspirational content with their devices seem limitless. And on their Instagram account, GoPro’s marketing team has leveraged this feedback loop into incredible brand momentum.

Using the TrackMaven software platform, let’s take a look at GoPro’s Instagram strategy across 2014.

GoPro’s Hyper-Engaging Year On Instagram By The Numbers

In the graph below we can see that over the course of 2014 GoPro nearly doubled their monthly output of Instagram content. From January to December 2014, GroPro increased their total monthly output of Instagram content by 71%, up from a mix of 30 photos and 5 videos in January 2014 to 42 photos and 18 videos by the year’s end. 

The impact of GoPro’s Instagram content becomes even more impressive when we take a closer look at the relationship between the volume of content posted and level of engagement over time. For many many marketers, increasing the output of content can push a brand up against a point of diminishing returns, where more content does not result in more engagement. For GoPro, however, this was not the case.

Despite nearly doubling the output of Instagram content throughout 2014, the average level of engagement with GroPro’s Instagram content — measured in the graph below as average interactions per post — actually nearly doubled as well. In fact, from January through December 2014, GoPro’s average interactions per Instagram photo grew by 57%, while average interactions per Instagram video grew by 53%.

What You Can Learn From GoPro’s Instagram Success

For GoPro, high-quality user-generated content is the key to their Instagram success. To competitively curate content from users, GoPro gamifies the submission of user-generated content through their Photo of the Day and Video of the Day contests. In fact, nine out of the top ten most engaged-with photos from GoPro’s Instagram account in 2014 (below) were winners of the Photo of the Day Contest. 

The successful combination of user-generated content and social media even featured prominently in GoPro’s S-1 filing from May 2014:

“Our products in the hands of our customers enable compelling, authentic content that organically increases awareness for GoPro and drives demand for our products….We believe consumer demand for compelling content, combined with our self-capture technology and the popularity of social media, create a significant media opportunity for GoPro.”

While surfing and skydiving might not lend themselves to your brand, every marketer can adopt the underlying strategy behind GoPro’s Instagram success.

Most importantly, GoPro doesn’t use Instagram to sell their product; they use it to celebrate a lifestyle of adventure. In fact, if you peruse GoPro’s Instagram profile, you’d be hard-pressed to spot a single GoPro camera or product promo. With their Instagram content, GoPro tells its audience: “The adventure is yours! We’re just here to capture it.”

Ready to feel inspired? Check out GoPro’s top ten Instagram posts from 2014 below!

Photo of the Day! Sunrise surprise. Getting up early paid off. Photo by Kiril Jelizarov. A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

  Photo of the Day! Exploring the plank roads of Hua Shan, China. Photo by Paul Willemsen.   A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

Photo of the Day! Floating in paradise, aka Fiji. Photo by Clay Chapman. A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

  Photo of the Day! Moo. @Marcoli_angioi encounters a local resident while traveling through Colombia.   A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

Photo of the Day! A perfect day for a sleigh ride in Finland. Photo by @sarka.pa. A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

  Photo of the Day! Jumping in Israel over Bay of Acre and Achziv Beach. Photo by @hazanhaniyh.   A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

GoPro athlete @travisrice puts his own spin on Boxing Day. A video posted by gopro (@gopro) on

  Photo of the Day! Flying over the city of Vladivostok in Russia. Photo by @samolyotikov.   Uma foto publicada por gopro (@gopro) em

Photo of the Day! Just hanging out. Sunset skydiving with @jump_junkie and friends. A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on

Want to see how your Instagram strategy measures up against the best brands in the business? Get your free copy of the 2016 Social Media Impact report: