The Most Important Instagram Contest Rules [Infographic]

Learn how Instagram contests can help you grow your engaged user base, with eye-opening statistics and guidelines to follow. Get started now!

By Dana Kilroy ・1 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas
Customer Data & Engagement
Social Media

Instagram contests arepopular. They're powerful. And they're a perfect way to grow lists of engaged users.Did you know:

  • Instagram contests get 64x more comments than regular posts.
  • 91% of posts with 1,000 comments are contests.
  • Instagram contests get 3.5x more likes than regular posts.
  • Contests conducted with partners get 79% more engagement.

But here's the truly eye-opening stat:

Only 2% of Instagram marketers run Instagram contests on a regular basis.

Ready to build an Instagram contest? Make sure you're playing by the rules. This guide will help.

Understand how to accurately describe your promotion

  • Sweepstakes: Entrants can win a prize based on chance. No purchase, payment or other consideration is permitted. The winner is picked at random.
  • Contest: Effort, skill or merit is required to enter and win. Voting or other judging criteria determine the winner.
  • Lottery: Requires contestants to make a purchase, payment, or other consideration. Private lotteries are illegal in the U.S. (do not use ShortStack to run a lottery).

Know the 5 Types of Instagram Contests

  • Like-to-Win: Participants like an Instagram post in order to enter.
  • Comment-to-Win: Participants  comments on an Instagram post in order to enter.
  • Tag-to-Win: Participants tag a friend on an Instagram post in order to enter.
  • Photo Challenge: Participants post a photo on their personal account using your brand's hashtag.
  • Repost-to-Win: Participants repost a specific Instagram image you have shared.

Get Familiar with Instagram's Official Guidelines

Here's a summary of the official guidelines from Instagram:


You are responsible for the lawful operation of an Instagram promotion, including:

  • Official rules
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements
  • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered


Promotions must include:

  • A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in now way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.


You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content. (Don't encourage people to tag themselves or others in photos they're not in.)

2 Ways to Publish Rules

Make sure all entrants can find the rules online. There are two places to consider hosting rules:

Your Website

Create a rules page on your website and make it easy for contestants to find.

Contest Host

ShortStack makes it easy to create a landing page for your Instagram contest. From your Instagram bio, link to the page where your contest is hosted.Want to see the rules laid out in a colorful infographic? Here you go!

The Most Important Instagram Contest Rules Infographic

A version of this post ran on

Create your first Instagram contest now

Get Started Today. It’s free and we don’t need your credit card.

About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・1 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

Get marketing tips straight to your inbox

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your info.