The Effect of Instagram Contests: Analyzing Dunkin’ Donuts’ #DresseDD

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the frontrunners in social media practices. A quick look at their Facebook page should easily convince anyone of this:

7.7m fans, tons of apps to create interactions and improve users’ experience, a “Fan of the week” election, an appealing photo cover…All of these are textbook best practices when it comes to a brand Facebook Page.

Dunkin’ Donuts also regularly organize contests and give out  prizes to a handful of winners. And we want to have a look at their latest one:

For Halloween, they invited customers to dress their cups up, take photos and share them on social networks with the hashtag #DresseDD.

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The 5 most creative cup-dressers would get $100 Dunkin’ Donuts Cards. On Halloween day, October 31st, they shared the results via Twitter and, interestingly enough, 4 out of the 5 lucky ones were photos that were originally shared via Instagram.

One of the winners, by @sugarbutterbaby on Instagram

If contests are fun, analyzing their numbers is a blast!

Analyzing the Data

Evolution of the number of photos shared during the #DresseDD contest:

Using Nitrogram, we’re able to see exactly how many photos were shared around the #DresseDD hashtag during the contest. Now, 45 doesn’t look like a sky-high number by any means, does it? But look at this graph:

@dunkindonuts’ stats over the past year:


Dunkin’ Donuts shared their first photo on March 5. That’s roughly 8 months ago. In this time period, they snapped 95 images of delicious-looking delicacies and drinks. Whilst during their Halloween contest, 45 photos, almost all relevant to their brand, were made available to them.

In just a couple of weeks, fans generated half as much quality content as @dunkindonuts did during the past 8 months. Way to go, DD: Harvesting the power of earned media on Instagram, almost for free!

Not so bad huh? We told you: When it comes to social media, Dunkin’ Donuts know their stuff.

So… What could have been done better?

Even though they get a lot of it right, Dunkin’ Donuts still missed a big opportunity here by not utilizing this content on their web properties. As of today, just over a week after the contest ended, the photos are nowhere to be found on their Website or Facebook Page. We have to admit that we thoroughly enjoyed how they retweeted the 5 winning photos with a smart comment added, but the shelf life of a tweet is by definition very short, a couple of hours at best.

What if they had added a Facebook tab with all the entries so that Fans could see for themselves, and even voice their opinions on who they thought should win? Doing this would have improved the engagement during and after the contest, which is one of the main targets of any campaign on social media.

That is exactly why we’re building Nitrogram: to help brands maximize their impact on Instagram. With our Photo Galleries, it would have been simple for Dunkin’ Donuts to gather and moderate photos hashtagged #DresseDD in a seamless way, and show them on their Website and/or Facebook Page.

What did you think about this contest? Share your opinions about Dunkin’ Donuts’ strategy on Social Media in the comments section.

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