Social Media

Which outdoor brands won Instagram in 2016

3 minute read
Insights Instagram Winners 2016

Some say that social media is over-saturated. With so much content coming from so many different outlets, it is sometimes hard to differentiate what is what. The year of 2016 was no exception. With more and more brands jumping on the content production bandwagon, there was more noise to cut through than ever before.

We keep a close eye on the happenings in outdoor spots when it comes to social media, and there were a few brands that managed to cut through said noise in 2016. Some because of clever content strategy, others because of innovative uses of new instagram features. Here were 4 brands that really caught our eye in 2016:

The North Face

#neverstopexploring - Arguably the pioneers of supporting the documentation of expedition travel, The North Face has transitioned their powerhouse team of ambassadors and athletes to curate a feed of content that just makes you want to get outside. The real win for The North Face in 2016 was their launch into Instagram video - Now pulling in an average of 100k views per video post.

The North Face Instagram Feed


How does an outdoor brand from Saskatchewan, Canada build up one of the largest followings of any outdoor brand on instagram? Three key elements:

  • Content Consistency - Every post looks as though it belongs on the page. Each post is carefully considered to reflect the moody and heavy nature feel the brand represents. 
  • A Powerhouse Team of Ambassadors - A team of lifestyle ambassadors, each with their own large following, generated not only a steady stream of amazing content, but a large network of trusted influencers talking about the brand.
  • Social Cause - With 10 trees planted for every item purchased, Tentree provided followers with a cause and a reason to follow that had social cause attached to it, as opposed to yet another consumer goods brand.  
Ten Tree Instagram 2016


Lululemon has a wide variety of content that varies from product features to inspirational quotes/images. With the lowest average post engagement (1.38%) of all of the brands on our list, Lululemon won instagram in other ways. With the best execution of instagram stories, Lululemon was able to engage followers through mini guided yoga inspiration classes using several instagram stores strung together. One of the first and best examples of a story execution in 2016.

Lululemon Instagram 2016


1440: the number of minutes that are in a day. Back in 2012, REI launched an ambitious plan to document each minute of a day outdoors through instagram. Now, 5 years later, the #REI1440Project hashtag has generated more than 2.5 million mentions, and continues to be a trending topic on instagram. REI also broke ground once again with their #optoutside campaign with 2.7 million mentions, proving that social media is prime ground for spawning a movement.


REI Instagram 2016