Tips & guides
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Tips & guides

How 10 DTC brands are leveraging Instagram DM’s newest capability to boost growth and retention

Ten stories of ten innovative brands, pushing the boundaries of social reach, engagement and growth.

You might be asking yourself, WTF is Instagram DMs, at scale? Well, you know how Meta long ago opened up their Facebook Messenger API, which sprung on automated appointment bookings to mental health checks? Its younger sibling, Instagram, has done the same with Direct Messaging, but its ecosystem and audience have a different set of behavior and habits in the social commerce era.

At Drop, we are passionate about this change in the commerce ecosystem and have dedicated ourselves to building the shortest bridge between brands and their audience, through a platform that enables a new place for 1:1 connection, engagement, and growth right within a brand’s Instagram Direct Messaging inbox.

But before we get too deep, let's get straight to the point and see how these innovative brands have re-imagined their Instagram strategies.

1. Tealer's "Secret Club" Drops

An avid IG-DM-at-scale user, french label Tealer took their strategy to the next level with their "Secret Club" initiative. Not your typical rewards program, the brand releases mini-collections and super-limited products only to their "Secret Club" members, held exclusively via their DM channel. Pairing this initiative with Instagram Direct Ads, Tealer reduced their CPA from $60 to $11, racking in an average of $30K per “Secret Club” release, and positioning Drop as 15% of their total revenue.

2. ASICS x Brain Dead’ Sneaker Raffle

Raffles for highly-coveted collaborations have been popular in the streetwear world for some time, but normally use a series of painful steps from social post, to link in bio, to Google Forms, to email. Leveraging their limited-edition sneaker with fan-favorite Brain Dead, the legacy brand ASICS utilized Drop to capture the high demand, share BTS details, select raffle winners and give access to the release all on autopilot within the DM.
The whole experience received a 45% CTR and sold out almost instantly!

3. The Bradery x Nike Private Sale

A youth-led, social commerce native, The Bradery was looking to better qualify both their organic and paid audiences ahead of their coming Nike private sale. Sharing two photos of models Emily Ratajkowski and Hailey Bieber in Nike Air Force 1's, the brand asked their audience which team they were on, with a CTA to DM their answer. After using Drop to find the sub-group within their own following that was interested in Nike, The Bradery pushed this strategy with a paid campaign, reaching a 19X return on ad spend and generating over $77K in revenue with their very first campaign.

4. Wasted's Password-Protected Private Outlet

Pairing their young audience with Wasted's out-of-the-box marketing mindset, the brand re-packaged the old "outlet sale" into something that truly resonated and sold out. Teasing a super-exclusive sale to their IG following, Wasted asked their audience to DM to learn how they could gain access. Employing Drop to move this high-intent group into a 1:1 experience that collected sign-ups, shared the password to the protected site and link when it all went live, on autopilot. This conversational and intimate approach garnered a 456% increase in conversion, with 83% of those who entered the brand's Instagram inbox landing on the private shop.


Scroll down to #8 for some sex education👇

5. Wethenew Halloween Commercial

With brands starting end-of-the-year sales earlier and earlier, the competition is stiff for eyeballs and attention come November. Crafting a hilarious Trick-Or-Treat commercial that prompted an interactive game in the DM, sneaker marketplace and retailer Wethenew seized this moment to foster real engagement with their IG audience ahead of all the BFCM noise. Once inside, their DM audience was automatically entered into a series of conversational engagements that established a 1:1 connection, including a giveaway entry. There were no real losers in the end, with Wethenew launching a direct channel for lead generation, and each campaign participant receiving a time-sensitive discount straight in the DM.

6. Merci Handy's x Stranger Things Collab

Gen-Z beauty brand Merci Handy knew there had to be something more than the 5% conversion rate that their traditional landing pages were averaging. For their coming Stranger Things collaboration, they dropped the third-party link and tapped Drop to make a switch to the channel that their socially native audience was most comfortable in, DM. Unfolding a fully interactive experience within their Instagram inbox that built up a segment of real Stranger Things fans for future collaborations, Merci Handy brought back Instagram organic onto one of their Top 3 sources of site traffic.


See if Drop can also level up your organic and paid ad strategies by booking a meeting HERE or just continue reading along if you want to keep the creative juices flowing!

7. Ana Luisa By You Campaign

Hyper-growth DTC brand Ana Luisa burst on the jewelry scene in 2019 and has made a stronghold for themselves in the digital sphere with 629K audience on Instagram. It takes creativity, not luck, to make it this far, and that's precisely what the brand did for their Ana Luisa by You campaign. Through a series of Instagram stories, the brand launched a co-creation campaign that asked their audience to take part in the design process of their upcoming collection (via IG DM, of course!). Once the collection was live, the brand utilized Drop to re-engage with those who shared their two cents, rewarding them with access to the capsule before it went live.

8. My Lubie Sex Education

For an intimacy-based wellness brand, My Lubie was between two challenges, how to craft community and connection on social while also keeping their audience safe and private. Whether discussing sex toys or CBD oils for pleasure, the My Lubie’s mission is to build strong and empathic relationships with their digital following no matter how sensitive the topic. Through various organic and paid campaigns, the brand has been able to educate and recommend products to new and familiar faces with the privacy of a personal message, nurturing them into customers while keeping the entire journey short, sweet and on their favorite app.

9. Au Depart x PS4 Trunk

Luxury Parisian trunk maker Au Départ has been in the business since 1834, but that doesn't mean their social presence has to be stuck in the past. With such high-end pieces, the brand’s aim to deliver a holistic and white-glove experience at every touchpoint proved to be a challenge on their newly founded Instagram. Promoting their one-of-a-kind collector pieces that housed a backgammon and PS4, Au Départ kickstarted their digital presence with personalized DM campaigns, both growing their reach with engagement and capturing potential customers in a new and innovative way. Leading up to the store openings in key cities throughout 2023, Au Départ has leveraged Drop to keep the conversation going, uncovering where their biggest fans are located in the world, and what most piques their interest.

10. Tiger Chicken

Last, but definitely not least, we’ve got the hyper-creative crew from ghost kitchen Tiger Chicken. As a 100% virtual eatery, the new brand knew it had to sink its teeth into digital engagement to stand out from the crowded delivery apps, and well-established, ultra-competitive, fast food category. With IG Story games based on age-old puns like "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" Tiger Chicken moved their social audience into their DM inbox, sharing Joe Exotic memes, collecting customer preferences, and sharing time-sensitive offers when participants said they were hungry. By using Drop to launch quick-acting and relatable messaging on autopilot, Tiger Chicken has been able to deepen their relationship with their audience and stay memorable, even on social.

While these might be our current top ten favorite Instagram Direct Message campaigns, we know we'll have a slew of more inspo as more brands pick up this new channel.

Social commerce is the future of commerce, and IG DM at scale is the place to craft personalized and engaging campaigns that stand out from the crowd. If you want to hear more about campaigns we've launched with the Pistons, Galeries Lafayette, and Hot Topic, or learn how Drop could help you launch at-scale IG DM campaigns, book a quick chat HERE.