There are trends out there that can make or break your Instagram Marketing Strategy, which is why it is imperative to stay on top of them. Accounts that are able to keep up with the trends are able to take advantage of new features and beta (testing) tools.
Being the trendsetter allows you to show your followers that they are active and not a bot. As Instagram is rolling out lots of new innovations and tools we narrowed it down to our favorites:
1. Instagram Stories
Let us repeat ourselves so you will understand the importance! Instagram stories are taking over the world, well at least the Instagram world. There are more than 500 million viewers every day, it has become the pinnacle place to keep tabs with your in person and virtual friends. Instagram research is showing that people prefer stories so they can see into the lives of their friends and families, verses the polished look of post.
2. Turn the Sound on for IG Stories
It’s still important to design your stories for sound off environments, however there is an increase from viewers to have voice and music.Currently 60% of Instagram Stories are viewed with sound on. This increase in viewing stories with sound is spurred by the increase in TikTok’s influence.
3. Strategic Stickers in your IG Stories
Stickers stickers everywhere and not a drop to spare! This is a very popular feature on Instagram stories, but for businesses it is getting mixed results. With the mixed results you should start to see more branded and polished stickers and less generic unnecessary ones throughout 2019.
4. Interactive Stories
Stickers have been received with mixed feelings for businesses, however interactive stickers are widely popular.
Better than stickers are the questions, polls, countdown and emoji-sliders stickers that can be added to stories! These interactive stickers prompt more engagement and make users stick around longer to see what other interactions they might have.
For instance, Instagram internal data shows that nine times out of 10, the polling sticker increases video views.
5. Explore Tab Exploration
More than 200 million Instagrammers check the Explore grid every day and that number is expected to rise this year. It is easy to get lost in the selection of Stories that are algorithmically chosen for each individual’s feed.
The Explore feed has a new navigation bar that offers shortcuts to IGTV and Shop. This is then able to be broken into various niches depending on the user’s interests.
6. Easier ways to shop on Instagram
There are more than 70% of shopping enthusiasts using Instagram to explore brands and products. Instagram shopping and discovery now rivals Pinterest as a platform for product discovery.
During the past year, Instagram has introduced product tags in feed post, product stickers in Stories, and a shopping feed via the Explore tab.
This past March, Instagram rolled out a beta in-app Checkout feature that it’s testing with 20 major brands, including Adidas, Burberry, Nike, and Revolve. Instagram charges merchants a “selling fee” to use checkout. However, if it garners enough sales, the fee won’t prevent more brands and influencers from partaking.
7. Shoppable influencers
“Where did you get that” Is the most asked question bombarding Instagram influencers in their comments and DMs.
Instagram heard their cries for help and has now let creators tag products in their posts, and those can be purchased directly with Instagram Checkout. Currently this feature is limited to a select few including Kylie Jenner and Vogue.
8. Rise of relatable influencers
Authenticity from influencers is what users are looking for. The unrealistic lifestyles and picture-perfect aesthetics of certain Instagram influencers has given rise to Instagram vs. Reality memes.
Out of staged and filtered posts has come a new breed of influencer: the relatable influencer.
There are many bloggers and influencers that are using this to their advantage. Whether it is the ups and downs of parenting, struggles with mental disorders, or the humor in everyday life. Users are on social media to get a connection, and influencers who are “real” will connect more to their audience.
TikTok has had unstoppable growth, it is a music-backed video-sharing app that’s popular with teens. This has inspired copycat behaviour from Instagram—as we saw with IG copying Snapchat.
IGTV is predicted to see the most changes, since many think the channel is due for a revamp.
There has also been early signs already. With Instagram’s recent overhaul of the IGTV feed, it now resembles a cross between TikTok and Snapchat’s Discover feeds. Horizontal scrolling has been replaced with vertical scrolling. There has also been a new algorithm that automatically queues up the next video for you to view.
There has also been migration of TikTok’s popular challenges into Instagram follower feeds. Therefore, it will come as no surprise when Instagram tries to attempt to foster more of that, especially since these challenges inspire original content creation.
10. More channel-to-channel sharing
Going forward this year you can expect to see more crossover from brands in an attempt to gain views from the different streams. This means post in Stories and IGTV videos in the feeds.
Once again, Instagram has changed their algorithm which has sparked more “new post” in brands Stories. This also has led to teaser IGTV videos, lasting about one-minute appearing in feeds.
Stories are no longer contained to the top of the app either. Now, they’ll show up in the Explore grid too. The Explorer grid will be more reminiscent of TikTok. We will touch base on TikTok later.
11. Increased Social Activism
In today’s culture it is easy to share opinions on social media. This has caused more awareness of social injustices, and heightened activism spurred by social unrest. With the upcoming elections in Canada and the United States, people are sharing their opinions on social media more than ever.
Traditionally social activism has only appeared on Facebook and Twitter as they are more text-friendly platforms. However, this is changing as Instagrammers are gaining stronger know how of the platform, and are able to amplify their views.
Social activism post can have “I voted” stickers to climate change memes. With the popularity of social activists posts, it has become increasingly common for influencers and brands to take a stand on the platform.
No matter the charity or cause, they all involve donations to nonprofits. In February, Instagram introduced a donation sticker that can be added to Stories. This feature is not available to everyone, people will be able to select a nonprofit and even customize the name of their fundraiser.
12. Crackdown on Instagram bots
In light of the role that Facebook and Twitter played in influencing elections and harboring hate speech, social media companies are cracking down on bots. In more recent reports they are uncovering the role Instagram has played, too.
Over the coming year, it’s more likely users will see Instagram taking steps to combat abuse on its platform. They have already started implementing changes including increased access to verification and the addition of “About this Account” to profiles with large followings.
Prior to any headlines about Russian meddling, Instagram already had a bot problem. There has been loads of fake engagement bots, follow bots and fake accounts that have long been a source of pain for the app. More purges, enhanced security, and increased scrutiny will likely follow in 2019.
13. Changes to Instagram Direct
Let’s put an end to rumors that Instagram would completely push direct messaging to its standalone Direct app. It is not going to happen.
With Direct gone, it’s more likely that Instagram users will see some improvements to the in-app messaging feature instead.
The option to make a Close Friends list for Instagram Stories makes it easier to direct message a group of friends at once, is a new feature. There are also rumors that Instagram will make direct messaging available on desktop.