7 Instagram Trends That Will Define Your Social Media Marketing in 2019Social Media Updates
With a billion monthly active users worldwide, Instagram boasts the popularity that allows it to define social media trends and set new directions in the development of digital marketing in general. Having such a massive global reach and using the top-notch audience targeting tools inherited from its big brother Facebook, no wonder that Instagram is a tidbit for businesses.
Indeed, Instagram can give you the exposure needed to develop your brand and drive conversions. But it is hardly possible to do successful Instagram marketing without understanding the current trends that define how the platform works today and what it will be in the near future. This is why we have picked seven definitive Instagram trends that will impact your social media marketing in 2019 and the years that follow.
Video is taking over Instagram
Remember the time when Instagram was just a photo-sharing platform used mostly by teens? Well, now it is a totally different beast. Instagram has turned into a multimedia giant used by brands of all scales for a wide range of marketing purposes. This, in turn, dictated a shift toward high-quality visual content and diversification of content types to suit the contemporary needs.
Since video content is on the rise and 95% of Instagrammers are active YouTube users, it is only logical to expect video to become the platform’s primary focus. And although good old images won’t go away any time soon, the fact that the number of video posts on Instagram grows by 80% on a year-by-year basis indicates that video content is there to stay and flourish.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: Posting cool photos is great for your Instagram presence. But if there’s a need to deliver a particularly important message to your audience or if you decide to launch an Instagram ad, consider making a video instead of an image as it can get far more attention on the platform these days.
Instagram Stories are the future
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram Stories have become a real breakthrough in social networking and social media marketing in particular. Their casual nature, augmented reality features, sense of immediacy, and ability to leverage people’s FOMO (fear of missing out) make Stories an ideal marketing tool that allows businesses to connect with their audiences on the whole new level.
It is true that storytelling is a powerful marketing technique that fosters engagement, and Instagram gives you everything you need to tell your own stories, those that would enthrall your specific audience. Instagram offers plenty of creative tools you can use to make your Stories stand out, and they add new features all the time (including new tags, stickers, etc.). And judging from all the attention Instagram Stories have been getting recently, they will keep growing in their significance in the coming years and can even replace regular posts at some point.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: People hunger for more stories, and if you set out to expand your social media outreach on Instagram, you should deliver them in plenty. If you haven’t been sharing Stories yet, it’s time to start doing it. And if you have, focus on exploring more opportunities offered by Instagram Stories, for example, Stories Ads.
Live video is on the rise
Much like Instagram Stories, live video has quickly got a popular appeal on the platform. Why? Because people enjoy watching something that is not scripted or planned. Spontaneity and improvisation are the reason why Instagram Live has become such a buzz.
And of course, this couldn’t go unnoticed by brands. You can live stream pretty much everything ranging from events to Q&As, interviews, etc. And it appears that people really dig it: 82% of social media users say they prefer live videos to regular social media posts.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: Broadcasting a live video is a great way to capture the attention of your Instagram followers and increase customer engagement. If you already post images and pre-recorded videos on Instagram, consider organizing a live stream every now and again to stay in the spotlight. No need to flood your audience with live content all the time. Instead, nurture the feeling of exclusiveness and FOMO to build more hype. And don’t forget to announce the scheduled live stream in advance to attract more viewers.
Monetization is growing stronger on Instagram
As the platform becomes more populated, the competition among brands grows exponentially. Pursuing high engagement rates that Instagram has to offer, businesses have flooded the platform with content in attempts to attract more customers and drive sales. As a result, breaking through all the clutter and reaching a target audience organically has become almost impossible.
This is the reason why Instagram feels empowered to push its monetization agenda further by providing more incentives for businesses to fork out for exposure. All things considered, it is going to be more difficult to get in front of your prospects on Instagram without paying for ads and “boosting” your posts.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: On the one hand, Instagram’s increased focus on monetization promises more expenditures to brands willing to promote themselves actively on the platform. But on the other hand, Instagram has always been ingenious in finding effective ways for businesses to reach their customers, and additional financial incentives can result in more marketing opportunities for brands to grasp.
IGTV is not done for
IGTV is a new Instagram-based platform for sharing long-form vertical videos. When it launched in June 2018, its future seemed pretty clouded. The low download rate of the application hinted at the lack of interest toward the platform on the part of the audience, and brands didn’t queue up to submit their exclusive content to it neither.
But it seems that vertical videos are becoming a major trend these days, and IGTV still has a chance to hit it big. Although at that point brands simply repurpose their content from YouTube to suit the IGTV vertical format by cropping the existing videos, it is likely that we will see more of original and experimental content on the platform in the near future.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: Despite the rough launch, IGTV holds some potential for brands that are not afraid to experiment and explore new grounds. Meanwhile, the competition on IGTV is incomparably lower than that on YouTube and other popular video-sharing platforms, which creates an opportunity for you to get more exposure with less effort.
Shopping on Instagram will become easier
We have already seen how Instagram introduced a possibility to add links to Stories, which allowed brands to redirect users to their business websites and online stores to drive traffic and sales. The next feature that facilitated shopping on Instagram was Shoppable Tags. With its help, you can add price tags right on your Instagram posts and link them back to the corresponding pages of your online store.
It is only a matter of time that Instagram will come up with more shopping features and e-commerce opportunities. Perhaps, they will even create their own e-commerce platform to enable users to make purchases without leaving the Instagram app. One thing is for sure: Instagram will eventually become a universal marketplace for brands to do both things at once: promote themselves and drive sales.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: Easier shopping means more opportunities for you to sell to your target audience. So if you’re still using Instagram for marketing only, perhaps it is time to explore its e-commerce features.
Micro-influencers will be in high demand
Micro-influencers are social media users whose number of followers is between 1,000 to 10,000. Although micro-influencers have smaller audiences, their size compensates with loyalty and emotional connection. This is why marketing products through micro-influencers is so effective.
A micro-influencer’s post with a mention of a specific brand looks less like an ad and more like a friendly recommendation. Plus, micro-influencers usually work in very narrow niches. This allows you to reach people that would most likely be interested in buying your products. Recently, the number of micro-influencers on Instagram has surged, and brands seem to be very eager to benefit from this trend.
What it means for your Instagram marketing: Influencer marketing is known to be an effective technique used by companies to expand their audience coverage, raise brand awareness, and drive conversions. But it’s no secret that influencers’ services aren’t cheap. Micro-influencer marketing, on the other hand, is more cost-effective and affordable to small businesses and start-ups.
Instagram has greatly changed over the last few years. New needs dictate new trends, and Instagram has been quite successful at adopting new features and adjusting to the market. At the moment, the platform is shifting its focus from photo to video and gravitating toward diverse monetization options. These two trends will likely determine the platform’s future for the next couple of years.