Whether it’s on their phones or computers, people spend a fair chunk of their day browsing social media. You do not really need any numbers to prove that as it is enough to simply take a look at the people in your surroundings. But if you do want some stats, research shows that the average internet user spent 135 minutes each day browsing social media in 2017. The stats for 2018 have not been published as of the time of writing, but this average figure has been increasing every year since 2012 (the period this report covers), making it plain to see just how big of a part social media play in our everyday lives.
And among those social media platforms, Instagram is one of the biggest. Again, there was no doubt regarding this, but it became even more obvious when the company announced in June of 2018 that it had reached one billion users. And when a platform is so popular, you can be sure that marketers have made it their priority.
We’ve talked about Instagram marketing before (take a look at this article for an example of it), and this is a topic we will need to address once more. But this time, we’re looking at what awaits us in 2019.
Trends to Keep an Eye on
There are numerous reasons for Instagram’s success, and the willingness to constantly develop is certainly among them. Not only is this important for the platform in general, but it is also crucial for marketing. Namely, with a platform that’s always evolving, marketers need to keep up. That is why it is so important to look ahead, and we believe that the following six trends are definitely worth watching out for.
1. Instagram Stories Ads
Instagram Stories have been around since August of 2016, and they have become amazingly popular in that time. This is no accident as the company has put a lot of effort into highlighting them – for proof of this, simply look at how prominent they are in your feed. Now that this feature is so firmly entrenched in the users’ minds, the stage is set for Stories ads to take full advantage of it.
With these ads, businesses can insert their promos between the sections of the stories you’re watching. They are full-screen and vertical, giving them the potential to be highly immersive. Of course, marketers will need to create top-notch and highly specialized ads to achieve this, but the possibility is there.
In addition, Instagram boasts that Stories ads provide great options for targeting with brand awareness, video views, and app installs being among the possible criteria. Combined with the previous element, this means these ads can feel very organic. If marketers can identify the product you’re interested in and deliver their promos in a format that’s in line with the content you’re already watching, the odds of conversion will seem very promising. And if executed correctly, Stories ads can deliver this.
Therefore, the average user can expect to see a lot more ads when viewing Stories. And they can also expect those ads to be highly targeted. We expect them to be one of the biggest trends of 2019, and anyone interested would be well advised to start developing an appropriate strategy as soon as possible.
In June of 2018, less than two years after launching Stories, Instagram released their next big feature - IGTV. It’s a platform that specifically addresses one of the deficiencies of Instagram - the lack of long-form videos.
Just like it pushed Stories to the top, Instagram will undoubtedly try to do the same with IGTV. You can thus expect to see it featured very prominently in 2019. Instagram will want to see its latest investment take hold, and content creators will be looking to make their mark on the new platform as soon as possible. This means IGTV will be the center of countless marketing efforts.
Because IGTV is vertical, just like Stories ads, you can also expect this video format to be a big deal in 2019. The days when recording a vertical video would get you comments to turn your phone around are long gone – the success of Instagram as a mobile-first platform has seen to that. And with IGTV and Stories ads, this will be even more pronounced.
Additionally, IGTV videos can be up to 60 minutes long, which will give lengthier content a huge boost in popularity on Instagram.
3. Influencer Marketing
This is not surprising at all as it is merely a continuation of an ongoing trend. There are numerous ways for influencers and businesses to partner up for promotional purposes, and this is not going away anytime soon.
In 2018, a notable trend was for brands to take influencers on vacations. The entire experience would, naturally, be accompanied by numerous Instagram posts to raise brand awareness. Expect to see repeats of this in 2019, accompanied by other forms of influencer marketing.
4. Venues Designed to Create “Instagram Moments”
Not every business which uses Instagram for marketing can afford to send an influencer to an exotic destination. Instead, they rely on regular users for exposure by enticing them to take Instagram-worthy photos.
The way to achieve this is through décor. You’ll see coffee shops with interesting decorations and well-lit spots the sole purpose of which is to get the visitors to think this would make a good photo op. Or, you have museums and galleries with dedicated spots which provide the best angles for snapping pictures. It’s actually a win-win situation. The user gets a memorable photo while the business gets exposure.
In order to succeed, small brands do not necessarily need legions of fans. A relatively minor following is enough provided it’s engaged. And it can be argued that no platform does engagement as well as Instagram. It’s always been fertile ground for small brands, and there’s no reason for that to change in 2019. So, expect to see ads from companies you’ve never heard of before but which have a product that aligns with your interests.
6. Shopping through Instagram
While IGTV is the big novelty of 2018, Instagram has constantly worked on adding new shopping features. This will undoubtedly continue so be ready for further additions in this area in 2019.
As Instagram develops, the way it’s used for marketing will develop as well. And while you can never say what the future holds with absolute certainty, we believe these trends will definitely be a huge part of Instagram marketing in 2019.