Which features deserve your utmost attention on Instagram and what’s even trending in 2018? We ask because how does your plan of attack change year over year if you’re not aware of the latest trends?
We get it–face filters and GIF stickers might not make your business stop on a dime and shift strategies. However, it is incredibly smart to be aware of what’s going on and how the social landscape of Instagram is changing.
Approximately 80% users follow at least one brand on Instagram. So what are you doing to take advantage of that? Let’s take a look a five Instagram trends changing the industry in 2018:
1. Easier Mobile Purchasing in Instagram Stories
Just like Facebook over the past years, Instagram is becoming more favorable for sellers, brands and businesses alike. Advertising on the platform is skyrocketing (more on that later) and new business features are truly changing the game.
One of the most influential Instagram trends of 2018 is easier mobile purchasing. Last year, the platform added Instagram Shopping. This organic selling feature allows brands to adds links within photos to send customers to specific landing pages.
Want to buy a product exactly in the photo? Just click the shopping bag in the bottom left to see more. So what does this have to do with Instagram Stories?
The feature alone has more than 300 million users–far surpassing Snapchat’s total users. The rise in engagement means brands have gotten more agile on selling through Instagram Stories. And a major trend to look out for is easier selling options on Stories.
Currently, Instagram Stories offers a linking option to only verified accounts. But many expect this feature to roll out to all users in the near future. So what does this mean for your brand?
It’s time to start thinking about how to easily send customers from the insanely quick and ephemeral content roulette that is Stories and to a landing page that will convert. Making mobile purchasing easier for customers is always a tricky task, but it’s best to start thinking about how Stories will play a part in 2018 and beyond.
A great place to start is with Simply Measured, a Sprout Social company! With Simply, you have access to critical Instagram Story metrics such as reach, impressions, taps forward, taps back and exits.
See how well your Stories stack up in your content marketing plan and analyze for success.
2. Digital Rights & Regramming Transform
Social media was built to share, but with Instagram, it’s not so easy sharing others content directly on your feed. Regramming has been around for awhile with a few different methods to repost. See our in-depth guide to learn more here:
Brands like Weber Grills, Vans and World Market commonly regram images from customers or influencers. Sharing people’s visuals has become so common that many influencers are having work re-published without permission.
The problem here is many influencers make money off their content. And when it’s used freely from random brands, these people miss out on the payday. So what can we expect in 2018? First off, it’s likely we’ll see an in-app feature for regramming.
This will make it much easier for user-generated content to be shared across other feeds. At the same time, this doesn’t prevent stolen content. With more complaints coming from influencers, Instagram may be forced to add aspects to the regram feature that force others to ask permission.
With approximately 80% of influencers preferring Instagram as the top platform for brand collaboration, this is a serious issue for many. And with the app becoming more accessible to influencers, brands and businesses alike, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see more pushes toward digital rights and understandings of user-generated content agreements.
3. Instagram Ads Grow–A Lot
OK–it shouldn’t be shocking to see this make the list. But with 2 million advertisers on Instagram, mobile ads aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, with the recent update to the Facebook algorithm to show more personal content, we could see organic changes to the Instagram algorithm as well.
Instagram continues to launch “recommended” features, which only increases organic discoverability. For instance, many users see a few recommended users to follow in their feed. But what does this have to do with paid?
Marketers know their organic limitations, which is why so many turn to Instagram advertising. And in 2018, there are 2 million advertisers trying to get eyeballs in front of their Instagram posts. We should only expect this number to substantially grow over the year.
As the total users inches closer to 1 billion, it’s not unlikely to expect more emphasis on Instagram ads. Already this year Instagram released its newest advertising feature, Carousel Ads.
Much like Facebook’s version, users can add more layers to paid content with additional photos per post. This gives consumers more to digest and explore within a single ad post–driving up conversion rates for many.
If you need to prepare for anything this year, know that Instagram ads are at the top of the list for many digital marketers and advertisers.
4. Instagram Automation Is The Real Deal
Automation is rising in popularity with Twitter and Facebook, but what about Instagram? Man, if there were only a way to schedule Instagram posts, your job as a marketer would be significantly easier. Wait a second–
You’re in luck! Instagram recently announced a new process to share its API with third-party tools and partners like Sprout Social to allow scheduling. Now users have the ability to plan, schedule and share through Sprout’s Instagram tools.
Automation features are making networks like Twitter and Facebook more controllable for smaller teams. With Facebook and Twitter Chatbot features, there’s no reason to guess Instagram is next for automation.
While not all automation is good, certain message tagging and repetitive question query responses and now scheduling are a must in today’s rapid-response social landscape. More businesses using Instagram means additional marketing tools to make the app easier. See how brands are building their own chatbots with Sprout Social’s very own Chatbot Builder tool!
This means we can expect plenty of updates to automation tools and features in the near future. Even Instagram Direct could see a new update or communication method all together.
Direct is used to communicate between users with chat and content sharing abilities within Instagram. Facebook has already moved its chatting features to a separate Facebook Messenger app, but could Instagram be next?
These automation features will continue to be relevant and businesses should expect to see more tools catering to them.
5. More Augmented-Reality Features
What do doggie ears, sunglasses and sleeping masks have in common? They’re some of the most popular Instagram face filters on the market. These augmented-reality features take Instagram selfies to the next level, but how does this affect your business?
Branded face filters.
We’ve already seen Snapchat use promoted advertisements on face filters for upcoming movies, Skittles, Gatorade and Taco Bell. But what’s limiting this from happening on Instagram? Businesses should expect to see these features in the near future.
It might not be available to every brand by 2019, but we could start to see more play in paid face filter ads. Because these features could cost a pretty penny, there are more affordable options for face filter engagement.
Brands need to engage their audience to keep consumers coming back. In fact, the Sprout Social Q1 2017 Index found 60% of millennials are likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on social media.
So to engage your audience, you need to be more humanistic with your posts. If you come across as a cold and non-engaging brand, you could lose interest–fast. That’s why having influencers or even your own staff use face filters could be a great option to engage with users.
There’s always a time and place, but don’t write off face filters just yet.
No matter which trend you want to use, it’s smart to stay current with what your audience is doing on social media. Marketers are constantly looking for ways to reach their audience more effectively and by following these Instagram trends, you’ll have a leg up in the race to get your content seen.
What are some of your favorite Instagram trends you’ve seen on the platform? Feel free to hit us up on Twitter or Instagram to share your favorite trends!