Will Instagram Be the Most Important Social Marketing Channel in 2020?
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What does the future of Instagram look like in 2020? Will it become the most important social channel, or will it lose out to emerging social channels? How will the latest updates impact the Instagram 2020 trends for marketing? Let’s find out.
Instagram (IG) has seen an explosion in growth, with over a billion active users on the platform. Here are a few of the latest features from Instagram that showcase how Instagram caters to users' expectations of privacy, safety, fresh content, and seamless experiences.
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Instagram Reels: According to a TechCrunch report , Instagram launched Reels (Cenas) in Brazil. It is a video-music remix feature for users to make short video clips (just like TikTok), which can be shared on Stories. The music for these videos, remixes, or memes can be added from a huge available catalog.
Giving users more control over the data they share with third-party services. According to Instagram Press (October 2019) , "you’ll have the option to remove any third-party services you no longer want connected to your Instagram account. When you remove a third-party service, they will no longer have access to new data on your account."
Removing like counts: Instagram began testing how removing like counts impacted users and marketers’ perception of content; in July 2019, for seven countries. IG has started experimenting with the removal of like counts in the U.S. too; according to Wired .
Reducing inauthentic activity on Instagram. In November, IG began purging fake engagement (likes, follows, and comments) from accounts that used third-party apps to boost popularity.
Instagram Threads – a camera first messaging app. Instagram launched Threads in October this year where users can share their everyday moments, Stories, visual messages (photos, videos, etc.) with their Close Friends and a select list of people in a dedicated, private space.
Landscape videos for IGTV. While IGTV is yet to gain traction, Instagram started supporting landscape videos (in addition to vertical) for a better experience for both viewers and content creators.
@shop account was launched for small businesses and creators to help users discover emerging brands based on their interests in various categories like fashion, beauty, home decor, etc.
New designs for the Explore tab. IG updated the Explore tab for users to be able to discover relevant content tailored to their interests, bring in more immersive shopping and IGTV experiences, and personalized Stories recommendations.
Instagram Checkout was introduced to enable convenient in-app shopping experiences for a product users liked on a brand's shopping post.
But, what does all this mean for marketers?
How will these changes impact marketing trends on Instagram in 2020?
Let's dive deeper.
Learn More: Social Media Trends 2019: Are Instagram and Pinterest the New Social Media Darlings for Marketers?
6 Instagram 2020 Marketing Trends
The future of Instagram in 2020 is bright. Instagram can anticipate users’ needs and expectations and deliver exactly what users are looking for – be it privacy, authentic content, or seamless experiences. IG users are not going anywhere. Instagram in 2020, therefore, presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers.
1.Resurgence of influencer marketing
It is yet to be seen how the purge of fake accounts has impacted the offenders. But user and advertiser trust in influencers has declined. Even though most influencers, are a victim of bots and fake accounts. However, businesses as well as users are now looking for fresh and organic content.
Instagram 2020 will see influencer marketing go organic. Users will ‘trust’ their peers or micro-influencers to make a purchase decision. Micro or nano-influencers will be a safer bet for businesses, as they will be able to offer fresh, authentic content to a targeted audience at much lower costs.
Another ironical trend to watch out for is the rising popularity of virtual influencers on Instagram. Popular brands like KFC, Yoox, Balmain have created virtual influencers to promote their products and surprisingly they have 3X more engagement than real influencers, according to HypeAuditor . There could be many reasons for the rise of virtual influencers. Firstly, users are tired of fake content and since they ‘already know’ these influencers are virtual they tend to ‘believe’ them more. Secondly, as it’s a novel concept it has attracted attention. Lastly, advertisers find an initial cost of design and creation of virtual influencers with low recurring costs as attractive.
Instagram 2020: Virtual Influencers have higher engagement rates. Source: HypeAuditor
2.Quality content for quality engagement
Hiding likes is an experiment that will make higher value engagement imperative for marketers. This will push content creators to craft content that drives active engagement like comments and shares, instead of mere likes. The focus will now be on fresh, genuine content and authentic followers (for influencers). Moreover, comments and discussions will serve as social proof, which is absolutely crucial to capture the interest of prospective customers.
Also, giving users control over third party-apps and weeding out companies selling inauthentic engagement will help build user confidence in the platform, brands, and content creators. Quality content will drive deeper meaningful connections – a win-win for users and marketers alike.
3. User-Generated Content will gain prominence
Instagram monitors and anticipates competition well and doesn’t shy away from ‘adapting’ to the hottest trends. From ‘Stories’ to ‘Reels’, Instagram has been proactive in replicating and integrating what’s popular in the space.
The popularity of TikTok has reshaped the social media marketing strategy for many brands. With the launch of Reels will result in user-generated marketing content gaining more traction on Instagram. You can expect brands to launch contests or invite users and loyal customers to be creative with video content and share it to promote their products.
4. Stories offer a huge promotional opportunity
The updated Explore tab will personalize the Instagram 2020 experience for users. This will show content (images and Stories) which best fit user preferences. Insta Stories offer huge promotional opportunities for marketers as they can showcase product offerings in alignment with users’ interests. According to SocialMediaToday , 77% of marketers plan to use Instagram Stories in the future.
The Threads feature for now is private to users, but once it gains in popularity, we can expect personalized ads on Threads as well.
Stories are the Future of Instagram 2020. Source: SocialMediaToday
5. The convergence of content and shopping experiences will boost conversions
Instagram has merged the content and shopping experiences to make product discovery and on-platform buying convenient and seamless for users.
“When you go to Explore, you’ll now see a newly designed navigation bar, which features shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping followed by topic channels tailored to your interests, such as Food, Art and Travel. “IGTV” and “Shop” shortcuts are pinned to the front of the bar, making it easier to find products and videos from brands and creators you love,” - Instagram Press.
@shop accounts are a great way to combine content and product catalogs to organically reach out to interested buyers. Also, Instagram Shoppable posts can be featured in Explore to create immersive shopping experiences in the app and boost reach and engagement. With the Checkout feature, users don’t have to worry about leaving the app or filling in personal details (needs to be done once) to complete their purchase. Converging content and shopping experiences will eventually boost conversions, motivate impulse buyers, and in turn improve your return on Instagram investment.
6.IGTV for long-form video content
IGTV hasn’t been as popular as the platform’s other features, but it is being updated to better fit both users’ need for immersive experiences and creators’ demand of horizontal (landscape) format. It is yet to be seen if this helps IGTV gain more users but one thing is certain: Videos are and will remain a significant part of Instagram experiences.
We will see a healthy mix of snackable short videos in Reels, advertising videos with Stories, and long-form content for in-depth, compelling content.
Learn More: Ad Spend on Instagram Stories Has Grown by 70% Over Q3 2019, Reports Socialbakers
What Is the Future of Instagram in 2020?
Instagram may witness competition from the likes of TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. but with more than a billion active users, over 25 million businesses, and expected revenue of 14 billion dollars , the future of Instagram for marketing looks bright.
This is mainly due to Instagram’s ability to anticipate users’ needs, prioritize their trust, keep abreast of competition, and leverage current trends.
We think Instagram 2020 will still be marketers’ favorite platforms to reach out to their audiences and create amazing shopping experiences.
What is your Instagram 2020 strategy? Tell us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook ; we’re always listening!
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