With a billion users going on Instagram each month, marketers need to keep up with the growing market potential. Like everything else these days on social media, things are changing every so quickly, Instagram not excluded. Here are some of the latest trends.
On June 2, black squares inhabited many of Instagram’s feeds during Black Tuesday again, calling attention to the death of George Floyd and the BLM movement. The #15PercentPledge called attention in support of Black-owned businesses and other initiatives by celebrities, and public figures reminded people of the momentum that had been built. Observers consider these the new norm and no longer a trend.
The pandemic and resulting canceled events pushed Instagram Live higher among viewers. According to Facebook, more than 800 million people watch videos daily on Facebook and Instagram. And to capitalize on the increased popularity, Instagram introduced options to conduct fundraisers and even save videos to IGTV. Live shopping and badges may also add to the popularity.
In May, Instagram introduced new features that now allow creators to make money directly instead of through affiliate marketing and other partnerships. The platform is currently testing the sale of Badges during live broadcasts, which viewers can purchase to unlock additional features and appear prominently in the comment section. The entire proceeds go directly to the creators.
Instagram Brands allow brands to set up storefronts that eliminate customers’ need to click on a link to the brand’s website. The expectation is that this will fuel many more conversions and drive sales. Facebook also partnered in May with Instagram, so when a customer makes a purchase on Facebook, they can check out later on Instagram using their stored credit card information or Facebook Pay. A dedicated shopping tab to further improve discoverability was expected any day now on Instagram.
A new AI called GrokNet was developed by Facebook that automatically tags items in a brand’s catalogs in seconds. The powerful upgrade identifies attributes, scans photos, cross-references with catalogs, as well as suggests descriptions in addition to delivering targeted ads to consumers and improved search results. Another AI project called Rotating View allows consumers to create 3-D images and is being tested on Marketplace.
Instagram now allows creators to place guides with devoted tabs that can be a reference source to visitors on the platform. The tabs can include videos with notes and tips along with curated posts. With the future of TikTok in the U.S. still hanging in the balance, this can be extremely valuable since educational videos have surged recently. On TikTok alone, 14 million “knowledge-based” posts were created last year.
Values Front and Center
Much has been written lately about transparency and authenticity, especially among influencers and brands. Regular posts in Instagram’s Stories will help.
What will help to instill and maintain trust are influencers who also make it clear for followers to know in the labeling whether the content they’re seeing is sponsored or regular posts, especially those in Stories.
And because of the rise of social advocacy and brand activism, Instagram is said to be testing an option that would add fundraisers to profiles. The platform’s already added fundraising tools that include live fundraisers and donation stickers and has given nonprofits access to account donate buttons.
Instagram recently acquired Giphy, which will add more interactive features, including stickers, special effects, and filters to their arsenal. Facebook’s also developing an option that will allow its users to view and respond to Instagram Stories. Experts expect more integration between two in the future, which gives more reason for marketers to pay attention to Instagram.