Instagram is one of the most important and most powerful marketing channels of our time. It is great for content marketing and paid advertising and, at the same time, for communication and customer service. It has the capacity to drive great engagement and better-than-average return on investment for a marketer, brand or agency.
Instagram has been growing since it was first launched eight years ago. As we can see from the following graph shared with us by Statista , the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network reached a milestone of 1 billion monthly users in June.
This is an impressive number and, when it comes to marketing, impressive numbers are great. It means that you have access to a huge audience worldwide and, at the same time, due to this channel’s nature, you have access to a dedicated and engaged audience.
Moreover, there are more than 4 billion likes per day on Instagram, and each image posted on this platform gets an average of 23 percent more engagement than its Facebook counterpart.
As a consequence, we need to constantly stay updated with all of Instagram’s latest developments and, of course, the trends that govern it. This is why, with this article, I am going to shed some light upon the most popular trends that are expected to rule Instagram marketing in 2019.
Also, I questioned some of my peers regarding this issue and, fortunately, I received a series of answers from marketers and professionals regarding their expectations for 2019.
IGTV will be a big player
Announced and launched in June, IGTV is the new video platform dedicated exclusively to mobile users. Unlike YouTube and other videostreaming platforms, IGTV is dedicated to vertical video playback and, therefore, suitable for marketers and content producers that are addressing a mobile only audience.
Why vertical? Instagram wants to encourage people to create video content but, at the same time, to do it exclusively for mobile. We already know that people are more likely to use their mobile devices in a vertical position, hence the type of video.
“If you’re still not on IGTV, it’s time to hop on the train,” said Plannable’s Vlad Callus. “When thinking about the upcoming trends in Instagram marketing I believe IGTV and Instagram Stories are on the top of the list. IGTV will become the new YouTube in three to five years, and if you’re joining now, you will catch the big wave.”
Other big brands are on IGTV, as well. SocialChain is producing and distributing a regular podcast. All of its episodes are also being filmed and, afterward, published on IGTV, as well as vertical content. This is a great example of a company that adapts quickly to the latest trends in social media and acts accordingly.
While short-form videos were already available on Instagram, the new IGTV channel allows users and marketers to opt for long form content, which, in the long run, may prove more beneficial to their strategies.
“We’re going to see a rise in long-form content,” said Spendesk inbound marketing manager Patrick Whatman. “That’s intentional on the part of Facebook: It brought in IGTV specifically to let people go long. The rationale is sound, too: It knows that teens and young people love watching vloggers on YouTube. It also knows that these same people love watching videos on their phones. So, in direct competition with YouTube, it built a format that lets these vloggers create videos for the vertical screen—the same screen that young people love to watch on the bus or in the car.”
He added, “Instagram will find ways to incentivize businesses to use IGTV, and businesses will respond. And these long-form videos will then be clipped to use in Stories and in the feed.”
Micro-brands will dominate the platform
If you look at how Instagram has evolved over time and continues to, you will notice something quite unique to this platform. Being a true social channel, Instagram favors micro-brand marketing and, in fact, we see quite an explosion of small companies and brands on the platform.
Instagram favors interaction and storytelling, and it is quite different from other news-oriented social media platforms. This is why it has become one of the best content distribution channels for micro-brands.
“I think this mass of micro brands with massively efficient marketing are, in aggregate, having a much bigger impact than anyone thinks,” Scott Belsky wrote. “Using hyper-targeted marketing, just-in-time manufacturing and social media, these brands find and engage their audience wherever they may be.”
One of the most successful micro-brands that was able to grow almost overnight thanks to Instagram is MVMT, a crowdfunded fashion watch designer. Instagram was a great choice, considering that it delivered a two times higher engagement rate and 75 percent stronger brand awareness and brand recall than other platforms.
“Instagram was not only able to integrate seamlessly into our day-to-day ad management by combining placements, but it also improved cost per action by 20 percent” said Steven Dinelli, ad manager at MVMT.
There are also a lot of companies and brands that act just like media companies. They have created and maintained large communities of followers and fans with whom they share their successes and news.
One of these brands is @Dunk, a basketball community that creates high engagement, thus attracting millions of followers. Its success depends on this huge community, but also on the quality of content it promotes via Instagram.