As Instagram rolled out several new features in 2018, the landscape of Instagram is settling in to its new normal. Of course, nothing stays the same for too long when it comes to social media marketing, so here’s how these new features might trend this year.
IGTV, launched in June 2018, is a “new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators,” according to the platform. IGTV videos are featured in a separate app, and can also be watched in the Instagram app. With Instagram at over one billion users, this is a way to allow existing users to jump right into this new media form. The videos can be up to one hour long. While this won’t be replacing YouTube anytime soon, it will start to build up content libraries for personalities who are already heavily invested on Instagram. Also, unlike YouTube, it’s optimized for vertical viewing right off the bat, which will appeal to the younger crowd who consume this media mainly on their phones.
Cinemagraphs are gaining popularity on Instagram and are likely to become posted by more users as the technology to create them improves. They are mainly still photos with a moving element that proceeds in a loop. These images appear still at first glance, and then enchant the viewer with a subtle surprise. Remember how the images on the wall in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts could magically move in their frame and even interact with the viewers? Those are cinemagraphs. Recent research has shown that engagement with cinemagraphs is 5000% higher that with still images, so expect to see many brands and influencers turning to this unique art form.
As brands continue to ride the highly popular shoppable posts bandwagon, look for more and more shoppable content. These posts make customer conversion a few steps simpler, which makes Instagram an even more valuable platform for marketing and sales. You might even expect to see a separate app for Instagram shopping roll out soon.
FAQs on Story Highlights
As Instagram Stories become the main way brands interact with their fans on Instagram, look for them to start engaging with customers on their story and posting those interactions to Story Highlights as FAQs. With an Instagram page as the alternative home page for many businesses in an Instagram friendly space such as tech, fashion, and beauty, expect to see even more content on these landing pages. Some companies have even hired professional writing services to curate these interactions for the purpose of archiving them in Story Highlights.
Story polls and other stickers
As brands constantly seek fresh ways to engage with their customers, you’ll see Instagram Story polls become more and more commonplace. Users love the emoji slider and the ease of responding to these polls to choose their own adventure with regard to the content they consume. Story polls and other stickers offer customers a new way to interact with the brands they love, all within the platform they’re already on. These interactions are fun and, when done right, don’t feel like ads at all.
It’s hard to believe Instagram has already existed for eight years. With its founders leaving in late 2018, the simplicity of Instagram might fade away and users could see a more Facebook-like experience where many different ways of connecting with the platform are ongoing at once. As the introduction of IGTV heralded, we might see many more Instagram spinoff apps such as direct messaging and shopping. The platform will keep its focus on the visual side of communication, but what that means for its future is yet to be seen.