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15 Current Instagram Trends & Forecasts for 2020: According to Experts

Category: B2B News

In 2019, Instagram trends are all about authentic content, influencers, visual effects, creativity, videos, Stories, and shopping. To start, the platform has innovated tools that enable users to create interactive and fresh content. Furthermore, the platform evolved to support its growing business accounts. So, it looks like Instagram is on the road to becoming a formidable eCommerce site.

Whether you’re just starting to build your presence on Instagram or have gained a considerable account following over the years, it pays to understand how this platform is evolving. With this knowledge, you can optimize the reach of your Instagram page and, by extension, the reach of your business. Aside from this, you should also consider the factors that go into building and managing an influencer-level business account. So, it might be worth looking at Instagram trends for businesses to see whether you’re ahead of the game.

Instagram Trends for 2020

Instagram data shows that the platform commands a whopping 1 Billion+ active accounts worldwide. What’s more is over 80% of these accounts are following businesses on the network. Thus, if your company is one of the 25 Million+ business profiles, you should know that over 200 Million Instagrammers has probably visited your business at least once a day.

In fact, 60% of people say that the platform is where they discover new products. This is why brand followers grow from 6% to 8% month-over-month. Moreover, 1/3 of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses. 

Also, if you need a worldwide audience, 80% of Instagram users live outside the U.S. Companies have various ways to tap into Instagram’s global audience to grow their business. To wit, here are some trends and forecasts you can exploit.

1. Content is (still) King

It’s now a norm for businesses to create and execute online content through various content marketing tools on the market. These tools make it easy to use different types of content. However, 2019 is all about getting real. Creators are producing more “authentic” and “unfiltered” content.

When it comes to top Instagram story trends, influencers and brands have gained more followers with raw and honest posts and featuring less “curated” feeds. 

However, this doesn’t mean that high-quality photography can be abandoned. After all, building a cohesive aesthetic is still one of the best ways to grow your brand’s Instagram followers. Also, users have become more discerning of the story behind the photo and have become better at reading between the feeds. Thus, unconventionally truthful posts and feeds are coming across as legit, relatable, and believable. This is one of the Instagram photo trends 2019 brought us. 

Humans of NY is one of the first of its kind and has endured over the years because of its consistent use of realistic, unfiltered photos of real people, with compelling stories as captions. Of course, it’s hard to replicate this fully for a business account. However, you can draw inspiration from this when you run a new social campaign on Instagram. 

Who are Instagram’s biggest users?

Age
% of Users

13-17

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Source: Statista

Designed by

Key Takeaways

  • “Authentic” and “unfiltered” content on Instagram is gaining traction.
  • High-quality photography and content cannot be abandoned. It is still a signal of professionalism especially coming from a brand. A right balance has to made between this and “authenticity”.
  • It is a plus when your content is relatable and believable. Instagram users need to feel a connection to businesses that they follow.

2. Supporting Important Causes

Instagram is not just for socializing anymore. It can be used to take a stand. That is why nowadays, Instagram users engage more with business accounts that support causes that matter to them. Simply put, Instagrammers are all for taking a stand on a current social issue that resonates with their own. Whether it’s a local outreach or a massive, long-term global project, using your IG account to promote what your business values and beliefs (beyond profits) are killer content for the coming year(s). 

This trend will persist as IG continues to be the top engagement platform. It attracts different types of users from all walks of life. This includes activists that want to draw support for their particular advocacies.

Certain social issues such as climate change have dominated Instagram recently. In addition, movements such as Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and #TimesUp has garnered attention and support from the IG community. If you want your business to get more engagement with the Instagram crowd, you should start paying attention to social causes that you actually support. In this way, you can engage and rally with your target customers that feel or think the same way.

Take note that we are not talking about just hashtags here and joining the bandwagon for views and likes. We recommend that you promote your actual corporate social responsibility programs on Instagram and maybe find people that can relate with them. To wit, this needs to be authentic. In this way, people won’t just associate your brand for products or services that satisfy certain needs. Also, they’d associate your brand with social good.

Key Takeaways

  • Instagrammers are fond of encouraging support for important causes that matter to them.
  • Users appreciate businesses that have similar values to them.
  • Businesses should promote actual corporate social responsibility programs and causes authentically. In this way, users will associate their brands not just with the fulfillment of some needs but also as an agent of positive change.

3. More Relatable Influencers

More users are following authentic and real influencers that lead ordinary, relatable lives. This is in contrast with picture-perfect lifestyles led by the celebrity influencers. Users are finding greater content value from people that mirror their own life experiences. Thus, when you choose your influencers for your brand, do not overlook the ordinary-looking ones. 

Micro-influencers or nano-influencers are getting more attention from brands that are working to capture the attention of highly specific target markets. These influencers may have as little as 100 followers, but brands have started to value partnerships with them as it’s now considered more genuine to get their message across this way.

They attract more engagement and they are more likely to respond to comments and mentions. Moreover, these influencers have roots in hard-to-reach niches. Thus, by partnering with them, you can extend your advertising reach.

There are different ways to partner up with them. One way is to try native advertising. Another is to give out affiliate links for a performance-based marketing program.

Key Takeaways

  • Top businesses are turning to micro- and nano-influencers instead of Instagram stars. They are more relatable and authentic. Thus, other users relate to them more.
  • Micro- and nano-influencers are more likely to respond to comments and mentions. Thus, they get more engagement.
  • There are different ways to partner up with influencers. You can run native advertisement campaigns with them or go performance-based with affiliate links.

4. The Hashtags Have It

There are many Instagram hashtag trends 2019 has started–and they’re likely to keep trending in 2020. As you may already know, hashtags help users find your content faster. Thus, the skillful use of hashtags is a requisite for you to exploit this trend. Social Media Examiner pointed out that you can include 30 hashtags per post. Also, a search for any hashtag will show you how many posts are associated with the hashtag.

So, how can you use this data to inform your hashtag strategy? This will be clearer when we answer the questions: “What is Instagram’s algorithm 2019?” and “How to work with it?” Well, for hashtags of course. 

How to work with hashtags

Popular hashtags generate immediate activity on a single post. The Instagram algorithm pushes your content to be visible in searchers within seconds reaching minutes. This depends on how fast people are posting using the hashtags. Thus, experts suggest that you use popular hashtags if you want bursts of visibility.

Additionally, there are moderately popular hashtags. Using this will tell the algorithm to keep your content visible and active for hours.

You can also opt to use niche-specific hashtags. These are hyper-targeted to your core business. For example, if you are selling supplements for athletes in Philadelphia you can use #phillymma to target mixed martial artists and gyms. Lastly, there are branded hashtags that are specific to your brand or campaigns.

So, one strategy in using hashtags for visibility is to find the right mix of these:

  • popular – for immediate visibility (seconds to minutes)
  • moderately popular – for longer visibility (hours)
  • niche-specific – for hyper-targeted visibility
  • brand-specific – for attribution

Also, you have to factor in relevancy. Be sure that your content is also very timely and relevant especially with the popular and moderately popular hashtags. These are usually the ones that are trending. We are not going to cover too much strategy here in this article, maybe in a future post. However, what’s important is that you now have an idea on how to exploit the use of hashtags with this mix-and-match method.

Key Takeaways

  • Hashtags help make your content searchable. Good command of hashtags is needed to become and stay relevant on Instagram.
  • There are different types of hashtags that you can use for visibility and reach. A mix of popular, moderately popular, niche-specific, and brand-specific hashtags is recommended for high visibility for your target audience.
  • It is important to keep content relevant to the hashtags as well. Nothing turns people off than irrelevant content. It spells S-P-A-M.

5. Popular Instagram Topics 2019

What are the most popular Instagram topics? Well, Instagrammers use the platform as a show-and-tell space. They share things that are of interest to them. Thus, there are as many topics as much as there are interests around. So, as a business how do you exploit these popular trends? For starters, it helps if your products fall in at least one of the more in-demand topics on the platform. If so, all you’ll have to do is use a mix of hashtags to get visible (as mentioned before) and get influencers from these topics as well. Currently, the most important topics on Instagram are fashion, food, design, travel, and fitness.

However, if your products don’t really align with such topics, then you need to get creative. One way to do this is to find a somewhat-related hashtag or influencer. Then you either create your content and align it to a popular hashtag or reach out to an influencer for a native advertising or sponsorship deal. Of course, you can do both. Doing both is a good marketing scheme.

But, this is really where creatives can shine. This is why it’s important to have some or at least some person in your company that is adept at making creative marketing associations. Moreover, these popular topics and Instagram story trends are very likely to carry over in the next few years. So, you need to keep tabs on them and the successful hashtags you already used.

Key Takeaways

  • The top topics on Instagram are not likely to change in the next few years. This doesn’t mean that they won’t fluctuate in their respective rankings quarterly. We just meant that they will stay very popular. Thus, creating a strategy around these needs to be considered.
  • Businesses can cleverly align their products and offerings with Instagram topics that trend. There are also cycles for big events such as sports and politics.
  • Creating content and reaching out to influencers on top topics can help you gain visibility and reach. However, it takes creative savvy to do this. This is why there are in-house creatives in top businesses. Also, consider hiring social media experts to help you exploit these trends.

6. The Explore Tab

Over 200 million Instagrammers look through the Explore grid daily and we can expect this to rise even more. The feed’s new navigation bar provides shortcuts to IGTV and Shop. From there, users can further explore their specific interests such as travel, food, art, or beauty.

This is the primary reason why getting on the Explore tab is now a goal for many businesses, brands, and influencers. This is similar to how they value the coveted blue verified checkmark.

The Explore page’s algorithm tracks the users’ interests (what you like, watch, search for, etc.) and relationships (who you interact with, whose posts you react to and comment on, etc.) and determine the kinds of posts would most interest users on their Explore page. Brands on the Explore page stand to gain a larger audience and garner more likes and comments. The Explore page can place your post in front of new followers who are specifically interested in your content, making it more likely to hit the follow button.

No single recipe to get there

So, how do you know if you’re there yet? This is very difficult to tell especially because the Explore Page is different for every user. However, it is highly likely that you’ve snagged a spot on the Explore Page if you: (1) get extra new likes, and (2) get comments from unfamiliar accounts. Here are a few tips to help your chances:

  • Engage with followers – don’t leave followers hanging, keep engagement high
  • Add your location – reach more local prospects and gain more local followers
  • Use relevant hashtags – use the right mix as mentioned
  • Post at the right time – share at peak hours of your followers
  • Include a call to action – add invites for questions, likes, and comments
  • Grow your followers – find and engage non-followers to convert them

Key Takeaways

  • The Explore Page features accounts that users don’t follow yet.
  • There is no single recipe to get to the Explore Page. However, improving engagements and growing your audience will likely land you a spot there.
  • Many brands want to get on the Explore Page as much as they wanted to get the coveted blue checkmark.

7. Instagram AR Effects

One of the landmark Instagram photo trends 2019 has brought is the Augmented Reality or AR effects for mobile cameras. This year, Facebook gives Instagram users access to Spark AR Studio, the software used to create custom AR effects.

This AR platform for Mac and Windows lets you create AR effects for mobile cameras, similar to how Photoshop or Sketch works. With this recent development, anyone on Instagram can now create and share Stories filters using Spark AR Studio. The platform now prominently features user-generated selfie filters comparable to Snapchat’s Lenses.

How do you leverage this trend if you are a business? Firstly, this gives you a lot of creativity. Other companies in fashion and accessories can now let people “try out” new looks using AR before they can purchase them. Also, it is a great way to make audiences aware of the causes you care about. Take Rihanna for example, she used a Diamond Ball filter to promote the Clara Lionel Foundation.

Key Takeaways

  • Instagram AR filters have become a hit in 2019. They are likely to stay for years to come.
  • Businesses use AR filters to promote their brand and even let users “try” products before they purchase them. If you have the budget, you may want to consider creating your own.
  • You can also get creative and use AR to promote causes that you support. This can engage the audience more and bring attention to your CSR projects.

8. The Rise of IGTV

Instagram is no longer just for stills – its video-sharing platform, IGTV, has been thriving. It was quite a rocky start for IGTV which led to slow user adoption, but Instagram has enhanced IGTV and is actively promoting its use throughout the platform.

Users can now cross-promote their IGTV videos on their feeds instead of just being confined in IGTV and have recently let users share landscape or horizontal videos instead of just vertical ones. Of course, you can harness the power of the best video editing software to upload exciting videos on IGTV.

However, you may also choose to go for a more “authentic” and “unfiltered” when you use this format. For example, you can post exclusive interviews with experts, influencers, or just a scene of your current company event.

Instagram is widely considered as a go-to platform for video marketers, according to this list of video marketing facts and data. Now, with its new and shiny IGTV service, it is likely to stay on a top spot. So, be sure to be on IGTV in 2020. Also, make sure that you crossover your video content as well to other platforms. In this way, you can redirect viewers to other social media sites and even to your own website for conversion if you’re selling online.

Key Takeaways

  • The new IGTV platform now allows users to cross-promote their videos to their feeds.
  • Instagram has been one of the go-to video marketing platforms for video marketers in recent years. Having an all-new and improved IGTV avenue will cement its place for the next few years as well.
  • Businesses can either use powerful video editing tools to create content on IGTV or opt for more “unfiltered” content. Most likely, a mix of the two would work depending on your content or campaign. It is best to video length, quality, and other factors that can affect “viewability”.

9. Expect More Stories

Instagram Stories has over 500 million users daily, making it the most popular type of content on the platform. These provide an authentic, fast way to engage your audience and push your brand’s account to the front of your follower’s Stories updates. By using this format, you can keep your profile popping up, effectively encouraging your followers to check out your content regularly.

Instagram Stories also allows you to boost user engagement through polls. This strategy lets you engage your followers’ inputs, and you use them to create more Stories in the future. It’s important to consider creating an Instagram Stories strategy for your business. Here are some tips below:

  • Showcase products creatively – feature old and new products in an interesting manner
  • Maintain a theme for your brand or campaign – keep to a theme compatible with your brand personality
  • Promote content and deals – capitalize on Stories to promote website articles or even promos
  • Use interactive stickers – use polls, emoji sliders, and questions to promote engagement

Percentage of Instagram Ad Spending on Stories

Q3 2017

Q4 2017

Q1 2018

Q2 2018

Q3 2018

Source: Marin Software / Marketing Charts

Designed by

Key Takeaways

  • Stories remain to be a popular form of content on Instagram with over 500 million daily users.
  • You can boost user engagement using polls and even promote deals on your Stories.
  • Keep to a theme that is consistent with your brand image, personality, and campaigns. This signals that there are professionals behind the posts.

10. Increased Sharing between Stories and IGTV

We can expect to see more crossover brand content between IGTV and Stories as Instagram has been exploring new ways to link these two different formats. When Instagram changed their feed algorithm, more people were shown to be sharing “new post” alerts in their Stories. One-minute IGTV teasers have increasingly appeared in the feed to lead viewers directly to the main channel. Stories are now appearing in the Explore grid.

You can be sure that Instagram is experimenting on how to keep content fresh, accessible, and more customizable.

Thus, it is important to keep tabs on these cross-platform capabilities. Each feature has different benefits and they can complement each other. Just like what you do on Stories, you can take your customers into a journey across these different platforms. You can start with a poll asking a question or a set of them like a quiz. Later, you can release the article for all the answers. Then, you can release a video on IGTV for a short-form version of the article.

Key Takeaways

  • Instagram is experimenting with ways to crossover different content types. Thus, it is good to keep tabs on new rollouts and betas.
  • Brand content now a crossover between Stories and IGTV. Moreover, Stories are now appearing in the Explore grid. You can get creative and take advantage of these.
  • Link different Instagram content like starting a trivia or quiz contest on Stories and following it up with answers on an article post shared on your feed. Then, you can finish it off by announcing the winner on IGTV. Of course, you can get more creative than this.

11. More TikTok-Type Content

TikTok’s growing popularity among teens has affected how the IGTV feed looks. This short-form video app has become one of the most popular social media platforms for teens and Generation Zers, and Instagram is paying attention.

After Instagram overhauled the IGTV, the current version now resembles a combination of TikTok and Snapchat’s Discover feeds. Instagram is designing a new tool that lets users make TikTok-type content within Instagram. This new tool will allow users to record segments of videos on a single video Story, overlay music on clips and adjust the speed and timer of each video clip.

Brands can take advantage of this by creating TikTok-type content for their campaigns. Moreover, they can even take full advantage of user-generated content by having contests in the like for best videos of the month. This way, they can not only generate traffic and engagement but even sales when the mix is right.

Key Takeaways

  • TikTok-style content is getting popular nowadays. Instagram is paying attention and is working its way on making this content type available on its platform more and more.
  • Brands can take advantage of this short-form video with their very own content.
  • You can also launch a user-generated campaign like contests for TikTok-style videos to create buzz and even increase sales.

12. Shoppable Posts

With the explosion of global online shopping, the launch of Instagram Shoppable Posts catapults Instagram into a full-fledged eCommerce site. This native integration makes it easy to tag and shop products directly from your organic Instagram posts. Shopping on IG has become global as it is now available in 46 countries. With its new checkout feature, shoppers can buy products directly on Instagram without ever leaving the app.

Prior to shoppable posts, brands can only generate leads by linking to their bios or creating clickable Instagram Stories. Businesses can now simply tag a product (like tagging a person on a post), while customers can access the tagged product’s information easily.

Businesses should take advantage of this feature. Gone are the days that you have to redirect your audience to your website or Amazon just to showcase your product. You can instantly showcase your products on IG itself. It is complete with previews and price tags. Also, it is very easy to set up your Instagram Shopping account.

For more ideas on how to make the most out of your social media eCommerce efforts, be sure to check out this online shopping fact sheet. This should give you a better idea of what consumers want and how other businesses are utilizing this platform.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shopping on IG is now better and global being available in 46 countries.
  • Instagram Shoppable Posts allow you to showcase your products directly on IG and redirect them to your product page.
  • It is easy to set up an account. All you have to do is make sure your account is a business account and then connect it to a Facebook catalog (or create a new one). Then, go to IG and sign up for Shopping. Follow the instructions, and you’re done.

13. Shoppable Influencers

After each post or Story, top Instagram influencers receive questions about where they got their wares. Instagram has made a few influencers’ lives easier by allowing them to tag products on their posts, which can then be purchased from Instagram Checkout. It is evolving into a bit of affiliate marketing. So, it’s best to look at how you can integrate IG with your performance-based or affiliate programs. 

In its infancy stage, only a few influencers such as Kylie Jenner, Vogue, and Chiara Ferragni are allowed to do this but expect to see more Shoppable Influencers in the following months as Instagram opens this up. 

You need to follow this trend as this might be open for smaller influencers soon. If or when this happens, it just might open the floodgates for more eCommerce to pass through IG.

Key Takeaways:

  • Influencers can now make Shoppable Posts with products that they use.
  • It is looking that this trend is going to evolve into a full-blown performance-based marketing program, so it’s best to invest in reliable affiliate marketing software.
  • You best follow this trend to see when it will be available for smaller influencers. When it becomes available, you know what to do. It’s time for more influencer marketing on IG.

14. More Vanity, Home, Health & Wellness and Tech Products

So, what products are trending on Instagram? According to oberlo.com, the top trending products include fashion, weight loss, health, food, fitness, and tech. As a matter of fact, here they are:

  1. Hair Accessories (Laser hair removal, Headscarf, Ionic hairbrush, and the Hair wig)
  2. Women’s Fashion (Denim, Puff Shoulder, Shapewear, Athleisure)
  3. Weight Loss (Ab wheel roller, Swimsuits)
  4. Beauty (Fake eyelashes, Nail extensions)
  5. Men’s products (Watches, Shoes)
  6. Kids products (Stuffed toys, Reborn baby)
  7. Kitchen products (Sweeping machine, Reusable bags)
  8. Health & Wellness (Teeth whitening, Anti Snoring)
  9. Tech (Phone cases, iPhone repair kit)

With over 25 Million business profiles on Instagram, it’s quite easy to get lost in the crowd. What’s key is finding your Instagram niche – that unique, sweet spot that differentiates your brand, engages your audiences, leads to conversion, and can expand to reach more fans and followers.

However, do remember that IG is a show and tell platform. Thus, be ready to play in terms of supporting online vanity or, in tamer terms, conspicuous consumption

Key Takeaways:

  • The top products on IG have something to do with vanity or conspicuous consumption. So, be ready to play more into this in a way that you help people express themselves using commercial products.
  • If you sell products in these categories, it is really hard to vie for fans or followers. Thus, make sure you differentiate well.
  • Also, remember to make your products are a part of your Shoppable Posts and make it available to micro-influencers via performance-based marketing. In this way, you can increase reach, visibility, and even conversions.

15. Well-Designed Instagram Feeds

As a highly visual platform, we can expect more creative feeds as brands, influencers, and regular Instagram users explore Instagram overlay stickers, collages, and micro-color blocking. 

Brands, influencers and regular Instagram users are producing more creative content for their collages, using new apps to put images, videos, backgrounds, etc. together. Collages enable you to showcase more images and videos in one space, which can be enough to gain more likes and followers.

The easiest way to add overlay stickers to your photos is to use pre-made sticker packs such as @thecreativestickerpack. There are also free downloadable stickers produced by Later Media, with instructions on how to upload these stickers on your photos.

Micro-color blocking is another trending theme that allows users to post multiple pictures together, usually following contrasting or complimenting color block schemes. This ups the impact of images and creates visual interest on image-saturated feeds. Micro-color blocking in Stories is also gaining traction.

Standing out is not as easy today as back then. Tools are getting democratized fast. So, you better get on these trends to spruce up your brand image. It is important to stay up to date with aesthetic trends like these. Moreover, you really want to lead in this area as a business. That said, you’ll need to look professional amongst professional-looking accounts being run by individuals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Standing out on Instagram is harder than ever. Tools are getting democratized and individual accounts upgrade too fast.
  • Businesses need to keep up with aesthetics trends to keep standing out in the right way. You don’t want to look ancient for the sophisticated Instagrammers today.
  • As tools are getting democratized, your competition will also get their hands on them. Thus, you better keep watch on your competition and stay ahead of them on Instagram.

Grow Your Business on Instagram

Building your brand presence on Instagram can be a crucial component in your social media marketing strategy. It is a proven platform for engaging with brand followers on a more personal level. Its massive reach can help your business reach a wider territory. And Instagram is evolving to cater to business needs.

With over 200 Million Instagrammers visiting one business profile daily, it’s no wonder that more and more businesses are taking on the challenge of boosting their presence in this growing eCommerce platform. To get yourself up to speed with the state of eCommerce today, read about eCommerce facts and forecasts here.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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