In 2017, Instagram acquired approximately 100 million new users and developed Instagram Stories to become a Snapchat killer. Next year, Instagram is poised to become an even more important part of our social media diet, as the company works to develop new features.
Social media marketers and Instagram influencers should know that Instagram is always changing. To really see these changes in effect, many brands use the best Instagram analytics tool, SocialFox. This article will review 10 of the most likely Instagram trends to look out for in 2018. Start thinking about your Instagram strategy now in order to enter the new year with a clear Instagram marketing plan.
1. WIDESPREAD USE OF INSTAGRAM SHOPPING.
E-commerce brands need to jump on the Instagram shopping bandwagon in 2018. The tool was designed to improve the shopping experience for Instagram users by allowing brands to link items featured in Instagram posts to product pages on e-commerce sites.
The new tool is so successful that Big Commerce reported a 1000 percent increase in website visits and a 20 percent increase in revenue thanks to the Instagram shopping tool.
Given this early success, 2018 will see increased adoption of Instagram shopping, and of posts that are designed to prominently showcase merchandise.
2. MORE BRANDS TURN TO INSTAGRAM STORIES.
Just a year after it launched, Instagram Stories has more users (250 million) than Snapchat (166 million). Thanks to a constant stream of platform improvements, it’s likely that Instagram Stories will continue to attract millions of new users in 2018.
As a result, more brands will develop an Instagram Stories strategy designed to drive followers to a branded website. Unlike traditional Instagram content, where linking to a webpage is difficult, Instagram Stories allows viewers to swipe up to be taken to a linked web page.
Take the Sonos Instagram Stories ad above as an example. Sonos ran an ad designed to drive viewers to an informational web page about their new smart speaker.
3. INCREASED INVESTMENT IN INSTAGRAM ADS.
Last year, brands spent 65 percent more on social media ads than they did the year before. Next year, it is likely that brands will invest even more in social media ads, with Instagram leading the way. In fact, analysts expect that roughly $7 billion will be spent on Instagram advertising in 2018, a 32 percent increase compared to 2017.
4. MICRO-INFLUENCERS GO MAINSTREAM.
Marketers already believe that influencer marketing is effective. In fact, one study found that over 90 percent of marketers who run influencer-marketing programs think it works. Next year, brands will continue to invest in mainstream influencers. But startups and small businesses will join the game by working with cost-effective micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers have a small but dedicated following. As a result, they are often less expensive but can be just as effective as social media celebrities.
5. MARKETERS BEGIN EXPERIMENTING WITH DIRECT MESSAGES.
It appears that direct messaging is going to be a focus for Instagram in the new year. Facebook has already created two messaging platforms with over one billion users each. Now Instagram’s parent company may want to create a third. If Instagram does roll out innovations that improve direct-messaging capabilities, look for brands to give direct-messaging campaigns a try.
6. INSTAGRAM LIVE VIDEO GOES MAINSTREAM.
Instagram continues to place emphasis on developing live video tools designed to further engage users. Recently, the social network announced that those streaming a live video could invite other Instagram users to join the stream and vice versa. It is likely that Instagram will roll out other live video innovations in 2018 as well.
Since Instagram is taking major steps to favor live video content on the explore page, and via follower notifications, it’s likely that more brands will begin taking advantage of this favorable treatment by developing live video campaigns in the new year.
7. B2B BRANDS BEGIN EMBRACING INSTAGRAM.
For the most part, Instagram is seen as an ideal platform for business-to-consumer brands like Nike, Apple and H&M. But in 2018, business-to-business brands will increase investment in Instagram thanks to new content formats and advertising options.
Brands like IBM and Adobe are already using Instagram to connect with prospective customers and showcase work culture in order to attract top talent. Thanks to advanced advertising options and a quickly growing user base, more B2B marketers will embrace Instagram in 2018.
8. INSTAGRAM GALLERIES BECOME UBIQUITOUS.
Instagram marketers have already started to embrace Galleries, which is a great way to communicate multiple messages in a single Instagram post. Next year, the use of Galleries will become ubiquitous as the quest for prolonged user engagement becomes ever more challenging.
9. SOUNDLESS VIDEO.
Not surprisingly, 85 percent of video played on social media platforms is played without sound. Rather than invest time in developing a compelling soundtrack to complement Instagram videos, influencers and brands will simply begin posting soundless video content.
Thanks to platform enhancements and a growing user base, Instagram is poised to become even more popular among social media marketers and influencers. In 2018, trends will be driven by new platform enhancements related to Instagram Stories, video and direct messages.
Marketers of all stripes, including B2B marketers, will invest in Instagram advertising and continue to embrace new content formats like Galleries, soundless video and Shopping posts.