Wondering what will be trending on Instagram in 2018?
This year is shaping up to be both the year of creating more content, thanks to Instagram Stories, but it will also be the year of optimizing your content performance and looking to paid advertising to increase your reach on Instagram.
To sum it up, 2018 will be the year that Instagram marketing gets a lot more sophisticated, from new analytics tools to new Instagram features.
And if you’re still managing your Instagram manually, 2018 is definitely the year you’ll need to find an Instagram marketing platform to help you with analytics, planning posts, and managing your UGC!
Here are the top 7 Instagram marketing trends for 2018:
Instagram Marketing Trends #1: Boosting Instagram Posts Will Become Normal for Everyone in 2018
When Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, everyone’s greatest fear was that Instagram would become a pay-to-play platform like Facebook.
Nearly 6 years later, we’re finally starting to see that dreaded decrease in organic reach.
Thankfully, Instagram Stories saved the day by giving brands a new, effective, and free way to connect with their followers. And they even let brands add clickable links to their content too. 😉
But if you want to maintain high engagement and reach on Instagram in 2018, you’ll need to get friendly with Instagram advertising.
While regular Instagram ads have been around for a while, they do require a small level of expertise to get started. Running your own Instagram ad campaign isn’t that difficult, but it can be intimidating to many small business owners and influencers who haven’t done it before.
Not sure where to start? Check out our Step-by-Step Guide to Running Instagram Ads.
The good news is that now you can simply “boost” regular Instagram posts to your followers (and people similar to them) without having to set up specific Instagram ads and targeting.
Promoting Instagram posts is similar to boosting Facebook posts, you just create a regular Instagram post, and then once it’s posted you can choose to promote it to get more likes, impressions, and “profile visits.”
Your Instagram post then appears in the feed like normal, the only difference being the “sponsored” notation at the top and the call-to-action button:
In 2018, it’s completely normal for brands to have very low organic reach on Facebook, with most brands and small businesses relying on Facebook ads to get their content seen.
Organic reach on Instagram won’t disappear in 2018, but it will become a lot harder to achieve high engagement without any paid support or strategy.
In fact, many Instagram influencers are already starting to promote their own posts in an effort to maintain their engagement and stay relevant.
If you want to stay ahead of the trend this year, now is the time to really start learning paid advertising – If your not sure where to start, check out our Instagram Marketing Guide.
We’ll be bringing you more blog posts about how your organic + paid strategy can work together this year, so make sure you’re subscribed to our Instagram marketing newsletter!
#2: Instagram’s Shopping Feature Changes the Retail Game in 2018
In both 2016 and 2017 I predicted that clickable links would come to Instagram as a major marketing trend…and it still hasn’t happened!
Well, it kind of did in 2017.
Last year, Instagram graced us with the ability to add links to Instagram Stories, which is great news for retail brands and publishers. Suddenly, they were able to find creative ways to actually drive traffic on Instagram Stories!
In 2018, expect a new way for retailers to drive sales on Instagram, but it won’t be in the form of clickable URLs.
Instead, keep your eye out for Instagram and Shopify’s new shopping feature integration. You’ve probably already seen it on your feeds, and it will be released to Shopify’s wider user base in 2018:
So what does the feature do, exactly?
Instagram’s shopping feature let’s Shopify users tag their products in each photo, listing the item’s name and price right in the photo. Users can then click through to purchase the item right in Instagram, without having to leave the app.
According to Shopify and TechCrunch, “Instagram is already a ‘significant’ driver of Shopify merchant store traffic, so being able to convert said traffic right on the platform instead of round-tripping could result in a big boost of additional sales.”
If you’re not using Shopify already, this might be the feature that gets you to make the switch!
Not a retailer? If your goal is to drive traffic instead of sales on Instagram, you can start learning how to drive traffic with Instagram Stories here.
While shoppable Instagram feeds were hot in 2017, they will probably become less valuable in 2018 once Instagram’s shopping feature is released to everyone.
Instead, you can expect shoppable feeds like Linkin.bio to become more popular for publishers, bloggers, and anyone who is using Instagram to drive traffic to a specific web page.
#3: Your Instagram Profile Will Become Your New Home Page in 2018
In 2018, your Instagram feed will become just as important as the home page on your website.
Like we teach in our free Instagram course, How to Create Your Instagram Aesthetic, more and more people are starting to search for brands on Instagram first, instead of Google.
So, just like you spent time crafting the photos and copy on your website, the same intention needs to be applied to your Instagram feed.
Creating your own Instagram aesthetic and planning your feed so that it goes together as a whole is super important for growing your account, and it’s going to become an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy in 2018.
@artifactuprising’s instagram aesthetic
While it’s true that only a small percentage of your existing followers visit your Instagram profile after they follow you, having a consistent aesthetic will help people decide if they want to follow you in the first place.
Just take it from Kim Kardashian, who regularly uses the Instagram Archive feature to hide old posts and adjust the aesthetic of her feed:
Using a consistent color palette and editing style goes a long way in making your profile come together, and you can use a visual Instagram planner like Later to preview your feed and move around your posts to create the perfect, aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed.
Want to learn more about how to create your Instagram aesthetic? Watch our free Instagram training course!
Still not convinced that how your Instagram profile looks is a big deal?
With the release of Instagram Stories Highlights, Instagram has placed more importance on your actual Instagram profile and given brands a new way to get more followers, showcase their brand, drive traffic, and sell products.
For example, Glossier is always an early adopter of new Instagram features, and they already have multiple Instagram Stories Highlights on their business profile:
Glossier is using one of their Instagram Stories Highlights to feature a specific product, Cloud Paint, and at the end of the story, there is a call to action to swipe up, which leads you to the online shop to actually purchase the product!
With a robust Instagram profile, you can drive awareness and education about your business in a single profile visit. I would keep a close eye on your profile visits stats in 2018, you may find that your Instagram marketing is growing your business, even without new followers.
#4: Instagram Stories Ads Are Your Secret Weapon in 2018
There’s no denying that 2017 was the year of Instagram Stories. Instagram’s copycat version of Snapchat may not have as many features or filters, but in 2017 it quickly in rose popularity to over 300 million daily active users, double the size of Snapchat.
Using Instagram Stories for business is an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy for 2018, but the real trend for 2018 will be using stories to reach new audiences.
While Instagram advertising will continue to grow in 2018, the real winners will be the early adopters who find success on Instagram Stories.
The stories advertising platform is relatively new, just released in March 2017, which gives you a big opportunity to experiment and find out what works for your brand while advertising costs are still relatively cheap.
With so many people glued to their stories every day, we’ll all be seeing creative and conversion-friendly Instagram Stories ads in 2018.
#5: Instagram UGC + Digital Rights Management Will Be a Hot Topic in 2018
Instagram is all about the user-generated content right now, and with the rise in UGC comes an increased awareness about digital rights management for Instagram.
In 2018, your brand will need a social media policy and a process to ask permission and get approval from your customers to repost their user generated content.
Instagram has recently implemented Facebook’s Rights Manager program on Instagram, which allows publishers and creators to upload a library of their content to be monitored on Instagram. Publishers can then block their content if it’s being posted by an unapproved source, or monitor the video views.
In order to avoid a PR disaster in 2018, make sure that you are following the rules and asking for permission before you repost on Instagram.
A viral blog post on PetaPixel from 2017
Instagram is currently testing a regram button, which could help brands avoid sticky situations over photo permissions by ensuring that proper photo credit is given. But like Instagram’s paid partnership tool, it might not be enough to satisfy the law.
Considering this process is a pain to manage and keep track of, expect leading Instagram marketing platforms like Later to build new products to help you manage permissions for user-generated content and your digital rights management for Instagram.
Because we all know that user-generated content is not going away in 2018! 😉
#6: Thanks to Micro-Influencer Marketing, Your Friends Will Start Doing Instagram #Spon Too
Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity thanks to Instagram, but in 2018 you won’t need to have to have millions of followers (or dollars) to cash in on this trend.
Micro-influencer marketing is officially the next big thing, and brands are already finding success in working with Instagram accounts that have smaller, but more engaged followings.
So, what exactly is a micro-influencer?
It depends on who you ask, but generally a micro-influencer is someone who has significant, but not massive, social media following. This could range from anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000 followers.
While Instagram influencers have attained a sort of “celebrity status,” micro-influencers are more like everyday consumers, so they tend to be very relatable and trustworthy.
For example, my personal Instagram feed @taylor.loren has about 4500 followers, and some could consider me a “micro-influencer.”
When I recommend a product on my Instagram feed, it comes across like a trusted recommendation from a friend, instead of like an ad:
In 2018, you can expect your regular friends to start doing #spon on Instagram as brands double down on influencer marketing and expand to micro-influencers.
But it doesn’t all have to be #paid, as brands reach out to their loyal followers to surprise and delight “regular” people with free products, along with Instagram influencers.
If you’re a small business, working with micro-influencers could be an effective and affordable way to grow your business in 2018. You can learn more about if micro-influencer marketing is right for you here!
#7: To Keep Up with the Algorithm, Instagram Marketing Gets More Analytical
In order to be successful with Instagram marketing in 2018, you’ll need to really understand your audience and content performance.
Aka, it’s time to get up close and personal with your Instagram analytics this year.
With the ever-changing Instagram algorithm lowering reach and engagement across the board, brands and influencers will have to constantly be optimizing their content for the algorithm in order to get high impressions and engagement.
Not sure where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics.
Analytics tools that help your posts do better in the algorithm, like Later’s Best Time to Post feature, will become more important as brands and influencers try to hack the algorithm to their advantage.
The good news is that with the new Instagram Insights API, you can expect more robust Instagram Analytics tools to come in 2018, like Instagram Stories Analytics, and you won’t be limited to viewing your analytics in the mobile app.
2018 is shaping up to be a major year for Instagram, and especially Instagram Stories! We’re so excited to see what Instagram surprises the world with next, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on some big, new features we have coming soon.
Later is the #1 Instagram marketing platform that helps you plan, schedule, and optimize your Instagram posts.