Wondering what Instagram is going to look like next? Get a glimpse of what’s to come with these 2019 Instagram predictions from influencers, experts, and the strategists behind some of your favorite brands.
And if you want to take a look back, check out our 2018 Instagram Year in Review!
Ready to learn what the future has in store? Here are the top Instagram predictions for 2019, according to social media experts:
Instagram Predictions #1: Instagram Will Invest Heavily in IGTV in 2019
Launched as Instagram’s first standalone video platform, IGTV made big waves when it was first announced in June this year. Unfortunately, despite giving businesses an entirely new channel to show-off their creativity, user adoption of IGTV has been fairly sluggish so far.
But that could all change in 2019! Several experts predict that Instagram will invest heavily in IGTV next year, adding new features and functionalities to make it more popular.
After all…remember when Instagram Stories was kind of lame compared to Snapchat stories? It’s too early to count IGTV out!
“While user engagement with IGTV has been fairly disappointing so far, I expect Instagram to improve the functionality and visibility of IGTV content and put a lot more money behind getting brands to make use of the feature,” predicts Michael Edelmann, senior marketing manager at The Business of Fashion,
Elise Darma, digital nomad and Instagram expert (@elisedarma), echoes Edelmann’s point, commenting that “Instagram will take bigger moves towards IGTV becoming ‘the next YouTube’ by making the search bar on the Explore page optimized for keywords found in the titles and descriptions of IGTV videos.”
Darma also predicts that “new features will be introduced to make it easier to subscribe to someone’s IGTV channel so that creators ultimately think to post their freshest content on IGTV before YouTube.”
Matt Navarra, social and digital media consultant (@mattnavarra), agrees that Facebook must address the poor search functionality of IGTV content, adding that “limited monetization options for creators [on IGTV] versus other platforms” could also hinder the new platform’s growth in 2019.
Instagram Predictions #2: Instagram Analytics Will Become Even More Robust
Tracking and measuring your Instagram analytics has always been important. But as Instagram becomes more business-focused, the need for robust analytics around follower retention, sales, and more, has grown quite a bit.
We saw some of this in 2018 with Facebook beta testing Instagram analytics on their platform. But according to some of our experts, 2019 could be the year that Instagram really invests in analytics.
A screenshot from Facebook’s Instagram Account analytics beta
According to Marly Kos, business development and partnership manager at Casetify, “With Facebook’s continued investment in analytics, we’re expecting new insights and much more comprehensive data around how businesses, both big and small, can better understand how their Instagram content is impacting their overall marketing goals.”
Kos continues, “As a brand, we’re looking for insight into what is driving sales, how are we raising brand awareness, and what is increasing customer engagement. In particular, we anticipate more detailed engagement metrics for shopping posts, video content, Instagram Stories, and Instagram ads.”
Taylor Loren, head of marketing at Later (@taylor.loren) agrees that Instagram will likely develop more advanced analytics tools in 2019. And when that happens, businesses will have to get better at tracking and interpreting their analytics.
“As social media platforms have evolved to become full-on shopping and sales channels, brands are now going to have to report on their Instagram ROI. You’ll need to understand exactly how much traffic you’re driving from Instagram and how that’s translating into sales, so now is the time to brush up on your reporting skills!”
Looking to optimize your Instagram content and track your performance? Later’s robust Instagram Analytics offers valuable data about Instagram traffic and CTR performance.
Instagram Predictions #3: Instagram Stories Will Be More Interactive in 2019
By far, Instagram Stories saw the biggest number of new features in 2018, including new creative tools, fonts, stickers, and tools for businesses.
So what’s going to happen in 2019? Well, according to several experts, the big push next year will be making Instagram Stories even more interactive.
Jessica Guzik, head of social media at Oberlo, comments that with Facebook and YouTube rolling our their own versions of stories in 2018, in order for Instagram to stay competitive in the space, they will have to innovate by making Instagram Stories even more interactive.
“We hope Instagram will roll out new features that make stories more interactive, like multiple choice questions and the ability to comment on stories publicly.”
Loic Jeanjean, chief growth officer as Fastory.io, holds a similar point of view, noting that communication via stories will become even more critical in 2019. “When I talk to marketers, it’s clear that they love to engage their audience with immersive stories, however, they seem to struggle in finding ways to convert their fans/audience into prospects/buyers.”
Jeanjean continues, “With the launch of Facebook playable ads, a new engagement tool that could make its way to Instagram stories, brands could be presented with a tool to gamify their audiences’ experiences. It would be great to see other gamified experiences make their way to Instagram, such as sweepstakes or bots.”
Instagram Predictions #4: Authenticity Is More Important Than Ever
As more and more people use Instagram to search for businesses and products, it’s becoming incredibly important to optimize your profile for sales, followers, and awareness. And one of the best ways to do this by building a beautiful and cohesive Instagram aesthetic!
In 2018, businesses went all in on planning the look of their Instagram feeds. And while we don’t expect this to slow down in 2019, some Instagram experts believe that businesses will turn away from the “perfect” feeds of 2018 in lieu of something more authentic.
Sophie Gray**, social media influencer and founder of DiveThru (@sophiegray)**, comments “I think 2019 will take a step back from large perfectly curated feeds, and a step forward to the real-er side of social media. People are starting to see through the perfection found online, and are craving people they can connect with. I see 2019 as the year where people start (or continue) to share a real glimpse into their life.”
In particular, Gray believes that influencers need to step away from the curated Insta-perfection that has become so ingrained on social media. “As an influencer, don’t wait until everyone else does it. Do it because you recognize there’s a problem and you actually care. It will not only help your followers, it will also release the pressure on you.”
Erin Summer, art director and photographer (@erinsummer_) mirrors Gray’s sentiment. “In terms of aesthetics, I feel like the retro and vintage filters we have been seeing a lot at the tail end of this year will continue to be really popular. I think they are a refreshing alternative to the perfectly curated and edited looks we have grown accustomed too.
According to Christina Galbato, luxury lifestyle and travel blogger (@christinagalbato), this notion of being more authentic on Instagram (and social media in general) is more than just about image. It could be the difference maker in your success.
“With so, so many brands and influencers on the platform, it’s no longer about who can post the most beautiful photo. What will make you stand out among the saturation is your ability to be relatable and genuine with your audience. To be honest and vulnerable, and show up on Instagram Stories with the goal of fostering connections.”
Edelmann echoes this point, commenting “With ‘generation woke’ putting social and environmental issues at the forefront of their social media feeds, only those brands risking to engage in larger cultural discussions and willing to take a stand on controversial topics (think Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign or Gucci’s support of anti-gun violence) will be able to stand out on Instagram (and beyond).
Instagram Predictions #5: Influencer Marketing Will Become More Personalized
Influencer marketing keeps growing in popularity and it’s pretty easy to see why. Unlike traditional advertising, influencer marketing can help introduce your business to new audiences via a more trustworthy source, your influencer partner!
But according to some Instagram experts, in 2019, it won’t be enough to partner with big influencers with large followings. In fact, according to Nathan Chan, publisher of Foundr Magazine**, micro-influencers will rule in 2019 as “mainstream influencers are becoming less and less effective.”**
In order to create a more authentic promotional experience, businesses (and influencers) need to become more scientific and treat each channel as a separate entity with different goals.
Shane McCloskey, director of partnerships and sales at Influence.co, comments “In 2019, influencers will move from replicating content on multiple social platforms to viewing each platform as a unique part of their funnel for audience acquisition and retention.”
McCloskey continues that with more brands looking for original and authentic ways of reaching consumers, “Influencers who adapt and share unique messages across their different social platforms will have the most success with growing their audiences and securing brand promotions moving forward.”
Matt Crump, art director and photographer (@mattcrump), adds that Instagram will also likely get better at penalizing influencers who buy likes and followers to boost their attractiveness.
“In late 2018, Instagram took its first steps to prevent users from engaging in fraudulent behavior, notifying them with an in-app warning to cut it out,” Crump says. “According to Instagram, accounts that ‘continue to use third-party apps to grow their audience may see their Instagram experience impacted.’ That could mean anything from curbing your engagement to deactivating your account. So, you’ve been warned: if you buy likes and follows, you’re gonna have a bad time.”
Dive even deeper into Instagram influencer marketing with our free guide:
Instagram Predictions #6: Instagram Will Add New Tools to Improve User-to-User Communication
Instagram added a ton of functionalities to Instagram Direct in 2018, including new ways to share, communicate with other users. And according to one expert, it’s likely that Instagram will double-down on Instagram Direct in 2019.
Matt Navarra comments, “The decrease in social sharing on major platforms, combined with the increasing preference for private sharing will continue. To address this, we will see a wider set of tools and functionality added to messaging apps to give users more creative options when communicating in chat groups or sharing content with friends directly.”
Navarra also notes that security will be a big focus for Instagram next year. “With the spotlight on online privacy and security casting a bad light on Facebook and others in 2018, end-to-end encryption for messaging is likely to be made more accessible in popular social apps where it currently does not exist already or is not switched on by default.”
2018 was a huge year for Instagram. With so many new features, tools, and more, we’re so excited to see what else is in store for the social media giant!
Have any Instagram predictions of your own this year? Let us know in the comments!
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