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Snapchat may be monopolizing all the headlines these days, but marketing on Instagram continues to be one of the best ways for brands to reach millions of engaged users (over 300 million daily active users and over 500 million monthly active users) through branded content and creative influencer marketing campaigns. With 2016 now on the wane, we’ve collected the 10 top Instagram trends that marketers should know before heading into the fast-approaching Holiday season.
In March 2016, Instagram announced a new, revamped photo stream that would no longer display content in chronological order. Instead, the order of Instagram posts in one’s feed would be dictated by algorithms that track Instagrammers’ behavior and prioritize posts based on how users interact with other users and posts (Digiday).
For advertisers, this change signifies the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to content creation. Additionally, creating sponsored content with social media influencers is now crucial, as content created by high-reach Instagrammers is more likely to be prioritized (and thus seen) by Instagram users.
Related Post: What Instagram’s New Algorithm Means For Your Feed
With the video engagement rates escalating, Instagram recently extended its video length limit from 15 to 60 seconds and added view counts beneath each video. The change helps better accommodate ads on Instagram as brands now have a variety of strategic opportunities without such a short time limit for video content (Adweek). To see the best branded Instagram videos for 2016. Visit our post here to see the best branded Instagram videos for 2016 from GoPro, Ben & Jerry’s, and many more.
With the launch of Instagram Business Tools in 2016, the photo-sharing app continues to expand its advertising capabilities and marketing options for businesses. Brands can now create business-dedicated profiles (similar to Facebook “Pages”) that include features such as follower insight statistics and the ability to promote posts (Instagram).
In 2016, Instagram announced it would soon be accommodating video on its Carousel advertising feature (which allows multiple pieces of content to be viewed in a single post). The new innovation gives brands more flexibility for advertisements, as they can now integrate both videos and photos into a single branded post (AdAge).
Dynamic Ads, a Facebook staple, was added to Instagram this year to let advertisers market products to social media users based on each Instagrammer’s internet behavior. This marketing innovation promises to be a boon to both brands and consumers since Instagram users will only see advertisements that are relevant to their interests (Facebook).
In February 2016, 89.4 million Americans (34% of all mobile phone users) logged onto their Instagram account at least once. By 2017, analysts predict that over 50% of social network users will use Instagram, a trend which reinforces Instagram’s prevalence in social culture and the large audiences available to brands who develop and execute strategic Instagram marketing campaigns (eMarketer).
After analyzing nearly 900 companies, L2 found that the majority of brands in every marketing industry sector have adopted Instagram. 100% of auto brands use Instagram, for example, while fashion, beauty, and travel brands saw a 98%, 96%, and 95% adoption rate, respectively (eMarketer). Another study found that half of Fortune 500 brands are now on Instagram, up from just 24.6% in 2013 (Marketing Profs).
With consumer trust in paid advertising diminishing, micro-influencers (social media stars with less than 100K followers/subscribers) are emerging as ideal candidates for influencer-driven initiatives. With 82% of people likely to follow the recommendations of a micro-influencers, these digital personalities are becoming the most trustworthy source of information and advice for consumers and a valuable aspect of brands’ influencer marketing strategies (Marketing Dive).
As influencer marketing continues to be the best advertising strategy for reaching Millennials, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on unethical influencer marketing strategies. The notice fashion retailer Lord & Taylor received in 2015 for failing to disclose its sponsored Instagram campaign reflects an increase in FTC scrutiny when it comes to digital, influencer-created content; for brands, knowing how to create a brand-sponsored post can be the difference between a successful campaign and a hefty penalty.
Related Post: What Brands Need To Know About FTC Guidelines