How Has Instagram Changed in 2019?
Instagram has dominated the world of social media for the past three years.
While Instagram’s parent company, Facebook currently has more users, Instagram has proven itself as the most engaging platform when compared to Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat.
Recent research has shown that Instagram is consistently adding 300 million active users each month. Facebook, by comparison, is adding 228 million new users per month.
As well as this growth in users, advertisers on Instagram see four times as much engagement on Instagram compared to Facebook.
In 2019, the time spent on Instagram has increased from 23 minutes to 32 minutes a day for the average user. Facebook recently dropped in user engagement from 41 minutes to 38 minutes per day.
2019 has seen a lot of evolution of the Instagram platform. Changes that could potentially shift the way the entire platform works. Here are four significant trends we are noticing for Instagram in 2019.
1) Ecommerce Built-In
Instagram is a platform custom-built for lifestyle products. The inspirational and aspirational tone of the platform feels like a lifestyle magazine at times, and many brands have capitalized.
With the beta-testing of Checkout On Instagram still ongoing, it seems like Instagram could be the new way to discover products and impulse buy. Especially considering that 70% of Instagram users will look up a brand’s account if they are interested in them.
If you run a business or have products that you’d like to promote online, keep an eye out for the opportunities that begin to emerge in the coming year via Instagram for ecommerce.
2) Insta Stories Taking Over
Since launching in 2016, Instagram Stories have become a part of daily life. The desire to post on the Instagram feed has dropped while the desire to share moments and everyday life in stories has risen.
According to research from Instagram themselves:
47% find Instagram Stories helps them be more authentic in their communication with friends and family
• 44% are drawn to Instagram Stories because content disappears after 24 hours
• 39% have become more interested in a brand/product after seeing it on Instagram Stories
Why are stories gaining so much traction? Simply because they seem more honest, real-time and give a glimpse of the real person behind the Instagram account.
The research from Instagram shows that two significant factors are driving the interest in stories:
“The first is when they want to see what friends are doing at the moment, which indicates that stories function as a way to bring people closer together in real-time. The second is when they want to see unfiltered, authentic content—which could mean everyday moments or even “non-moments.”
For businesses, this is an excellent insight to remember. Try being more personal and giving people a real sense of the people behind your brand.
3) Taking Away the Likes
In a surprising twist, Instagram has begun trialing the idea of hiding the number of likes a post receives on the Instagram feed. Initially tested in Canada, this trial has now been rolled out to seven countries, including Australia, Italy, Ireland, and Japan.
A 2017 U.K. study, described Instagram as being the social media platform that was the most detrimental to young people’s mental health. The desire to garner as many likes as possible has become the focus for a lot of Instagram users. Especially those who are Influencers, a lower volume of likes can affect their brand perception.
Speaking to Time magazine, an Instagram representative explained the logic behind the trial.
“We want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
While this change may not affect brands per se, it does impact the cultural approach to Instagram. If users don’t worry as much about likes, they are more likely to post genuine content. This shift may cause the platform to transform into a more communal place similar to Facebook.
4) IGTV Evolves
When IGTV launched in 2017, the selling point was vertical video. Instagram deemed that vertical was the next evolution of how video content would be consumed on phones.
A bold statement that somewhat made sense in theory, in practice, it was difficult for creators to work around.
Video content shot on cameras with a normal horizontal aspect simply didn’t fit on IGYV. It was hard to watch and not entertaining. Although many users tried to workarounds, the reality was that vertical video didn’t take off.
In May 2019, Instagram finally relented by allowing horizontal videos to be uploaded onto the IGTV app. This update gave content creators much more freedom to create content and to share via the Instagram platform.
As well as this, IGTV now offers a preview via the Instagram feed. Which means that users who follow an account can see the video on the Instagram platform and also on the profile page.
For these reasons, there is more incentive for businesses to share video content via IGTV than ever before.
The Instagram platform still offers incredible levels of user engagement and interactivity. And now it also provides a valuable video sharing tool and ecommerce functionality. All these changes to Instagram in 2019 point to a very bright future ahead for the app and it’s users.