Welcome to the third and final Instagram series blog post. If you’ve made it this far – THANK YOU. It has been an interesting exploration into the social media platform. At the end of Part 2, we discussed how product placement and influencers were changing the game for users and taking them on a journey a lifetime away from 2010 Instagram.
When I began researching for this blog post series, I was flooded with various articles titled ‘Why this kind of post won’t get you likes’, ’10 mistakes on Instagram that will make you lose followers’, ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of posting and liking’ and so on. Just reading the headlines felt pressurising, it is no wonder that social media is often considered the source of poor mental health in young people. The issues are stemmed from the platform yes, however having these articles available to people is perhaps the real culprit. What began as a creative, fun, free and easy way of sharing your experiences has also created a suffocating set of rules, requirements and order. Instagram is without a doubt an amazing platform for sharing and advertising but it is important to remind ourselves to use it healthily and constructively.
In June 2018, it hit 1 billion monthly users and this number is growing – there aren’t many signs of slowing down. So, let’s talk about where Instagram is heading. Influencers and businesses alike will no doubt continue to monetise it. Having said that, there’s no telling when the next big thing will come along that could cause Instagram to lose its impact. So while it’s working, users and those associated on the advertising side will continue to take full advantage of its power. This is particularly relevant to influencers, fame does not last forever, fashion and interests change. It makes sense for these users to capitalise on this now.
The increasing use of portrait video ads seem to be the thing everybody is talking about. “Social video generates 12x more shares than text and image content combined”. As a result, it is likely that we will begin to see much more ad placement on Instagram stories than feed. As mentioned in Part 1, stories require users to make the active choice of viewing its content, rather than mindlessly scrolling through the feed. It is far more effective in terms of engagement and conversion. Furthermore, we can expect to see more ad placement on IGTV – the effectiveness of IGTV is currently up for debate. After its launch, it was revealed that the app was not as successful as predicted. This being said, with the current growth on video ad placement, we may see a delayed growth in popularity for IGTV. Watch this space.
So, what has encouraged this growth around video and stories? Let’s talk about the Instagram algorithm. The platform introduces regular algorithm updates, which we are told will ‘improve our experiences’ by serving content that is more tailored to our interests. As if following various accounts in the first place didn’t highlight our interest enough… These updates arguably just muted certain accounts from our feed. As a result, influencers had to work harder in order for their followers to view their posts and get the all-important likes. When the update came along, it was safe to say that influencers kind of freaked out. To the point where they actually began to ask their followers to turn on the notification setting that informed users when a new post was up. Essentially, they began to ask for ‘likes’. This is where the problems regarding the organic nature of these users begin to appear as well as the beginning of the shift towards the use of stories and video. Instagram posts themselves are now so meticulously planned and this has led to many losing their organic feel. Consumers aren’t looking for ‘fake news’. They want to be convinced by the content they are viewing, and so they turn to Instagram stories. Where events are happening, in the moment and are real – this is what inspires users.
There you have it. A brief history and discussion of Instagram and how it has evolved, how it has affected people and businesses alike. Want to contribute to the discussion? Be sure to engage with us on social media. ?