Sold to Facebook in 2012 for 1$ billion, Instagram was a huge hit and the most popular platform for a while. After it launched back in 2010, it gained one million users in only two months and, in June 2018, it hit a huge number of 1 billion monthly active users.
This video and image sharing social media platform is the 4th most downloaded mobile app of the decade and is also responsible for the rise of influencers.
While all of these stats are pretty impressive, the truth is that Instagram’s reach has actually been on a decline in 2019. Be it because of TikTok or people just getting tired of influencer marketing and ads, it is undeniable that this platform isn’t as popular as it used to be.
In 2019, Trust Insights conducted a study where they analyzed 1.4 million Instagram posts from 3.600 brand profiles. The results showed that in April, Instagram user engagement was 1.54%, and only three months later, it was 0.9%.
While it is true that TikTok stole all the thunder when it became available outside of China, there are other things that can be blamed for the decline of Instagram reach.
Digital marketers think that the reason for this decrease are ads and that they’re driving people away. Influencers have also experienced reduced reach, the stats showed, where fashion influencer’s engagement rate went from 4.3% (February) to 2.4% (June).
Another reason could be Instagram’s change of the way feed worked in 2016. With the aim to improve user experience, they came up with a new algorithm that showed relevant content on the user’s feed. What used to be a chronological feed became a series of posts the algorithm thought was relevant to the user and that the user would like.
Naturally, this resulted in a drop in engagement that brands and businesses noticed. Which makes sense, because organic posts were no longer guaranteed to be seen by people.
It’s no secret that Instagram is killing organic reach. The same thing that happened to Facebook is now happening to Instagram. The organic reach on Facebook went from 16% in 2012 to 2.27% in 2015, and it’s only dropping.
If you wonder why this is, the answer is simple: both Facebook and Instagram want you not to be able to reach and build an audience organically. Instead, they want you to pay them in order to achieve this. So, they’re killing organic reach and forcing you to pay for their advertizing services if you want to build an audience and following on their platforms.
Remember how I mentioned that they changed the way the Instagram feed worked, making it no longer chronological? This was a smart move on their part, and they decreased the organic reach immediately.
We already mentioned that Instagram shows you the content it thinks you will like. The algorithm, in a way, takes notes on the content that you interact with and tries to show you what it thinks is most relevant to you.
The most relevant posts get displayed on top, while the less relevant ones are placed further down.
In 2018, Instagram revealed what information the algorithm uses to form a user’s feed. Naturally, if you interact with a certain user a lot, the algorithm will display their content. When they were changing the feed, they said that they care about showing you memorable moments and personal content, so the Instagram algorithm will try to learn who your friends and family are, which it does by analyzing what you like and comment on. Additionally, it will display content similar to the content you interact with a lot.
While the chronological feed is no more, the Instagram algorithm still pays attention to which post is older and which is newer, and puts the more recent ones closer to the top of the feed.
If you run an Instagram page for a business, the fact that Instagram reach is on a decline isn’t the best news of 2019, but there’s still hope. Here are some Instagram trends of 2020 that will help you get more engagement and reach despite the algorithm.
Instagram 2020 trends
Facebook and Instagram are slowly removing likes in order to improve the mental health of their users. It’s no secret that people have started measuring their worth in likes for a while now, and these social media platforms want to change that.
By hiding likes, they’re stopping the unhealthy habit of checking on other people’s likes and obsessing over them. Also, they’re improving the overall quality of content.
If you wonder how, here’s the answer.
People often scroll their feeds and don’t even think about or look at the content they’re liking. They often see that some of their friends liked a post so they like them automatically. By hiding likes, Instagram is telling people to actually look at the content they’re liking. Consequently, this will lead to people making better content, so 2020 will be all about quality posts.
Shoppable posts are posts that people can click that will take them directly to the purchase page. If you make a post about one of your products, no matter if you’re promoting it or telling people it’s back in stock, it will be of huge help to your followers to make the post a shoppable post. Pair up shoppable posts with professionally taken photos and you’ll create not only useful but also beautiful posts.
Match quality posts with one another and you will get a coherent feed, which was a huge trend of 2019 and will continue to be in 2020.
A coherent feed consists of photos and videos that all share the same theme or color scheme. The reason for this trend is that it’s very aesthetically pleasing. Looking at unified elements has always been pleasing to the eye, and Instagram profiles are no exception.
People are getting tired of blatant and shallow ads being shoved down their throats by influencers. What they want is more genuine content and ads that at least have a story or something personal to them, so they don’t seem as fake.
This is where micro-influencers come in.
It is often the case that micro-influencers create more genuine content than people with thousands and millions of followers. There’s a few possible reasons for this: they either have more time or they care more about the content they post. Most often, it’s both. Micro-influencers haven’t reached thousands of hundreds of followers yet, so they’re less famous and not going to every event in the world, which leaves them with more free time to create better and more relatable content.
This trend started in the second half of 2019 and is one of the most prominent ones. You’ve probably noticed the lack of animal ears and the surfacing of more natural-looking photos.
This is because heavy filters were left behind and softer-looking photos are becoming more popular. People are getting tired of overedited selfies where people don’t even look like themselves anymore, hence this trend. Softer filters and fully unedited photos are taking over.
Instagram is the place where people go to promote their businesses and the best way is through interacting with their followers and clients.
By leaving comments on other business’s profiles and replying to people on your own, you get the opportunity to build a relationship with your followers. You get to do the same via user-generated content. Use a photo of one of your clients that features your product, tag them, and thank them for choosing your business.
This trend appeared in 2018 and by the looks of it, it’s here to stay.
People started putting doodles and outlines on their photos, giving them an artsy appearance and showing off their creativity. There are dozens of tutorials on YouTube that can teach anyone how to add this cute trend to their photos.
Just because Instagram reach has been on a decline doesn’t mean this platform is unusable. It’s still pretty popular and business are using it more than ever, both for organic and paid engagement.
They’re paying for ads, working with influencers, and maybe most importantly, they’re creating quality content.
Hopefully, this article has helped you learn something about the upcoming Instagram trends so you can prepare your profile for the new year!