Instagram remains one of the most widely used social media platforms, with more than one billion monthly active users. With no signs of Instagram’s popularity fading anytime soon, marketers are on the lookout for the latest Instagram trends and best practices to get the most from their social media marketing efforts in 2020 and beyond.
That means it’s time to brush up on your knowledge of the Instagram algorithm, evaluate your Instagram analytics to establish a baseline, and start crafting your plan of attack for the coming year as we get ready to head into 2020. To help you do that, we reached out to a panel of Instagram marketing experts and social media pros and asked them to answer this question:
“What are the most important Instagram trends to be aware of in 2020 & beyond?”
Meet Our Panel of Instagram Marketing Experts:
Read on to learn what our experts had to say about the biggest Instagram trends to watch for in 2020 and beyond.
Amber Faust is a photographer and family influencer. Amber shares adventures from her life with her husband and three kids on a sunny island in South Carolina. Her mommy blog tackles topics such as motherhood, family life, travel, food, and simple sustainable living.
“I’m seeing a definite increase of IGTV and videos in general. I’ve also started to see a trend of pretty photos on Instagram feeds, but fun, real-life videos on Instagram stories. @pipmegan is a good example. Her feed is full of fashionable cute posts, but her stories are always full of old t-shirts and jeans. I love it. Instagram moms like me do it, too – we are showing our mess. Instagram has always been a highlight reel of family life, but if you watch Instagram stories – our family is just as normal and messy as yours. It’s refreshing.
My most-watched Instagram story last week was of my laundry mountain. I think it’s more relatable than what I normally post. Fun graphics and overlays! There are so many fun apps now. Instagrammers are taking a hint from TikTok and not being so serious. Whimsical graphics and GIFs can show off your silly side. Speaking of TikTok, all of the Instagrammers are joining TikTok now and sharing the funny videos created in TikTok in their Instagram stories.
In terms of bio links, I’m finally starting to see people move away from the link trees and ‘link in bio’ landing pages to making a link page on their personal website. You are giving away your page views by doing this, and it’s hurting your SEO.”
Brynn is a content creator and social media strategist, with her primary platform being Instagram. She specializes in personal branding and fostering partnerships. Some of these partnerships have included Movado, L’Oréal, and Reebok. She also helps soon-to-be influencers and brands improve their social media presence.
“There are a few Instagram trends that I see becoming more and more important in 2020.
First off, the general population, especially Gen Z, is moving away from picture-perfect content and towards content that seems authentic and real. I’ve seen this both through an increase in content being created that shows behind the scenes, as well as captions and stories that share more personal, intimate moments and feelings. Many Instagrammers are putting their struggles at the forefront of their content, and they are being rewarded for it through loyal followers.
Another trend that complements authenticity nicely is the rise of video content. Stories especially continue to be an important tool to connect to followers and showcase relatable, day-in-the-life content. IGTV videos are also growing in popularity and being favored over static images.”
Calloway Cook is the Founder of an angel-backed dietary supplements company called Illuminate Labs.
“One of the most important Instagram trends that’s just starting to take hold is that influencers and brands are using Instagram stories to link directly to product pages and generate sales. In the past, brands had to have a link to their website in their bio and hope to attract sales through referrals there. Instagram was a great way to increase brand awareness but a poor way to generate sales. Now it’s both great for brand awareness and sales. Brands who will succeed will be the first to massively leverage this new technology. As always, first-movers will get the cheapest prices and highest ROI for their marketing efforts.”
Brian Reitz is the marketing manager and U.S. lead at InfluencerDB, where he helps advertisers understand best practices and navigate the evolving influencer marketing world. Brian’s key areas of influencer marketing expertise are identifying purchased/fake followings, campaign strategies, and optimizing discovery of quality influencers and KOLs.
“If Instagram doesn’t collapse itself by overmonetizing, which seems possible based on recent product decisions, Facebook’s systematic incentives, and a complete disregard for building trust among its users, influencer marketing will continue to thrive as an opt-in alternative to creepy targeted advertising. Regardless, transparency around actual influence and faux authenticity will likely dispel negative perceptions of the influencer world faster than people realize.”
Ashlee Campbell is the CEO of Summit Collaborations. After spending a number of years working with national brands in digital marketing and brand management, Ashlee decided to follow her passion and support business owners, like herself, in the pursuit of excellence along the lines of marketing, business support, and operations.
“I think everyone can agree Instagram stories will continue to be a major trend in 2020.
Instagram stories give you a way to promote products, services, user generated content, behind the scenes activities, etc. without messing up your beautiful grid and without it seeming like you post far too many posts. Plus, with the help of Instagram Story Highlights, you can save those posts past the 24-hour mark!
Don’t forget the fact that Story Highlights can act as showcase pages for different products/services, or completely different audiences you serve. It’s like having 5 (or more) Instagram pages in one.”
Nikki Bisel is the founder of Seafoam Media, one of the top digital marketing consultancies and agencies in the midwest. She has over two decades of experience in digital marketing and oversees a team that works with brands across the globe.
“There are three major trends I can see showing up in the near future for Instagram.
One trend to be aware of is that the number of likes on each post may not be visible in the future. This also goes for the number of followers. This could upset many influencers/celebrities with large followings and high engagement rates that use that information to earn brand promotion jobs.
Second, I think Instagram stories are going to become more interactive with polls, games, etc. Instagram’s internal data shows that 90 percent of the time, the polling sticker increases video views.
Third, I think shopping will be made easier. The platform loves ads but doesn’t want users to leave their site. Therefore, a simple solution is to make shopping on Instagram even simpler.”
Wesley Ward is the VP of Marketing & Merchandising at Hausera, a new kind of online kitchen & bath shopping experience designed to empower homeowners and design pros with a curated shopping experience.
“As we see social media taking over the way we communicate with each other and the ways we do business, there is so much more potential than we can see coming. For starters, with the recent removal of the Following tab, Instagram is making more privacy changes and could continue to do so in the future. It can become the primary source of news as some find it being today. Many individuals do not take the time to watch the news but can spend hours scrolling on Instagram. As we see the impact that engagement has today, we can only expect to see an increase on this, as well as an increase on the power of influencers. If you have not done so yet, make sure your business has a social media presence; otherwise, you could get left behind.”
Stacy Caprio writes on the blog Deals Scoop, an online discount marketplace.
“One Instagram trend to be aware of in 2020 is the move toward preset filter mixes.
This is especially important for brands or people who want to become Instagram influencers, since most pages that want to grow as a cohesive brand tend to have their own set of filter presets they use on every single image to make their page look put together.”
Adeel Shabir is the Content Marketing Executive at Indoor Champ.
“These are the most important Instagram trends to be aware of in 2020:
1. Augmented reality stories. As the competitor of Instagram (Snapchat) is growing augmented reality tools and filters, Instagram has introduced some of these filters which are a bit more energetic and target the young generation.
2. Influencer marketing. You don’t need to pay for marketing and target your niche through conventional marketing; you just need to find your specific influencer on that specific niche and make them market your product.
3. Stories Highlights. Instagram has introduced something really compelling for marketers, and that is Stories Highlights. You can save your stories and highlight the ones that have impacted a certain point, and your audience can see it again and again.
4. Cinemagraphs. Many influencers with photography and video editing skills are showcasing their amazing cinematography and photography work. Instagram has introduced new filters to make those images pop.”
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com.
“One interesting Instagram trend to be on the watch for in 2020 is definitely the continued usage of Instagram stories.
Over the last year, I have noticed that our company account gets significantly higher views for our stories than we do traditional posts. I think some of this may be attributed to the ease in which stories may be accessed (prominently displayed at the top of the page instead of scrolling through the feed) and that there are a wide variety of ways to make creating stories fun for a business while still providing valuable information. Watch out for more stories in 2020 – I think more businesses will actively use them and integrate the feature into their social media strategies.”
Polly Kay is a Senior Marketing Manager at English Blinds.
“Message pitching to enhance direct user engagement is perhaps the most marketing-relevant Instagram trend for 2020, as this provides a superior and highly diverse range of opportunities for businesses and brands to personalize their message and reach out directly to Instagram users.
Another trend to watch is the use of Instagram to share product information, as social users tend to look for product info and endorsements on the channels that they use to hang out and socialize with their peers on.
Finally, keep an eye on the growth of new features such as augmented reality, sound within stories, and interactive stickers; anything that engages users and encourages them to stay on the platform for longer and have a more interactive relationship with it has potential applications for marketers, too!”
Ben Packard is the CEO at Thrifty Points.
“Instagram has been a great tool for businesses in the last couple of years. I’ve seen a huge rise in the travel industry. People are really taking to it.
The big thing we’re going to see in 2020, and beyond, is going to be the continued dominance of stories. These have been embraced by using in huge numbers with over 500 million active users posting stories daily. Best of all, one out of three stories that users see are from businesses.
We’re also going to see the rise of the micro influencer. These are people with smaller group of followers (over 1,000 followers) who have extremely engaged followers. They’re great at cutting through the noise and have been gaining a lot of attention because of this. They have a more genuine, often more organic feeling to them because they’re dealing with a smaller group.”
Jitesh Keswani is the CEO of e-Intelligence.
“The new generation, Gen Z, is going to be the driving force of Instagram and the other trending social media platforms.
Millennials are developing tech that will benefit Gen Z and drastically improve their experience. With millennials incorporating AR and VR into the marketing scenario, shopping as well as browsing experiences are going to be enhanced. Gen Zers are using these platforms to not only buy products but to conduct research, as well. How well we’re able to combine AR and VR with the current hype will also depend on how much of a push Gen Z provides us with.”
Ashwin is the Co-Founder of PipeCandy, which offers algo-generated insights about eCommerce companies and D2C brands and is trusted by hedge funds, retailers, and marketers.
“Instagram is becoming more and more a brand discovery and commerce platform.
So, if you are a brand and serious about Instagram, its no longer about creating cute lookbooks for your products but enabling the shopper to make that purchase. The next big update you can expect from Instagram is their AR push. Shoppers are going to be able to try products right within Instagram.
In PipeCandy’s own analysis of top ‘direct to consumer’ brands and their sources of traffic, Instagram consistently tops the list in terms of the traffic to conversion ratio. Top brands convert at a rate as high as 20%. That’s one in five visitors from Instagram buying your product. Instagram’s influence on shopping is only going to get bigger, with Facebook’s push to merge all its messenger platforms into one. From virtual trials, to shoppable posts, to conversational commerce, and support, Instagram is becoming a truly powerful customer acquisition platform.
For influencers, though, it’s not all rosy. For them, Instagram has always been a ‘popularity to profit conversion machine.’ With Instagram testing out the idea of hiding the posts’ likes, it is very likely that several influencers will go out of business because they won’t be able to prove their engagement levels to brands. However, we think Instagram will find a way to have the cake and eat it, too. PipeCandy strongly believes that influencers will still get some ability to share engagement metrics with brands, while the UI may still not show those details. Brands might also get sophisticated search capabilities to find influencers based on engagement metrics (in the absence of a quick review of the likes from the app).”
“The festive season is all set to hit the roads, and of course, you don’t want to miss out on the hottest Instagram trends in 2020!
The biggest Instagram trends are infused with authentic content, influencers, visual effects, creativity, videos, stories, shopping, and much more, so what are you waiting for?
Let’s find out what this platform has to offer that enables users to create interactive and fresh content with its hottest trends.
Content Authenticity Is Leading
“We all know being authentic has really been an IN aspect, and this is once again trending in the year 2020 as well.
The unfiltered content that has the power to turn heads is letting a larger audience to come and stay hooked on your brand.
It goes without saying, but Instagram audiences value honesty and authenticity over any sort of glittery cover shoot, as the originality of your content builds a deeper and trusting connection.
IGTV Will Take The Lead
With the update on IGTV letting support take place on both vertical and horizontal video, many brands and influencers are now roping in to try and take the advantage of the new format and promote their brand on Instagram through long-form content.
Mesmerizing Animations On Instagram Stories
The integration of animation in Instagram stories is really helping Instagram users create engagement with other users through engaging stories. Viewers cannot pass through without checking your stories.
There are many free apps like Mojo, Life Lapse, and Over to help you get started with high-quality, animated Instagram stories in just a fraction of a minute.
AR Effects On Instagram Stories
Customized AR effects through Spark AR Studio are really creating a stir once again, and are going to be trending for the upcoming season, as well.
The best part of this trend is that you don’t require a high-end camera crew or design team to create animated Instagram stories. Some of the engaging apps are already there, which help you add the magic of animation to stories with just a few taps.
Shoppable’ Posts On Instagram
Instagram today is a full-fledged e-commerce platform, and the credit goes to Instagram’s shoppable posts, which are officially available on the global forefront in 46 different countries.
This trend has helped many bigger and promising brands shop products they want to buy, right from the app. Also, the newly integrated ‘Shopping’ channel on the Explore page of Instagram allows users to search product-related posts from followed and recommended brands to create that extra connection with users in no time.
This is a quick look at Instagram trends that are already creating a stir in the market and will take over the game completely in the year 2020. For now, just grab your mobile device and start experimenting with these trends to add an aesthetic appeal to your casual Instagram feeds.”
Kara Barnes is the Co-Founder at The Monkey Creative.
“We think the most important Instagram trends to be aware of in 2020 and beyond will revolve around IG stories and IGTV.
IG stories have become very popular and have all but taken over the platform. But, they disappear after 24 hours, and that could mean that chunks of a story are being missed by your audience. IGTV came along and offers creators the opportunity to produce long-form content for better and more engaging storytelling.
IGTV and IG stories end up being a great compliment to each other in that it’s really easy to use Polls and Questions in IG stories to workshop material for IGTV content. This gives content consumers the chance to take part in the creation process and allows the content creator to create with intention for the audience.”
Morgan is a Marketing & Brand Coordinator for thumbprint – a print and marketing logistics company.
“The best way to promote content on Instagram is through interactive content.
Thus, Augmented Reality is an important trend to be aware of for 2020 & beyond. AR is just get started, and with the use of AR on Instagram stories, brands are able to spread awareness by sharing custom filters. Make use of custom AR filters on Instagram to promote your brand and gain more followers.
Take advantage of Instagram’s new shopping feature. Allow your visitors to shop directly from your Instagram posts – transforming them into followers and eventually loyal customers. This trend is going to evolve more in 2020 & beyond as Gen Z and millennials want to shop with ease and convenience.”
Liam Coultman is the Content & Social Media Manager of Things to do in London. His primary responsibilities include maintaining the highest standards of content quality and efficient implementation of projects throughout the website and social media channels.
“Over the last few years, Instagram has created more new features than any other social media platform.
IG wants you to use ALL of these features to show that you are engaging with your audience on various levels.
The key features you must be using are Instagram stories/IG live and Instagram TV (IGTV). Stories allows you to keep your followers up to date in real time and has a ton of user engagement tools such as questions, polls, and quizzes. IG has no plans to slow down, and the ways in which users can engage with stories will only increase. As for IGTV, this is Instagram’s YouTube-style feature that allows users to post long-form content. That’s 10-minute-long videos for normal users and 1-hour videos for verified users and those with a large following. IG realizes that people enjoy and consume longer content. It has a long way to go, but I think IGTV is currently the only platform that could challenge YouTube for video content, and it will only get better with time. Early adopters are already seeing the benefits. Don’t sleep on it!
It’s fair to say that a lot of the content on Instagram has become stale. Users are posting for vanity metrics rather than to tell their story. Posting a mirror selfie or a vacation pic on a beach in Bali just isn’t going to cut it anymore. IG wants users to be more creative. This is why they trialed removing the likes feature in certain countries as well as limiting your reach in your followers feed.
However, if engagement in your content is high, users are more likely to see future posts in their feed. Get more creative and think of new ways to get users to engage with your content.
- Write longer, thought provoking captions.
- Use a call to action to increase engagement.
- Ask questions in your captions to encourage comments.
- Link IG tools (e.g., create a story telling users to see/engage with your latest post, tell users in the caption when you’ll be doing your next IG live, etc.).
- Maximize post visibility by tagging locations and relevant users and using hashtags with search volume between 5,000 – 50,000.
- If you’re a business, ask users to share your content to be entered into a competition, be featured, get a discount, etc.”
Rachel Davidson is an owner at WatchdogPestControl.com. She resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and five furry friends. She has maneuvered through several startup businesses and enjoys mentoring others on how to be get an idea into a reality.
“I’ve been thinking of starting Instagram account for my business when 2020 comes in, so I’ve been keeping tabs on future trends on the platform, and here’s what I gathered so far about it.
No More Like Counter
Instagram might completely remove the public like counter that we all see in all of our Instagram posts. Instagram claims that this move is to take care of its users’ mental health by preventing further quantifying their popularity online, which has ultimately resulted in the low self-esteem of those who’re receiving less attention on the platform. Despite the platform’s intention, the public like ban will be a huge blow to influencers, as they depend on likes and follower engagement to earn money. Influencers will have to come up with another way or platform to retain their sponsorships and followers.
Right now, Instagram has a checkout feature that allows users to shift to a merchant account. It’s become an effective way for small retail businesses to connect with customers and get them to actually purchase their products, all in one platform. In the year 2020, you can expect a rise in numbers of these merchant accounts, as well as their products filling up most of your
John Frigo is a Digital Marketing Lead at MySupplementStore.Com.
“The biggest change to Instagram in 2020 and beyond is going to have to do with Influencer marketing.
Pretty much anyone with a decent following participates in it. The influencer marketing space has changed a lot since 2015 to today. It’s not as easy as just paying someone to post your product and watching the money roll in. Many Instagram users and consumers are now savvy to the fact that the influencers they like don’t actually use or believe in the products they are pitching; they are just being paid to promote them. Because of that, I think we’re going to see influencer marketing turn from paying for influence, i.e., thinking that person is going to sway people, to a model of more just paying for ad space.
As a brand or store or agency, I don’t expect people to be swayed by the influencer, but I know they have XYZ following and I want to get my product or message in front of those people. Also, year over year we’ve seen the amount spent on influencer marketing growing despite it performing worse both in terms of ROI as well as engagement on sponsored posts. Eventually, things are going to come to a head where companies realize they need to turn a profit to make it worthwhile to use influencers.
Lastly, I think we’re seeing a shift from people wanting to use large influencers to using micro influencers, i.e., under 50k or even under 10k or 5k followers. Their engagement is higher, the campaigns are more authentic, and they perform better. I also think many companies are going to begin to use their own customers over influencers and use more UGC or user generated content.”
Alicia is the founder of The Spark Social. She has 12 years of media experience. She started her agency in 2014 to help businesses and brands navigate the ever-changing social media landscape. The Spark Social helps local businesses and brands thrive with creative social media strategy.
“In 2020 and beyond, we will see a shift towards on Instagram towards:
- More authentic and organic marketing / less filters and edited photos
- Attraction to brands on IG that are socially involved or give back to the community
- More hyper local influencers for marketing
- Less use of ‘Likes’ on grid posts and more about sharing and watching stories
The trends are determined by the users. We will see shifts in the way Instagram is used as a marketing tool, due to what the users want and like.
Younger generations and the main group of Instagram users in 2020 and beyond will be less inclined to click on an ad with professional photography and persuasive ad copy. They are going to gravitate towards brands that are authentic and use Instagram to communicate their message on how their brand is socially involved or making a difference in the community. Professional photo and video are still important, but brands and businesses will have the chance in 2020 and beyond to market themselves organically and with unedited photography or video. After years of filters, younger users are looking for more authentic, unedited images.
I also feel that while larger national influencers will still be on Instagram, users will start to build mini fandoms around hyper local influencers. These influencers will vary from foodies, to moms, to fitness, but mostly the users will have smaller counts of followers and be more involved on a local level, featuring local restaurants, yoga studios, etc.
Users on Instagram are spending less time in the grid. They are using stories to follow their favorite Instagram profiles and brands. There is already discussion that ‘likes’ on IG photos will be going to the wayside in 2020, and this means that users will use the stories even more to connect and communicate. Algorithms will be based off content in stories, reactions, and engagements in the stories. We are already seeing this with several of the local business accounts we manage.”
Liz Jeneault is the vice president of marketing for the popular product review website Faveable and is also a fitness influencer.
“Video posts continue to be popular on Instagram, and you’ll likely see even more of them on your feed in 2020 and beyond. Because engagement is so important on Instagram right now due to the new algorithm, having more videos can be helpful as they are quite captivating and often lead to more engagement. Vlog style videos are particularly on-trend. IGTV is a popular platform to post those videos to. Such videos can help your followers feel like they’re getting to know the real you better, which can result in more engagement and improved performance for your posts. Many celebrities have even gotten quite involved with the video trends on Instagram themselves. They’ve embraced fun video editing apps that fans also have, like InShot and Triller. They’ll post their own mini music videos to Instagram, just like fans do. It seems video is all over Instagram right now, and all signs point to it continuing to expand on the app.”
Nathan Finch is a tech writer and digital marketing strategist who loves the ins and outs of social media.
“Augmented reality story filters: The best way to promote content on Instagram in 2020 is via interactive content. Did you know that the photo-sharing site has now designed a closed beta program to let third parties develop their individual augmented reality (AR) for the stories on Instagram? Your Instagram followers can spread your brand awareness with the use and sharing of your brand’s custom filters.
Audio on Instagram stories: Although it is relevant even today to design for soundless settings, a new Facebook and Instagram study shows that visitors love music and voiceover. Studies proved that 80 percent of Instagram stories that have a voiceover or music perform much better than ads without any sound.
Direct shopping on the platform: In 2020, your visitors can shop right away from Instagram that will eventually transform them into your followers and loyal customers. In such a situation, they will more likely to purchase from your brand. This trend will evolve more in 2020 and in the future. When it comes to Gen Z or the millennials, they want to shop with ease and convenience. Instagram does just that for its consumers. The educated and employed generation of today wants to shop from the platforms they frequently use.”
Barbara is the Digital Strategist at the international creative agency Reicura, where she heads the digital and social team at the Toronto office. Her expertise is in combining media and copy to spark engagement with a desired target market, and using these social content pieces to encourage an action on the part of the viewer.
“Two important Instagram trends for next year are the creation and custom use of AR (augmented reality) for Instagram stories, and a deeper focus on marketing with micro-influencers.
Instagram first designed a closed beta program to let third parties develop their individual AR for stories; however, now anyone can develop their own AR with the help of Facebook’s ‘Spark AR’ tool. Story filters are loved especially by millennials, and with enough creativity, brands are be able to use AR to create custom filters that connect with this demographic to market a product or raise brand awareness in a fun way.
Micro-influencers with 10,000 or fewer followers typically have higher engagement, which is a more important factor for brands to look at as opposed to the number of followers an influencer has. Followers are more trusting of influencers who are authentic and have an organic approach to promotion. Micro-influencers are able to engage with their audience more, which makes them seen as a ‘friend’ to their followers, rather than a celebrity. So, next time you are working on a marketing strategy for your brand, don’t forget to collaborate with micro influencers that fit within your category!”
Lisa graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law before moving on to Wall Street, where she lived an incredibly successful-on-paper life that made her miserable. Twelve years and 50,000 hours of work later, she formulated an escape plan and began to reconnect with herself. These days, she lives a very real life with her family just behind Cinderella Castle and chronicles her journey on her blog, TheCastleRun.com – where she hopes you, too, will be inspired to define your own joy.
“Certain trends on Instagram are undeniable. As the number of content creators on the platform continues to grow, the quality of the images and their captions rises with the tide. Captions are more often than not practically mini blog posts. And the rise of the Instagram story is undeniable. But beyond all of this – beyond the practically professional pictures and the long, well thought out captions – beyond even the power of the story – is, I’m happy to say, the rise of authenticity. The pictures might be perfect – but to connect with an audience in a meaningful way on Instagram, the content creator must be real and honest with her (or his) audience. Whether we are striving to draw people to our content, share our products or services, or function successfully as an influencer, success is going to require a willingness to be vulnerable and honest and imperfect in front of our followers. And for good reason. Social media audiences are becoming more and more savvy and their trust needs to be earned. If we cannot be honest with them about our own lives and struggles, we cannot expect their loyalty.”
Obviously, staying on top of (and leveraging) the latest Instagram trends is important for growing your following – but it’s not the only way to get more Instagram followers. Install the Instagram follow button on your blog or website today to start growing your following effortlessly. It takes just minutes to install, and it’s totally free to use!
Beyond all of that, if you’re looking for even more ideas on how to grow your Instagram following, we’ve also created a series of free Instagram resources, including: our guide to the character limit on Instagram, our guide on how to share a post on Instagram, and our guide to creating a great profile picture on Instagram.
Or check out our Instagram guides on a variety of topics, including giveaway posts on Instagram.