If there’s one lesson marketers learned the hard way, it has to be this: social media platforms are constantly changing. Today’s effective strategies are bound to become redundant in the near future. This is why it is vital for marketing teams to stay ahead of Instagram predictions. Never settle, always seek to adapt!
Not only the growing popularity puts Instagram in a good light, but the numbers as well are painting a great ascension. eMarketer predicts that in 2022, the monthly Instagram users will increase from 804,4 million to 877,5 million.
From a business perspective, Instagram communities are a gold mine. Never before had brands been able to connect with their target public at a visionary level until now. And this visual brand-consumer relationship continues to evolve. According to the below report, Instagram is the only networking app with at least 2 years of steady growth ahead.
Instagram has introduced businesses to an exciting range of advertising channels: Short-term Stories, Swipe Up feature, non-intrusive ad placements, and a whole new type of mobile video – IGTV. Let’s see what else is in store for Instagram marketers in 2022!
Instagram Prediction #1: Improved Analytic Tools
Present circumstances: Instagram has already rolled out a slew of data reports. All of them are located inside the new Insights feature. That’s a good start for both content creators that pursue community growth and brands that work with ads. However, there’s a lot of room for improvement here since these Insights are barely scratching the surface.
No matter how many visually-appealing updates Instagram launches, the segment of accounts that actually generate income, businesses, are still interested in the activity tracking. Consequently, Instagram needs to work on its in-house business infrastructure before setting in motion a more robust expansion plan.
Future projections: Instagram predictions for 2022 include a focus on growing tools. Picture longer periods for data collection (at the moment, Insights offers only 7 days of analytics), data history, result interpretations, hashtag tracking, best-performing posts, etc.
On the other hand, where Instagram failed to deliver in terms of analytics, other platforms managed to fill this void. For instance, ProductLead Analytics is already sending monthly reports on in-depth insights, competitor tracking, user-generated content, brand ambassador discovery, etc. The question is: are you fine with waiting a year to gain access to a new generation of data?
Instagram Prediction #2: Full Shopping Experience
From the beginning, Instagram made it hard for users to leave its grounds. There was only one line of communication with the outside: a link in bio. Founders saw in this social media channel a standalone world where users dive into the visual sense of artists, celebrities, businesses, creators, and publishers for hours.
Fast-forward to today’s version, Instagram shows no signs of changing its nature. The team behind it still intends to preserve its independence. Therefore, 2022 will see new measures of protection against exiting Instagram too soon.
One of the future retention strategies is a new shopping experience that unfolds 100% on Instagram. In other words, the photo-sharing app intends to evolve into an e-commerce portal much like Amazon or Shopify.
The Instagram Shopping flow right now
- Take a shoppable post;
- Click on its product tag;
- This opens a product page inside the Instagram app;
- You can view images, read descriptions, and browse similar products;
- To start the purchasing process, you have to click on the “View on Website” button. This will take you to a third-party check-out page.
After taking all these steps, users have to go through a foreign shopping experience, which is unique to each brand. In the end, the shopping journey on Instagram right now is time-consuming, relies on at least 2 distinct platforms, and is paved with unknown details.
The Instagram Shopping flow of the future
- Open a shoppable post;
- Click on its product pin;
- This leads to a product page inside the Instagram app;
- You can view images, read descriptions, and browse similar products;
- Click on “Shop Now” “Add to Cart” “Check out now.”
One sleek shopping experience on one platform only. In the end, users won’t need to leave their favorite social channel anymore. That’s exactly what Instagram plans to do with its shopping experience.
There are so many options Instagram can experiment with to make users stay here longer. With the AI getting stronger, there will come a day when bots automatically tag products in any post guided by Visual Recognition. All this without human input. Imagine how fast communities will be able to adopt the same lifestyles that are making influencers so popular across the web. The implications regard an interconnected net where social media discovery warps to a shopping experience right away.
Instagram Prediction #3: IGTV Will Get Buffed
Present circumstances: IGTV is no longer news. However, it can be viewed as the first blueprint of a groundbreaking advertising channel for publishers. There’s a lot of potential here, despite the presence of some colossal players in the video-sharing industry.
Right from the start, Instagram used unique ingredients in shaping its own TV channel. First, there is the rise of vertical video format which is right on point for mobile screens. Secondly, Instagram nurtured a strong community of influencers ready to promote any IG features.
Lastly, IGTV came up with an innovative spark in the video world: lack of sophistication. Following in the footsteps of the Stories success recipe, this new video style asks for true-to-reality footage. This is a huge shift from the cold professionalism that YouTube viewers are expecting, but one that has already proved to entice creators and visitors of Instagram Stories.
Naturally, IGTV competes with the father of video content, YouTube. This behemoth had years at its disposal to perfect the world’s first video-sharing portal. Even though IGTV can’t win a one-on-one battle with YouTube, Instagram predictions are revealing victories in niche areas.
Future projections: Until then, Instagram has yet to level out the ground with small tweaks of great potential. First, IGTV is in dire need of a search functionality using keywords much like a Google search engine. At the moment, users can only find new IGTV content manually by visiting profiles or browsing the IGTV personalized suggestions from Explore Page.
Another quick fix that Instagram should implement in 2022 is an IGTV channel subscription. This will be particularly appealing to publishers. As long as they have an audience waiting for them to post, it will be worth creating content specifically for IGTV.
Instagram Prediction #4: Influencer Marketing Will Get Stronger
One of the strongest Instagram predictions for 2022 concerns the evolution of the creator-business partnership. Lately, advertising was in need of an innovative rebranding which is what Influencer marketing delivered.
Present circumstances: Banner blindness and ad clutter are two well-known agents that corroded traditional online marketing beyond repair. By contrast, the new direction the ad industry gained by recruiting influencers uses authenticity as its core.
Consumers now get to decide their next purchases based on product mentions across their own community, authentic reviews, visuals where products prove their functionality, and recommendations from trusted users (a.k.a. influencers). Simply put, there’s a clear shift in the way marketing works nowadays that is funded on credibility.
Future projections: There are 3 pictures of influencer marketing that will get bolder in the coming months. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
Instagram Prediction #5: Micro-Influencers Will Incite Marketers More Than Celebrities Do
Active content creators with less than 10,000 followers are starting to reveal their true value to advertising. Their community might be smaller, but it’s a lot denser. With the constant flow of inspirational posts and true-to-life Stories, influencers are keeping the interest of their followers alive.
While celebrities smile on TV and answer a few questions per show, micro-influencers are available for discussion 24/7. Users can ask questions for every vlog, blog, post, Story, and tweet they see coming from their favorite content creators. There’s a 99% chance that their curiosity will be satisfied as influencers receive notifications for each online attempt at a dialogue. Consequently, influencers are better at nurturing a connection with their fans than celebrities can.
On top of that, it’s easy to tailor content for a small group and get a higher satisfaction percentage. The engagement rate goes up when a high percentage of your community shares a handful of similar interests. By contrast, addressing 1 million people and hoping they all perceive the message the same way looks like a real challenge.
Instagram Prediction #6: UGC Will Replace Studio Photography
White backgrounds are a thing of the past. This widely spread photo technique creates a sharp contrast so the edges appear much clearer. However, industries no longer see innovation in shape but in functionality.
Smartphones look the same, but they accomplish so much more than a year ago. Cosmeticians didn’t invent new colors, but they enriched eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc. with waterproof properties among others. In other words, industries came to a point where they no longer change shapes, but they streamline and beautify habits through smart tweaks.
As such, studio photography with its high resolution is no longer providing relevant info to consumers. User-generated content does that by catching products right when they are helping owners lead a better life. This is why Instagram predictions are standing by UGC and its future photo supremacy: they demonstrate the real utility of a product.
Instagram Prediction #7: There Will Be A Greater Awareness of Fake Followers
The size of a community is one of the key factors that measure an influencer’s potential. Therefore, businesses take this number into consideration whenever they curate their portfolio of creative partners.
However, many users have fallen victim to the lure of fast community growth. Unfortunately, these practices triggered a rise in fake followers. Due to these synthetic communities, brands are losing money and interest in influencer marketing.
As such, all Instagram predictions point to a movement against false numbers. Industry agencies are preparing tools that audit audiences and evaluate the authenticity of an account. Instagram itself is working on measures against mischievous accounts that pretend to be something they are not. Next year, there will be clearer transparency regarding the practices that nominate account owners as genuine influencers or not.
Instagram Prediction #8: A New Marketing Hero Arises – Influencer Specialist
All around us, there are clear signs that influencer marketing thrives with Instagram thanks to its environment rich in inspirational visuals. As such, one of our Instagram predictions is that more and more businesses will start looking for influencer specialists.
Influencer managers will be responsible for the company’s relationships with content creators. They need to manage sponsored posts, master platforms that track social campaign results, host events for influencers, practice the latest social media trends, and more.
This means that this industry is about to get more competitive than ever. A designated professional who works ceaselessly at perfecting influencer campaigns will raise the stakes for others. Those brands that don’t plan on investing in this industry will be left behind.
Just keep an eye on influencer specialist job entries and witness the rise of a new career type in social media.
Instagram Prediction #9: Anyone Will Be Able to Create Their Own AR Filters
Facebook has already announced that it is getting ready to open its Spark AR Studio to all Instagram accounts. Such a move will create a huge impact on the entire community of users, creators, and businesses and leads our Instagram predictions to a whole new chapter.
Brace yourself for new waves of AR content. Users will suddenly be able to wear their favorite superhero masks, try on apparel from the comfort of their home, change their hairstyle, test new makeup colors, all these with their Instagram camera.
Any business will be able to extend its presence outside reality and digital and onward to Augmented Reality. New camera effects wearing your branded mark can create unforgettable moments, enriching brand awareness.
The buzz anyone will be able to generate with their own AR filters can also lead the way to a new method of getting real Instagram followers. When using a new AR filter, people can see who the creator is and access their profiles. If the effect is enticing enough, filter users can choose to follow the authors.
Instagram Prediction #10: Generation Z Joins the Community
Generation Z will start getting more vocal across social media, especially on visual platforms like Instagram. A new group of Instagram users entails a new set of preferences publishers have to cater to. What works with Babyboomers and Millennials will not tickle the fancy of youngsters and this is the weak link publishers have to consolidate in their chain.
Generation Z is starting to reveal glimpses into their character. According to McKinsey & Company and their research in partnership with Box1824, the new generation is concerned about the truth above all. They join and fight for causes and they want brands to gain their loyalty by adopting the same set of principles.
Since the platform is getting crowdier, business accounts will naturally report more impressions than ever before. However, if they neglect to build a connection with Gen Z, the engagement rate might plummet at a rapid pace. Instagram usually takes these sudden changes as signs that the content quality is deteriorated and stops displaying it on as many feeds as usual.
Consequently, businesses can lose their hard-worked means of contact with Babyboomers and Millennials in the future. Marketers can avoid this if they include Gen Z in their target audience.
Based on our 10 Instagram predictions for 2022, we can expect a visible metamorphosis. The platform is already seizing momentum and plans to mix social media with a new visual shopping experience, video content, marketing analytics, and a standalone advertising channel.
All in all, brands will gain access to new ways of connecting with their audiences. Want to discuss more about how ProductLead can help you make use of these trends? Book a free tour here.