Remember when Instagram used to be the app we used to share our photos? It had lovely filters and was the easiest way to show off what we ate for dinner last night.

Scroll through your Insta feed and check out your earliest, most embarrassing images and then look at what you have posted in recent times. Do you notice a difference?

Instagram is no longer the photo sharing app that it used to be in 2010-2015. In the last few years, it has gone from a portal to share your photos (hidden from your family) to a place where you show off your skills, shop from your favourite stores, check out the latest memes and swoon over great content from your favourite brands.

And brands are all on-board and utilising these ever-changing features on Instagram to create content that hits their target audience right in the feels! Case in point, video streaming portal Netflix’s Instagram stories – be it their US handle (Netflix) or their India counterpart (Netflix India).

We feel that there are 5 aspects of Instagram that will take the social media universe by storm in 2019.

  1. IGTV : Vertical videos don’t work is such a 2017 thing to say! In 2018, IGTV revolutionized the way we view videos on our phone. Gone are the days where we head to Facebook to check out the full version of a video we saw on Instagram. Now we just need to tap the IGTV icon on top of our feed page to view a whole host of interesting content while staying on Instagram. IGTV makes sharing lengthy videos a breeze and the full-screen viewing makes watching videos on our screen an easy affair (that too, without having to tilt our screen!)
    Will this reduce the importance of YouTube for the viewers? While this is debatable, we feel that IGTV is still not an exclusively video streaming and sharing platform. Will that change in 2019? Will IGTV overthrow YouTube’s prominence? We’ll just have to wait to find out!
  2. Instagram Stories : Remember when Snapchat was the app that cool kids used, to talk about how their day was? Instagram Stories started off as its poor cousin in August, 2016. But now, we know what our neighbour’s sister’s dog ate and we give all credits to Instagram stories. While Facebook stories never took off, Instagram stories are trending with brands and individuals utilising it as their primary platform to engage with their audience.
    Instagram stories are easy to navigate through and are a great way to avoid boredom and hence, people are more often viewing your stories as opposed to scrolling through your feed. Moreover, Instagram’s algorithm changes has led to many brands not being shown on a follower’s feed. Stories, on the other hand, are not as AI-regulated and appear on an individual user’s feed irrespective of how often we view them. Interesting widgets such as the AMA widget, polls and emoji slider bars make it easier to engage the audience as well.
    Add to that the fact that you can curate your best stories with Instagram highlights on your profile which makes it easier for your brand’s innovative story content to be retained beyond 24 hours! Moreover, if you have more than 10K followers on the platform, you can add a ‘Swipe Up’ link allowing your followers to directly access product/service portfolios, subscribe to your other social media channels and view stories and content that matter to your brand.
  3. Instagram story advertisements :The newest addition to Instagram’s marketing tools is an option to boost the Instagram stories right from the profile. Once you post a story from your brand’s business profile on Instagram, you can promote the story right there to be available to not just your followers but also to those who potentially might be interested in your products and services.
    As mentioned before, your followers or potential customers are more likely to view a story as opposed to your feed post. This platform is primarily for 20-35 year olds, with disposable income that allows them to buy your products but with very little time to dwell on making decisions. So, creating stories that are engaging, concise and sell your product easily are the way to go for Instagram advertising as opposed to lengthy storytelling and elaborate creatives.
  4. Shop on Instagram :Your target audience on Instagram does not have the time to spare to check out your web catalogue. So should you be worried about your sales? Will a simple ad be enough? The answer to both these questions are a resounding no! And there is an easy solution to these questions. Instagram allows you to tag products on your post and your stories, add a swipe up feature to your stories and a link in your bio. Moreover, the Explore tab on Instagram has a separate ‘Shopping’ section where you can check out tagged products that might be of interest either from brands that you follow or as per Instagram’s algorithm.
    This has multi-fold implications for Instagram as a platform. Not only does it make Instagram the most-coveted marketing platform for brands across the board, but also makes it the future of e-commerce for the millennial target audience. Will 2019 see Instagram as the next big e-commerce platform? We are sure the wait will be worth it!
  5. Influencer Engagement Campaigns :Why do we need Influencer Engagement campaigns for our brands? Let’s trace its roots back to the good, old tenets of public relations. A brand talking about themselves might be influential but a third party singing praises for the same is believable. In this internet age, where thousands of conflicting opinions co-exist, a post from your favourite actor, chef or model telling you that XYZ brand’s product is unmatched in its quality and features is more likely to influence your target audience to make a purchase decision.
    Instagram being a visual platform makes it easier for influencers to create and share great content that not only portrays the brand in a great light but also convinces their followers (often a hundred thousand of them) that a product is brilliant to use and has great benefits. This works across industries – beauty, apparel and accessories, electronics, hospitality, technology and even entertainment services. Every brand is jumping on the influencer engagement brand wagon, thus even making this an extremely profitable career option.

Given all these stellar reasons, it’s not hard to deduce that Instagram is the biggest marketing tool waiting to take 2019 by storm. We are excited to see how brands utilize these features to take themselves to the next level and are, at the same time, waiting with bated breath to see what new and revolutionary feature Instagram brings on board in the next year!