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Key Instagram Trends for Brands in 2016

Another year in the social media game means that marketers need to re-think their social strategies to ensure they stay relevant and engaging. To help, we have pulled together a list of the top trends happening on Instagram this year and how this may help shape your content for 2016.

1. Increase in content advertising

Before the end of 2015, only the big players with ad budgets exceeding £20k were able to get involved in Instagram advertising. The positive to this was very targeted, well-thought out ads. Now the playing field has been levelled, users have already begun complaining about spam-like content from brands.

We envisage this changing in 2016, with PR and marketing teams learning what ad content suits this platform and how it differs from other social channels. We have already begun delving into content advertising via Instagram, and have some great learnings – look out for another post in the coming weeks.

2. A video tells more than a thousand words

Video has been on the lips of every marketer for the past two years, and it is not going away anytime soon. This trend is just as relevant on Instagram with more and more brands and influencers getting involved and showcasing creative flair, often using apps such as Boomerang. This is a great opportunity for brands; a picture may be able to tell a thousand words, so imagine what the moving image can do.

3. Earned content vs. owned content

Creation of quality content can be expensive, yet it is key to a successful Instagram account. For our clients, we have already started looking at how we can make the most of content created by others, that still represents the core values of our brands to overcome this cost. We foresee this as becoming more prevalent for 2016 with consumers wanting to see something different from brands rather than the age-old lifestyle image.

4. Instant updates overtaking planned content

It is back to basics for social media this year, meaning we are going back to the core-value of social media being ‘in-the-moment’. This is very true of Instagram, with content seen as more engaging when it is on-the-go, behind the scenes and of the moment, rather than planned and scheduled. This may be the reason why there is not an Instagram endorsed content scheduling platform, but one thing is for sure, brands need to step up and share instantly in this new era of immediacy.

5. Telling the full story with search

Whilst your Instagram post can tell a big part of the story, you also want to ensure users are keen to find out more. Instagram has now updated and improved its search functionality so that it provide a much better set of results. This has been done in an effort to keep users on the app for longer, but also aims to making ‘discovery’ easier, highlighting trends and event as they happen. This opens up the opportunity for brands to communicate better with customers, but also relates heavily to ensuring that you have an army of influencers sharing your story.