How Can Instagram Help My Business in 2019?
For good or worse, Instagram has changed dramatically since it was founded in 2010. The launch of video, Stories and IGTV has led to an explosion of more ephemeral content and vertical video alongside the curated and filtered images that the platform was once best known for.
Instagram Stories was introduced three years ago and they went from seeing 0 to 100 million people using it everyday within a few months. Now it is 500 million people a day. It is getting bigger and bigger. With the growth of Stories, the Speech at House Of Instagram was quoted as saying that Instagram had seen a demand for more playful and less polished content from brands. The next key focus for Instagram is IGTV: launched in August last year, the feature allows users to post longer-form vertical videos up to an hour in length.
Instagram claim IGTV was launched in response to research which found that people spend most of their time holding their phone upright – even when consuming video. According to their research, Millennials almost never turn their phone … yet they’re watching the most video. So Instagram felt there was an opportunity to do something in this space, and that’s when they launched IGTV.
Over the past few months, brands, publishers and celebrities have been experimenting with the format. Instagram say fashion brands have been among the earliest adopters, with Versace using IGTV to live stream catwalk shows. ASOS has also been using it to post curated product drops and style edits, with videos regularly receiving tens of thousands of views. Fashion is the industry that has gravitated super quickly towards understanding the importance of this format.
In a key speech at House Of Instagram, Jane Kinnaird, Creative Strategist at Instagram, said that IGTV offered an opportunity for brands to create more immersive content and engage with consumers on a deeper level – whether through behind-the-scenes footage or content that allowed consumers to learn more about a brand and the people behind it. “What’s interesting about today’s consumer is that they don’t want to just buy your product – they want to understand who you are, what you stand for, what the ethos [of your brand is]. They want to delve further to understand who they’re purchasing from and IGTV is a great way to do this,” she said. “You can be playful in Stories, and more immersive in IGTV, and you can build your brand in Feed.”
Alongside IGTV, shopping is another key focus for Instagram in 2019. Last year, the brand launched shopping tags within posts, allowing users to tap on a tag to pull up information about a product and click through to a retailer’s website to make a purchase. Now, it is working on building a marketplace within the app – which is interesting because you need a Facebook Product Catalogue to have Instagram Shopping.
Over the past few months, Instagram has been working with retailers including Zara, Nike and Dior to trial in-app shopping in the US. An in-app checkout feature lets users complete a purchase and manage an order without leaving the platform. Instagram have been quoted as saying the results of the trial have been positive, and they are now opening up the beta version to creators and influencers as well as brands.
Offering some advice for retailers, the Speech at House Of Instagram suggested experimenting with regular product drops – for example by launching new products on the same day each week – and launching Instagram exclusives to drive anticipation around new collections. Net-a-Porter recently launched a Chloe collection on Instagram, with the product revealed through shoppable carousel ads. They also recommended creating shopping experiences that respond to current trends or popular content: when an image of an egg became the most liked photo on Instagram this year, one paint brand responded with a shoppable post promoting a shade in the same colour as the egg’s shell.
A study commissioned by Facebook IQ and conducted by Ipsos Mori found that 57% of people want to see fun or entertaining content from brands, with only 36% looking for beautifully produced images and videos – suggesting that personality is now more important than polish. Almost a third of the 21,000 people surveyed said they wanted brands to showcase their personality in their content – for example through featuring makers or employees from that brand – and 53% said they would follow a brand for its content, even if they’re not a fan of that business.
The study found that 87% of people had taken action after seeing product information on Instagram, while 83% said Instagram helps them discover new products and services – proof of the potential value of in-app shopping and shoppable posts. It also revealed people’s top interests on Instagram, with travel ranking highest, followed by music, food and drink, fashion, film, health and fitness, TV, tech, cosmetics and skincare and sports.
With 80% of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users now following a business, Instagram have said there was a demand for content from brands – provided that content is relevant and engaging.
People looked to Instagram for entertainment, news, education and inspiration, according to this year’s Speech at House Of Instagram, and the brands that perform best are the ones that can offer a mix of all four while bringing something unique to the platform. The Speech also highlighted the importance of directly engaging with and responding to consumers: 150 million people now direct message a business each month on Instagram. To see how I can help you with your social media problem, get in contact – I can help!