06.12 2017 02:26h
06.12 2017 02:26h

5 Instagram Trends to Look Out For In 2018

Here's what you need to know...
by @Laura Andrea Kell

Instagram has now reached 800 million users (and counting).

For many influencers and brands, Instagram is the most important social media platform.

Whether you’re looking to promote your YouTube channel or develop yourself as an “Instagram blogger” influencers won't be shunning the photo sharing app any time soon.

Throughout the past few years, Instagram has evolved a lot - and Instagrammers are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to the latest social media trends.

Here's what we predict you can expect to see from Instagram in 2018...

Sandwiching and Other Attempts at Beating the Algorithm

In 2016, Instagram threw its users a curve ball.

Suddenly, the photo sharing app went from showcasing content in a strictly chronological order to one determined by an algorithm. As engagement started to drop for many users, brands and influencers scrambled as they tried to find ways to “beat” the elusive algorithm.

Towards the end of 2017 a few brands started employing tactics to get around this tricky infrastructure, designed to (supposedly) obscure promoted posts.

Enter a new technique, known as “Sandwiching”.

Some big name brands are utilizing this method in an attempt to outsmart the elusive Instagram algorithm.

According to an article on tech website Digi Day, Sandwiching is strategically placing promoted posts between imagery forecasted to have high rates of engagement, based on existing data.

For example, say you’re an influencer looking to increase the engagement of a particular post. You could try “sandwiching” this post on your Instagram in between two posts you know your followers will enjoy and interact with (like a contest-related post, giveaway, etc.)

Theoretically the post in the middle will be “boosted”, by having a post on each side of it with high engagement.

While it’s impossible to fully “crack” the Instagram algorithm, we forecast that there will be plenty of other attempts to beat the system in 2018.

Shopping on Instagram

If you have 10 000 followers or more on Instagram, you can now make use of Instagram’s Shop Now feature. It allows users to include links to their products or store pages, providing they have enough followers and are using an Instagram business account.

As brands start looking towards e-commerce as a way of increasing sales, we expect we’ll see more companies trying to sell directly to their followers via the app in 2018.

And your favourite Instagram stars will also be making the most of this feature. After all, being able to link to a brand’s website when showcasing sponsored content, is a pretty valuable tool for many influencers.

Get ready to start spending your dirhams with the help of Instagram, in 2018.

The Rise of Video and Instagram Live

If you’re an influencer, start getting comfortable in front of the camera.

Video features and Instagram Live won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. The popularity of video content has only been increasing the past few years and it sure won’t be slowing down in 2018.

Instagram Live is on the rise and brands are becoming more aware of the power of video – as it often receives higher rates of engagement than still image posts. And with recent changes in the algorithm, we know influencers and brands are keen to do whatever it takes to obtain an authentic interaction with their audiences.

Instagram Stories = The Main Story

Instagram has been working hard to keep its stories feature interesting for its users, and distinct from its competitors.

The hard work clearly paid off, as Instagram Stories stole the show in 2017. 

While Snapchat had a less-than-stellar year, Instagram worked hard to improve their stories by adding in new features. Stories can now be saved and reposted as “Highlights” on a user’s profile. Instagrammers can also share live video on their stories. New stickers and fun features (like “Rewind” and “Superzoom”) were also rolled out this past year.

Instagram Stories won’t be going anywhere in 2018 and we expect the popularity – and cool new features – to only be on the rise in the upcoming months…

More Crackdowns On Rule Breakers

In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States started clamping down on transparency in influencer marketing.

While the UAE has yet to implement similar rules and regulations, Instagram has found ways of its own to ensure everyone is playing fair.

This includes lowered engagement for those influencers who purchase followers, participate in comment pods or use third-party Instagram growth service to drive users to their account.

Some influencers have even seen a drop in engagement if they haven’t been tagging #ad or #sponsored on paid posts – even if they don’t live in a region with legislation pertaining to influencer marketing. 

We expect in 2018 Instagram will keep playing hard ball with those influencers that are looking to cut corners when it comes to showcasing sponsored content and nabbing engagement.

Let us know your thoughts 2018's Instagram Trends in the comments below!