Curious about the great Instagram marketing trends for 2019?

From stickers with Instagram stories to ‘nano influencers’, these predictions help you know where to focus in 2019, where the industry is going and how you can improve your Instagram skills for the coming year:

Instagram Engagement Moves from Likes to Stickers

#1: Instagram Engagement Moves from Likes to Stickers

Every company on Instagram has one thing in common: the desire to increase Instagram involvement.

The combination of Instagram users who follow more accounts view more stories and the Instagram algorithm that prioritizes personal content has meant that regular Instagram feed posts are no longer seen as often as before.

And if you get fewer impressions on your messages, you probably also see a lower involvement. Involvement in Instagram feed posts has been steadily decreasing for a few years now, and in 2019 it’s time to change your definition of “Instagram engagement” and focus on interacting with your followers via Instagram stories instead of just your regular feed messages.

Instagram topic cover in 2019

Instagram stories have exploded in recent years, with over 400 million people watching stories every day. Here at Later, we actually treat Instagram stories as its own social channel, the following traffic from stories separately from traffic generated via the link in our Instagram bio.

Just as you have a content calendar for your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels, you want to do the same with Instagram Stories in 2019.

So when it comes to increasing Instagram engagement, instead of just focusing on how you can get more likes on your feed messages, it’s time to look at Instagram Stories stickers.

Instagram Stories stickers offer a free, easy and fun way to get in touch with your followers and let them invest in your brand, content, and products.

In 2019, Instagram is expected to come up with more widget stickers such as the Countdown, questions or Polls stickers to help brands with their followers through stories rather than feed messages.

The new “Countdown” sticker for Instagram Stories has already proven to be a popular way for brands to arouse the interest of their followers and to inform them of events or when new products come on the market.

Instagram tips

I also predict that the success of stickers on Instagram Stories will result in stickers that also appear on Instagram Stories ads. This is a good time to test ads from Instagram stories while it is still relatively new (and cheap), as this advertising platform will explode in 2019.

We may even see Instagram stories with brand logos, similar to how brands can create their own face filters for Instagram stories.

Until then you can always create your own Instagram stories GIFs! Here are three ways to use brand GIFs on Instagram stories in 2019:

Make stickers that match your brand to use in your own Instagram stories. For Later’s Instagram stories, we’ve created call-to-action GIF stickers in our brand colors to encourage people to ‘swipe up’, and these stickers also help make our stories look perfect on the brand (you can find them by searching on ‘Latergif’)

Shop now on instagram

Make brand stickers that your fans can use in their Instagram stories. 2018 was the summer of the Aperol Spritz and it seemed that you couldn’t open Instagram this summer without seeing someone posting the iconic orange cocktail. Aperol lovers everywhere could easily decorate their stories with cute brand gifs by searching for ‘Aperol’, and thus spread brand awareness among all their followers!

Gift your followers with cute industry related stickers

Give your followers a gift with cute stickers in the industry. The @Calpak luggage brand has made cute travel-related stickers, no brand name required. With statements like “catch flights, no feelings” or “bon voyage”, they offer a fun way for both their followers and Instagram users to communicate with their brand through brand stories.

Bon age

Whether you post a survey or answer questions from fans, 2019 will be a big year for Instagram Stories stickers because they have proven to be a very fun, creative and personal way for brands to communicate and stay in touch with their customers!

Learn more about how you can use all the latest Instagram features in 2019 with our free strategy guide:

#2: Influencers Get More Authentic

“Authenticity” is expected to become a major Instagram marketing “trend” in 2019. The days of perfectly posed Instagram posts, overly edited photos, and Instagram bot comments are about to make way for more authentic experiences and authentic relationships.

In 2018 a new kind of Instagram influencers was created that is focused on authenticity, such as the positive body Jenna Kutcher who won over half a million followers in one year and grew from 166k to 700k + without ever paying for a single follower.

Kutcher’s authentic approach to Instagram marketing includes sharing her fertility issues, figures about personal finances and, yes, even placing photos of herself in her underwear (she has recently become an Aerie model!).

The influencer marketing industry has exploded thanks to Instagram and global advertising spending on influencers in 2020 is expected to be $ 5-10 billion.

Last year we saw fashion and beauty brands such as Revolve, Benefit Cosmetics and Chloe invest heavily in influencers by taking them on glamorous vacations, all in the name of selling products.

And while brands are enthusiastic about influencer marketing, regular Instagram users are starting to see through the perfect Instagram aesthetic and #sponsored posts.

Expect Instagram influencers to become more personal and authentic in 2019 to retain their followers and their brand deals. This includes talking about sponsored content, and I’ve even seen influencers thanking their followers for supporting their sponsored messages, and explaining how much of their income comes from sponsored Instagram messages.

A great example of increasing transparency and authenticity on Instagram comes from influencer Dave Coast, who started to share his empty bottles to prove that he actually uses (and buys again) the products he promotes on Instagram. This simple gesture can tell volumes about stories to make the influencer more reliable and authentic, which in turn is more valuable to brands.

For a recent campaign, Olay encouraged influencers to actually purchase their product and share their “honest reviews” after trying their moisturizer for 28 days. Many influencers have shown that they actually bought the product in Target, and although I don’t think any influencer would actually say anything negative about a brand they are paying for, it is a step in the right direction.

If you plan to work with Instagram influencers in 2019, lean towards authenticity.

One of the best ways to create authentic brand partnerships is by thinking in the long term. Instead of working with influencers to post a single message about your product or campaign, you create longer-term relationships and brand deals.

Start thinking about influencers you work with, as brand ambassadors and make longer, year-long contracts with 1 post/quarter and a few stories per month, etc.

Pampers Pure is an excellent example of this, and many “mom-influencers” regularly post about different Pampers Pure products, to the point that it feels like organic content in the form of advice from a friend, rather than a brand advertisement.

Matching your brand to influencers who really love your product and who want to share it with their followers is an ideal way to build an authentic relationship on Instagram.

Having an influencer post about your brand over a long period of time not only increases brand recall, but it also helps their followers link your brand to that influencer, which can lead to better engagement and results.

As a personal example, my Instagram @localwanderer journey has been working with the shoe brand Sorel for almost 5 years! Our followers have come to love the brand as much as we do, and they know that we can expect seasonal Sorel content from us.

We went on a sponsored trip to Greece last summer, and although all #sponsored posts might have been unpleasant for a brand we hadn’t worked with before, because our followers knew we really love and use Sorel products, they were excited that we had the opportunity, and our most exciting posts of the year were actually # sponsored posts with Sorel.

#3: It’s All About Micro-Influencers (and Micro Brands)

Bigger is not always better when it comes to Instagram marketing, a reality that many popular influencers stand for now that brands prefer to work with micro-influencers (accounts that have fewer than 100,000 followers).

These days it seems that everyone (including children) wants to be an influencer, and in 2019 you might get your chance. ‘Nano influencers’ are increasing because brands choose to work with sponsored users and only 1000 followers on sponsored messages and brand campaigns.

I experienced this first hand on my personal Instagram account @ taylor.loren, which has around 7500 followers. Recently a brand offered to pay me $ 100 for 3 posts on my Instagram stories for 30 days.

I’m pretty active on my Instagram stories, so if I were to recommend a product, it would probably look more like a trusted recommendation from a friend, rather than an approval from a celebrity or #ad.

In the end, I rejected the offer, but this type of campaign for nano-influencer and marketing for micro-influencer will start in 2019, because brands benefit from authenticity … and the algorithm.

Working with smaller accounts is not only cheaper, but it can also be more effective.

Two separate studies by HelloSociety and Markerly discovered that influencers with a smaller following have a much higher engagement rate than top-tier influencers, and both studies noticed a decrease in engagement rate as the audience grew.

But in 2019 it is not only influencers who benefit from a smaller, very involved audience: micro brands are also increasing.

So what makes a micro brand different from a small company? Not much, but there’s nothing “small” about it – micro brands on Instagram compete with large retailers and are able to generate millions of dollars in revenue with small teams through the power of high design and low acquisition costs through social media.

“Social networks that are truly social (as opposed to news-focused) and enable lifestyle discovery are perfect for this world, and nobody does this better than Instagram,” writes Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer at Adobe.

Thanks to the hyper-targeting capabilities of Instagram ads, micro-brands can design and sell products made for a very specific customer, which they can then target on Instagram.

Big brands are starting to notice their smaller competitors and respond by creating their own internal microbrands. Take for example the retailer Aritzia: although they mainly sell in-house designs, they have created and popularized their own brands and labels that appeal to a different type of customer (and price). The Wilfred brand from Aritzia even has its own, separate sales locations!

As Instagram becomes more saturated with brands, influencers, and brand content, Instagram users will make a shift in who they want to follow in 2019.

People are looking for more personalized, targeted content and this year they quickly click on the ‘don’t follow’ button if they don’t resonate with the content in their feeds.

If you want to keep your Instagram followers in 2019, create content that is targeted at your ideal customer. Use your Instagram analyzes to see which content resonates the most and whether your demographic followers of Instagram match those of your customers.

If you are a big brand, consider taking a clue from the micro brands by splitting your Instagram into smaller profiles. For example, Canadian retailer Frank and Oak have created the @ frank and oak women account to focus on their female customer, who has grown so much that it is now just as popular as the parent account.

Creating targeted Instagram accounts is more than just splitting up your men and women’s lines, though – you could do this for different styles, ages, locations, etc.

2019 is not about how many followers your main Instagram account has, and as your account gets bigger, it can actually do more harm than good, because accounts with 100k + generally see a much lower percentage of engagement.

# 4: Follow ROI from Instagram

The biggest Instagram trend of 2019 is not the sexiest, but it is the most useful (and possibly controversial).

Last year we saw a huge change on Instagram when the founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left the company. You may not always agree with their vision on Instagram, but they did have a very specific vision for what they wanted Instagram to be for the world: simple.

The simplicity of Instagram will fade in 2019 because it will inevitably become more on Facebook. The new head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, was previously the Facebook product manager and we will certainly see major changes that will help companies market and sell products more easily.

It is also possible that we see an independent shopping app for Instagram, making it even easier to shop your favorite looks from brands and influencers.

Thanks to the success of shoppable messages and stories this year, companies will finally take Instagram seriously as a conversion channel, and we can expect new products and features to support this.

Denim clothes

Following ROI from Instagram will be a huge marketing trend in 2019, including the ability to track income back to individual Instagram posts and stories to see which content generates the most sales.

This allows us to see advanced analysis, such as the Instagram Account Analytics currently in beta, and possibly open up the Instagram API more so that third-party platforms can create better reporting and tracking tools.

Gone are the days when you just posted on Instagram whenever you felt like it – now brands are optimizing their Instagram marketing for the best time to post, schedule Instagram posts and monitor advanced analysis.

If you want to use Instagram in 2019 to grow your business, you need an Instagram marketing platform like Later to help you stay organized, plan your feed, optimize your content and analyze your results.

You also might need to hire for some new roles, as the social media manager skillset continues to evolve. Thanks to Instagram Stories, social media managers now need to also be video producers, graphic designers, photo editors, and copywriters.

Businesses are now hiring for social specific positions, whether that’s Instagram Stories designers or Art Directors for Social Media.

#5: The Rise of Dark Social & Instagram Direct

“Dark social” may sound like an ominous villain, but in reality, it only refers to social media that we cannot follow because it is private, such as links or messages shared in direct messages.

In 2018 we saw a huge improvement over Instagram Direct, with the addition of gifs and video chat and the app has been transformed from simple one-on-one texting to a robust group chat platform. Now it seems that people are not only actually using the feature, but are also becoming a popular alternative to Messenger and WhatsApp.

Thanks to the answers, tagging and sharing functions on Instagram stories, it is easier than ever to have a private conversation with someone on Instagram, and that also applies to companies!

If you look at your Instagram analyzes, you can see the number of saved and shared items in your feed messages and I have personally noticed that both figures increase over time as Instagram users become more involved with those functions.

In 2019, you can expect Instagram to continue building Direct features, and we can see DMs disappearing completely from Instagram while being spun into its own app, as Facebook did with Messenger. In fact, the stand-alone ‘Direct’ app already exists in the UK, so time will tell if we see this worldwide.

Hopefully, Instagram will make it easier for companies to respond to all their direct messages. Currently, the Instagram API contains no DMs, so the only way companies can respond to all their messages and stories is through their mobile phone.

It would be great to see improved business messages for Instagram and the ability to respond to DMs from your desktop, making social media managers happy with everything.

It would also not surprise me to see more functions around saving content, which may make your stored boards and shopping lists shareable.

But … What is the next step for IGTV?
You may have missed a trend in this list: IGTV. To be honest, I don’t know what awaits us for IGTV. I don’t think it will die because Instagram is getting creative in finding ways to make us look, and it’s important to remember that Instagram stories also started slowly.

It’s hard to believe, but Instagram is already 8 years old, and although Instagram Stories has now crushed Snapchat, you can’t help but wonder what the Next Big Thing will be.

YouTube is incredibly popular with kids and teens, and IGTV is Instagram’s hope for a piece of that popularity cake. But it’s not just YouTube that Instagram needs to worry about.

The video-sharing and lip-sync app TikTok (recently merged with Musical.ly) has quickly become the # 1 social app in both the App Store and Google Play Store, with no fewer than 30 million users in just three months on the end of 2018.

This led Facebook to create a competitor app, Lasso, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of Lasso integration or lip-sync / video editing functions that will be in Instagram, IGTV or Instagram Stories in 2019 integrated.

What do you think this year will be a major Instagram marketing trend? Share this message on Instagram stories or send me a message.

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