Brands need to keep up with Instagram trends, new features, and marketing tactics to keep up with their customers and stay ahead of the competition. As with any current social media platform, Instagram constantly keeps users and brands on their toes with new features and general updates to the way their platform works. On top of that, the social media climate is constantly shifting and new trends are always emerging. I’ve compiled a list of 8 Instagram trends to know about and try this year (2022)
- Instagram is celebrating its 12th birthday in 2022
- The Top IG hashtags of 2022 so far are #love #instagood #photooftheday #fashion #beautiful #happy #cute #tbt
- 75% of people aged 18–24 are active on Instagram
- Photo Ads See Just 1 Comment for Every 1k Followers
- Approximately 100 million photos are uploaded every 24 hours
- $1.7 to $2.3 Billion Is Currently Being Spent On Instagram Influencers
- Instagram Influencer Rates Range From $50 To $1 Million For A Single Sponsored Post
- Only 50% of business Instagram Accounts Have Posted an Instagram Story
- Gen X men are the fastest growing Instagram audience
- Instagram is the 9th most-Googled search term
#1 The return of chronological feeds
This is a big one. In March 2022, IG’s chronological feed made a comeback. It’s been five long years since users’ feeds were last ordered chronologically i.e. posts were displayed in the order they were published rather than in an order determined by Instagram’s elusive algorithm.
Instagram has said on the matter, ‘We want to be clear that we’re creating new options — providing people with more choices so they can decide what works best for them — not switching everyone back to a chronological feed.’
So, the returned feature is not a mandatory one. Instead, users can choose to view their feed in chronological order. To do this, they must tap the Instagram logo in the top left corner and then choose either ‘Following’ or ‘Favourites’. See how this appears below.
By tapping ‘Favourites’, users are shown posts by accounts that they have favourited on the app. ‘Following’ will display posts by all accounts that a user follows. Both are shown in chronological order. This means that unless a user chooses to view a feed in this manner, Instagram will display the feed as normal using their algorithm that shows the posts ordered by importance (as determined by Instagram). This shouldn’t massively affect brands, but it’s a much-talked-about change that marketers should know about nonetheless.
#2 The year of IG Shopping
Instagram Shopping came into existence during the height of the 2020 lockdowns when social media users found themselves with much more free time than usual. But it’s only recently that purchasing products on the platform became the norm. Instagram Shopping is effectively an eCommerce platform where brands can list and market their products.
Currently, only ‘select’ brands in the US are supported by the option for customers to checkout directly on Instagram. For everyone else, your customers will be redirected to the corresponding page on your website when they click to buy.
Whether or not your customers can spend their cash directly on IG or not, Instagram Shopping is a powerful marketing tool — 130 million users engage with an IG Shopping post every month and 44% of people use the platform to shop weekly according to Instagram.
New features of IG Shopping seem to be rolling out one after the other. Just a few of these include taggable posts and stories where you can include a link to your shop or a particular product featured, Live Shopping where brands can display links while they’re on live, Product Launches, and ads with product tags.
Now is definitely the time to jump aboard IG Shopping. Learn more about setting up your Instagram Shop here.
#3 Reams of Reels
Reels were another feature introduced by Instagram in 2020, almost undoubtedly as a way to compete with TikTok. IG has been aggressively pushing Reels by bolstering their precedence in the algorithm as well as positioning the Reel icon smack in the centre of the platform’s bottom navigational bar. In fact, Reels get 22% more engagement than regular video content. This means there’s no time like the present. Creating a branded Reel can serve as a propeller for your marketing strategy by increasing your reach and engagement.
#4 The demise of IGTV
In 2021, Instagram announced they were going to retire IGTV. That’s the platform’s long-form video format with a max video length of 60 minutes. Instagram commented recently:
Last year, we kicked off simplifying video on Instagram by merging Feed Video and IGTV into one format – Instagram Video – to make it as easy as possible to create and find videos that you love.
This doesn’t mean you can no longer post long-form content on IG. Videos up to one hour in length can now be posted using the platform’s standard ‘Instagram Video’ format. Any video on Instagram now has the capability to be watched on full screen and be muted.
Another important point made by the platform in late February this year is that ‘Because of [Instagram’s] focus on Reels, in-stream video ads (previously known as IGTV ads) will no longer be supported. Creators that are actively monetising with in-stream video ads will receive a temporary monthly payment based on recent earnings.’ If you think this affects your brand in any way, be sure to read up on what the changes mean.
#5 Story links
Towards the end of 2021, Instagram gifted each and every user with the capability to include a link in their story. This is way bigger than you may first think. Whereas only accounts with over 10,000 followers are afforded the opportunity to make use of that suave ‘swipe up’ feature, story links are accessible to all users and small brands. Be sure to utilise this feature to drive traffic to your site. See how to do it below.
#6 The dance mania isn’t slowing down
What started with TikTok has now taken over almost every social media platform. It’s not uncommon to see videos on Instagram with the TikTok logo watermark — meaning the videos have been grabbed from TikTok and uploaded to IG. More and more though we’re seeing dance videos uploaded by creators straight to Instagram.
The Instagram dance trend has been helped along by the introduction of Reels, just as IG intended. All signs point towards the dance trend sticking along for the foreseeable future. In fact, according to Instagram’s 2022 trend report, more than one in three teenage users are excited to see more dance challenges in 2022. So love it or hate it, marketing campaigns that include dance shouldn’t be ruled out for most brands.
Not exactly a new phenomenon or marketing tactic, but definitely one that is set to continue to dominate in 2022. A significant 55.4% of marketers utilise influencer marketing last year, and this percentage is expected to increase to a staggering 72.5% this year.
To Generation Z, influencers trump traditional celebrities. 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. Influencers are undeniably a strategic way to increase your brand’s visibility as well as your conversion rate. 44% of Gen Z has purchased something after seeing an influencer’s recommendation. Important note: not all influencers have to gobble up your marketing spend — consider leveraging the power of micro influencers.
Instagram recently rolled out a set of tools to help brands find and get the most out of influencer partnerships. Brand Collabs Manager is currently open to influencers (or ‘creators’, as IG likes to call them) in the US, but brands from anywhere can apply. On top of acting as a sort of matchmaking service for brands and influencers, the platform also allows you to view metrics that tell you how your partnership is performing. Learn more and apply here.
#8 Instagram is pushing encouraging ads
And organic reach on the platform is declining. Are these two findings linked? There’s no definitive way to way to tell, but it seems likely. Organic Instagram posts this year reached 47% fewer followers than just two years ago — whereas its ad reach increased by 21% across last year. The decrease in organic reach could simply be down to a general increase in the amount of content on the web. But … honestly I doubt that. Instagram is likely to go the same way as Facebook who deliberately dropped its organic page reach algorithms to snare more paid advertising.
43% of marketers stated that the biggest challenge for them currently is ‘the decline of organic reach and the need to increase paid advertising budgets.’ While this is a setback for many brands, particularly smaller ones, it shouldn’t discourage you. There are still ways to break away from the pack and effectively reach your target audience. Find out how Contentworks gets clients noticed on Instagram.
Jumping onto Instagram trends and keeping up with new features should undoubtedly be front of mind for brands in 2022. However, none of this should take precedence over the content of your posts themselves. Quality content and a good strategy will prevail over hollow trend following. My agency Contentworks manages the IG presence of some of the top brands in finance tech and lifestyle — talk to us about social media management.