Instagram: More Than Just A Social Channel

One could say that Facebook has lead the way in Social Media advancements in recent years. Introducing live feeds, 360 posts, advanced advertising, VR and most recently 3D posts. The platform has consistently analysed user behaviour and adapted. Both shaping and falling victim to consumer trends.

But with the disillusionment of Facebook since the beginning of 2018, their best efforts are rapidly on the decline. With Instagram quickly picking up the slack. Consumers are rapidly turning to this secondary platform, prompting major Instagram innovations in 2018.

The platform is fast becoming everything that Facebook wishes it could be, truly embodying what consumers want in their Social Media experience.

Turning the Page on Instagram Stories

At the end of 2017, Instagram Stories reached 300 million daily Instagram story users. Users turn to Stories for real time, transparent and behind the scenes content. For an unpolished version of brands and friends, that they can build trust and authentic relationships with.

There’s a natural drive in consumer behaviour for Instagram stories. And Instagram has noticed. Announcing new story technology that will turn the humble story into a fully-fledged Social Media experience. One that you’ll never have to leave.

In the beginning of May, Instagram announced that they’ll be allowing third party apps to post onto Instagram. And more specifically, they’ll be allowing users to share their favourite music directly from Spotify to their Instagram stories. With a direct link to the song on Spotify.

For brands with strong music roots, this allows them to focus on music in a way that’s authentic and true to the platform. It also opens up another form of sharing, allowing brands and artists to showcase their music background whilst truly immersing users through sound.

A New Era of Mobile Shopping

Mobile shopping is on the rise worldwide, and Instagram is not falling behind. In the beginning of May, Instagram started testing a new in app shopping feature, allowing users to register their credit cards on the platform and purchase items, book appointments and pay for tickets through the app making the purchasing user journey easier and efficient.

While the feature is yet to roll out in the UK, brands can expect to see higher conversion rates as buyers don’t drop off near the end of the purchasing funnel. While many people will be familiar with the shopping features on Facebook, the uptake of Instagram by users, will drive this new shopping feature with predictions that it will overtake Facebook in 2018.

Unfortunately, for age restricted brands, this shoppable feature will not be accessible due to Instagram’s lack of age control. However, what this new feature means is a growing need amongst their audience for a smooth and easy mobile shopping experience — it’s a need that will only grow in the coming years.

Passive is The New Active

With the mass adoption of Instagram in the beginning of 2018, and the predicted continuation in the rest of 2018, we can expect to see a massive change in the way users start to interact across all Social Media networks.

As a platform, Instagram lends itself to a very different user behaviour. The vast amount of beautiful imagery coupled with a clean and concise newsfeed means that users scroll at a faster rate and consume media in a passive way.

Users will watch a video or stare at beautiful imagery, before moving onto the next travel photo or selfie. Only if they genuinely like something will they like a post and rarely they will comment on it. The scroll equity of the platform is high, and users are fast adopting this type of interaction.

What this means for brands is a new way of tracking success in F19 and beyond. While Facebook still remains a stalwart for likes, comments and sharing (active engagements) for the time being. Instagram will become a platform for passive engagements, shaping the way we measure success in the coming years.

Our current Social Media is changing faster than brands can monitor. Facebook year on year growth is in decline for the first time ever and Instagram is growing at an increasingly rapid rate. Zuckerberg and his team are placing a lot of emphasis on innovations on their secondary platform, truly making it more than a platform. But a Social Media experience.

Chris Falconer