Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has solidified itself as a leading social media platform. Its increasing popularity has seen it overtake the good old bird app time and time again in polls. And in 2020 alone, Instagram managed to rake in over 503 MILLION downloads and has an estimated 1 billion active users!
What started as a quiet corner of the internet where we could post sepia-toned, over-edited selfies has transformed into a profitable area of marketing. From influencers to social ads, Instagram is no doubt a platform to be reckoned with.
But to make it on Instagram, you need to keep an eye on its ever-changing trends. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, here are the top Instagram trends of 2021!
Let’s get started.
The birth of the photo dump
Some things should be left in 2020; Covid (obviously), fighting over toilet roll and celebrities serenading the public to “Imagine”. However, there are a few things we wouldn’t mind keeping around – the Instagram photo dump being one of them. In case you’re completely new to this, the photo dump trend is essentially a carousel of images on an Instagram post. Ranging from frothy coffees, sunsets and previously deemed “un-Insta worthy” selfies, dumps are chaotic little time capsules – and we’re big fans. They’re almost like the digital equivalent to a diary or a notebook doodle.
We used to laugh at our parents uploading obnoxiously zoomed-in pictures of their dinner onto social media. But now we’ve become them. Little did we know, the “Live, Laugh, Love” mums were to become *trendsetters*. Even Co-Star couldn’t predict this.
Throughout 2019, Gen Z popularised the term finsta, or a “private Insta” for close friends, but with the introduction of photo dumps, the amount of people with a finsta is actually decreasing. If you want to reach a younger audience with your brand – photo dumps are definitely the way to go. The best part about them is they don’t need to be aesthetically pleasing; they can be as uncoordinated as you’d like. Even celebrities such as Bella Hadid to Hilary Duff have taken it upon themselves to jump on the trend!
The rise of Instagram Reels
Reels have undoubtedly taken the Instagram world by storm. Launching in 2020, Reels were Instagram’s quick-fire response to TikTok, because there’s nothing like a healthy bit of competition, hey.
Reels are 15-second videos within the Instagram app that allows you to create, edit and discover videos across the platform. The increasing popularity of video on social media is no surprise. It’s estimated that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it. In turn, over 86% of people would prefer to see more video content from the brands they follow.
When it comes to marketing, you’ve probably heard many times that video is the be-all and end-all of content, but it really is. We even wrote a blog about it!
In fact, 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos which makes Reels a creative way to try and promote products. Another example of a brand which is consistently knocking their Reels out of the park is fast-fashion retailer, Nasty Gal, who use Reels to show their audience how to style their clothes and promote collections.
Investing time into creating Reels is a great way to drive up your social engagement! If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this how-to video:
Inclusivity should never be considered a “trend”, but over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a positive shift towards inclusivity on social media. Nowadays, the power is in the consumer’s hands. A brand becoming successful is completely dependent on its audience and how they’re received.
All consumers want to see themselves represented and acknowledged in the brands they interact with, whether that be fashion brands using models of different sizes, abilities, races, ethnicities and backgrounds in their campaigns. The key to making your brand inclusive is to simply humanise it, it’s as simple as that.
Carousel posts 🎠
Another trend we’ve seen stick becoming more popular this year is Instagram carousel posts. Instagram has rapidly begun changing the ways we measure engagement. Instagram users can use features such as hiding the likes they receive on posts, which in turn can affect the algorithm of which posts are shown.
As a result of this, influencers and businesses have started to rely on other methods to boost engagement. Snackable content such as stories and carousel posts have dominated Instagram feeds this year because they attract more impressions and they’re easy and shareable content.
Carousel posts as well as encouraging engagement, also expand reach. The time a user spends swiping through a carousel is longer than they would ordinarily spend on any other post. Especially when video content is involved. According to Hootsuite, carousel posts get 1.4 times more reach than static, single-image posts.
Shoppable posts are EVERYWHERE
eCommerce has slowly but steadily taken over social media. On Instagram particularly, shoppable feeds have created a whole new way for consumers to shop. With the introduction of Instagram Shop, there is now a more streamlined way to discover products, making Instagram an even more profitable platform for brands. In 2020, millions of people turned to online shopping. Over 130 million Instagram users tap on shoppable posts every single month and this is only increasing!
Throughout the pandemic, small businesses struggled with a lack of business. Instagram Shopping and features such as Instagram Checkout, stickers on stories, tags, and shoppable posts, meant that independent businesses across the globe could navigate their way through the pandemic and connect easily with their customers.
The “No-Edit” edit
Referring back to the rise of the “photo dump”, the “no edit” edit is yet another trend taking over Instagram in 2021. With the demand for authentic content on Instagram increasing, influencers and brands have taken a step back from over-saturated images and harsh filters.
Instead, we’re slowly starting to see more untouched images. This trend also extends to influencers and brands who have begun posting more realistic content. Brands such as Gillette Venus have driven up their engagement by posting unedited images!
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