2019 will be the year the tide changes on Instagram. Here are 19 bold predictions for this year.
I was walking down the street the other day and I spotted a Trend.
I went up to it and introduced myself. And I picked her brains for what she thought 2019 would bring.
I’m totally kidding but that’s what “trend spotting” always sounds like me to me.
I thought it would be fun to put myself out there and put pen to paper as to what I think 2019 will bring for Instagram and how it will affect other Social Media platforms.
And for giggles I’ll take a look at this list December before the holidays and see where the chips fell.
All of these predictions are purely speculative and subjective to the lens I wear. I also mention other platforms because the ripple effect extends outside of Instagram itself.
1. GROWTH AND SENTIMENT
Facebook and sometimes Instagram received more bad press in 2018 than previous years. On Facebook the average daily minutes and monthly average minutes will continue to decline in the US. Since it’s not an election year, people won’t be on Facebook to argue. And all in all users’s distrust for the platform will grow. They will probably be investigated by the government and talks of regulation will start to rumble.
On the other hand Instagram will continue to grow. Instagram hit 1 billion users in 2018 and will most likely end 2019 around 1.3 billion users.
2. INSTAGRAM AGES
Growth on the platform will be from Gen X and the babyboomers. They consume content differently and “view” as opposed to like and comment (unless its about politics). So impressions might go up but engagement will stagnate especially if your content is geared and attracts the older demographics.
3. ANALYTICS WILL MIRROR FACEBOOK
The same datapoints measured on FB will start to appear on Instagram. The only reason for this hocus pocus is to confuse content creators and ad spenders with data that spins you into spending more money. It’s like being in Vegas at the slot machine.
Throw money in, hit the spinner and see how many likes you get.
4. SHARING WILL BE THE NEWEST DATA POINT TO WATCH
As users age and start to consume content quietly, the data points to watch instead of likes, and comments will be shares. This is the behavior that isn’t visible to others. And because Facebook wants Instagram to look like Facebook it probably will start to show the number of likes, comments and shares under posts.
5. POLITICIANS WILL COME TO INSTAGRAM
Joe Biden opened up his Instagram in September of 2018. More politicians will open up Instagram accounts in 2019. Probably because they want to campaign for 2020. And probably prompted because they also have a lot of millennials working as junior staff in their offices.
6. SOCIAL SHOPPING APP OR MARKETPLACE
Instagram will launch their own shopping app that aggregates any products that have shoppable pins. So if you sell shoes – you could filter and search for shoes on Instagram shopping and purchase from there. The alternative would be a “Marketplace” section within the Instagram App similar to how they have the marketplace on Facebook.
7. MUSIC ON GALLERIES
Instagram will figure out a way to loosen it’s strings on what is uploaded onto the main page. I speculate that they would do this by expanding their relationship with Spotify so that you can add music to posts just like you can to stories. This is to compete with TikTok lovers.
8. SPLIT SCREEN POSTS
Instagram is known for taking the best parts of its competitors and programming it into Instagram. My other speculation is that they will take the split screen duet approach from TikTok and integrate that as a feature for posts in Instagram’s galleries.
The appeal of Instagram Stories isn’t the 24 hour disappearing feature – it’s the Realness of the content being shared. It almost feels like what Instagram felt like 9 or so years ago. As viewers eyes glaze over content that is too glossy or the highlight reels – they will stop and pay attention to content that is authentic and resonates.
10. GROUPS / COMMUNITIES
Instagram increased the group DM to be 30 people instead of 15. In 2019 Instagram will add a groups section to Instagram and call it “Communities”.
11. BUSINESS PROFILES
The last data point I have shows there are 25 million business profiles on the platform. By the end of 2019 this will grow to 55 million.
Assuming that users get bored of Instagram and Facebook… and engagement continues to go down (because the space is crowded) content creators will re-evaluate their long term strategy and there will be an uptick of people opening blogs. Tumblr could stand to make a comeback. Although WordPress continues to improve it’s user interface which would help with newbie bloggers.
13. ADS & INFLUENCERS
I don’t like being sold to. No one likes being sold to. When our favorite dog account that tells jokes all of a sudden turns into an ad machine you just want to turn it off.
Followers will start to reject ads on influencer pages and ad dollars will move back to brand ads. These paid ads done by brands will increase and influencer campaigns will decrease.
14. TIK TOK
Will continue to grow. It’s pretty much all video based and feels authentic and fun. As Instagram becomes more “polished looking” a slice of social media consumers will move away from Instagram and spend more time on TikTok.
YouTube will continue to dominate in video. And since IG TV hasn’t been able to get users over to it’s vertical format platform, content creators will refocus their attention back to YouTube.
VSCO will grow as a platform where creatives can share their photos. This will be to escape the eyes of the Grandmas and Aunts that are slowly joining Instagram. The desire to connect doesn’t change. The location where its done might.
Snapchat will continue to stagnate. The online party has thinned out. The platform is to clunky for the novice user. The bulk of the core of Snapchat users are growing up and leaving.
Just like record players have made a comeback, polaroids will make a comeback. The appeal to capture a moment and not be able to edit it or slap a filter on it will grow. So an analog community will start to whisper and become this secret culture where the hipsters go and compare polaroids over bullet proof coffee while gathered at the latest “Not a Starbucks” coffee shop.
Although we won’t see it in full swing in 2019 … the tide will start. Society will start to talk more about Privacy and also the need to unplug. More social areas like restaurants will offer “cell free zones” and discourage the never ending photos of meals and encourage people to connect face to face.
The new luxury will be the untold story. Or the abbreviated story. All it takes is for a huge celebrity who doesn’t document every waking moment and that will spur a movement where being an enigma will be more coveted.
TO SUM IT UP
Anything could happen on Instagram. The above predictions are my best speculations. Will it change how you use the platform?
What if it all went away?
What would you do if you woke up and Instagram was no longer available on your phone. And when you asked around it wasn’t available for anyone else either?
The point being is realizing that Instagram is just another social platform that sucks up time every day.
And you will realize it’s just another social distraction taking you away from what is most important and in front of you.
More and more people will realize this and start to be come conscientious not only in the content they consume but the content they produce.
People used to think the TV was the devil. That it was a detriment to society.
Our phones are just mini TVs and it’s not going away. And the noise that happens on it will continue to get louder.
Which ever way the platforms grow …. remember to unplug every now and then.
There’s a sunset waiting for you to chase after all.