Here is our list of 2021 Instagram updates that businesses and marketers should know.
Instagram was first launched in 2010 as a photo-sharing social media app. Initially, the primary focus was photography, specifically those taken on mobile devices. Two years later, Facebook acquired the company for $1 billion in cash and stock.
Over the years, Instagram has been leaning more towards videos that they launched in August 2020 Reels which initially came with a 15-minute time limit but doubled it after about a month.
The Sudden Shift from Photos to Videos
While Instagram introduced video posts in 2013 and subsequently added IGTV, Stories videos, Instagram Live, and Reels, company head Adam Mosseri announced last July that the platform is now focusing more on video content, including “full-screen and recommended videos in users’ feeds.”
Additionally, the social media platform has just increased Reels’ time limit to 60 seconds.
In an Instagram post, Mosseri said the social media giant is “no longer a square photo-sharing app” after their research showed that the primary reason that “people say they use the platform is to be entertained.”
TikTok: A Growing Threat
In Mosseri’s July Instagram post, he even cited TikTok and other upstarts’ rise. Meanwhile, his announcement coincided with TikTok’s decision to stretch the length of its videos from one minute to three.
With the advent of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, video-sharing social media platforms like TikTok have started exploding in popularity. The reason? According to surveys, people were looking for entertainment channels while avoiding Facebook and other sites where content generally revolved around controversial issues.
Several surveys have also shown that the new norm is now leaning towards videos of “light topics,” a sort of escapism amidst today’s uncertainty–i.e., job insecurity, risk of contracting the disease, and economic downturn–brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Instagram Updates that Will Affect the Business Landscape
Instagram plans to “build new experiences in four areas,” namely, creators, videos, shopping, and messaging. These Instagram updates are primarily anchored to the new consumer sentiment and business landscape, many of which are the new norm’s inadvertent byproducts.
Power Shift from Business Institutions to Individuals Across Industries
Instagram creators can now allow companies to promote their organic branded Stories and content feed. For brands, this means that partnering with influencers will enable them to use their post and turn it into an ad.
To boost brand awareness and even generate sales, it is a no-brainer to choose an influencer who reflects the “core values” of the sponsored brands instead of randomly selecting a social media celebrity based solely on the number of followers.
Business-and-influencer marketing also works great if it involves user-generated content. For instance, a few years ago, Coca-Cola launched a “Share a Coke” campaign in which they personalized soda bottles with common names and nicknames, prompting thousands of people to share a photo of themselves holding a Coke bottle with their name on it.
Instagram Videos: Quick and Entertaining Content
With the shrinking attention span of consumers, video marketing offers unique benefits–if crafted correctly. A 2020 study even found that adding product videos to landing pages increased conversion rates by up to 80%.
These are the other reasons why businesses, including small and medium enterprises or SMEs, should start focusing on video marketing:
- Around 54% of consumers want to see more video content. (Hubspot, 2021)
- Recently, about 87% of video marketers reported that the medium gives them an excellent ROI, a notable increase from 33% in 2015. (Wyzowl Research, 2021)
- Around 27% of global online users watched more than 10 hours of videos on a weekly basis, while 20.6% watched 1-2 hours of videos per week. (Statista, 2020).
- Forty-three percent of marketers said that videos had reduced their number of support calls. (Wyzowl, 2021)
Instagram Shopping: Shift from Offline to Online
The coronavirus permanently changed online shopping behaviors, according to a 2020 study released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The disruptive nature of the pandemic even prompted the researchers to urge policymakers to adopt measures that can facilitate “e-commerce adoption” among SMEs.
According to a survey involving 3,700 consumers in nine emerging and developed countries, online purchases jumped by 6 to 10 percent of points in most product categories. However, the biggest gainers were sectors from DIY, gardening, electronics, education, household products, and cosmetic and personal care.
Additionally, Instagram is one of the platforms that benefit from the accelerated shift to digital shopping, according to a recent report published by Hootsuite:
- More than 1 billion people use Instagram monthly.
- Around 81% of Instagramers use the platform to research products and services.
- About 130 milłion users tap on shopping posts every month.
- Around 50% of users have visited a website to purchase a product or service after seeing it on Instagram.
- An average user spends approximately 30 minutes a day on the platform.
Simply put, the new business landscape makes online presence and marketing not just a recommendation but a necessity that failure to adapt to it will have disastrous outcomes.
Instagram Direct Message for Business
With more than 375 million active monthly users, Instagram’s messaging service is a goldmine for marketers who want to reach their audience in the most personalized way possible and boost their sales and brand awareness.
Brands can send a single direct message or a group message to their list of followers or send a video or photo from their Instagram feed to an individual or a group of followers. The goal here is to target the right audience at the right time in a personalized way so that they feel they’re part of an “exclusive group.”
The most notable feature of Instagram Direct is the deeper level of personalization, which is the key to an excellent buying experience that leads to more “impulse buy,” improved customer loyalty, greater revenue, and fewer returns.
Did you enjoy this article? If so, you may want to read our 7 Pointers to Remember When Using Instagram for Marketing. You can also contact us at (916) 303-4080 to get a free digital marketing consultation.
At LOJO Marketing, we help brands across industries to adapt to the ever-changing online business landscape and consumer sentiment.