Social media platforms are all about catering to the user experience. While some things regarding a great user experience stay the same no matter what, programs always change to keep up with the fast-paced tech world and rapidly wandering interests of their users.This means that social sites like Instagram will often update their algorithms, services, and options to keep the interest of their users. Consumers who use the app usually just go with the flow, barely noticing the changes. However, businesses must make major adjustments to their strategies if they want to stay competitive.
If you’re a business trying to make it on Instagram, look to the future. Otherwise, you’re already behind the competition. In 2019, there are some key updates you should watch.
Automation Will Get Better
Automation on Instagram has received a bad rap from expert marketers in the past. Those who use low-quality automation platforms or try to use it to entirely replace their engagement on the platform have experienced issues like awkward comments or account suspension.
However, automation is getting better, and it’s going to become a major part of Instagram marketing. Bots are learning through artificial intelligence to read context clues and customize their interactions so that you can get the engagement you need without spending hours online.
Of course, you’ll still run into problems if you’re not using a high-quality service. You’ll want to use a top Instagram bot (see a good review here) that focuses on high quality content and experiences. It should collect data and present the analytics in an easy-to-use dashboard so that you can interpret and use it to your advantage. You should also be able to schedule your posts so that they reach the right users at the right time.
It Could Become the Number One Platform
Since its launch date in the last quarter of 2010, Instagram has astounded social media experts because of its growth. It’s been the fastest growing social platform since it got started. Ryan Stewman, author of the blog Hardcore Closer believes that this rapid growth will make it the number one social media platform in 2019.
“All the signs are there,” he says. “As much as I love Facebook and have made close to nine figures in income from it, it seems as if it’s all arguing…over there. People are so on edge and so triggered it’s unreal. Conservatives are being blocked, liberals are pissed off, and people are arguing about things that don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things.”
Stewman isn’t the only one to notice the shift in preferences. Many users say that they prefer Instagram to Twitter and Facebook simply because it’s more about positivity and inspiration and less about politics and bad news. As such, Facebook has announced a change in the way they’ll be controlling their newsfeed in order to provide better content for its users and avoid losing them to Instagram.
Still, the numbers are a strong indicator of this potential shift. In 2016, Instagram boasted 500 million followers. In 2018, those followers reached over a billion. The growth of Instagram is almost so rapid that you can’t keep track of it. Facebook currently has twice as many active users as Instagram, but if Instagram can double its followers in less than two years, who says they can’t do it again in one?
Live Video Will Take Precedence
The growth of live video since 2016 has been astounding, but it’s more prevalent today. Right now, the use of live video on Instagram is very useful, but it will be imperative for marketers in 2019.
Instagram has been paving the way for this shift to live video, primarily with the implementation of Instagram Stories. It’s a nod to a similar feature on Snapchat featuring videos, polls, ads, and captioned photos that appear at the top of a users’ feed.
Instagram has recently adjusted its algorithm to prioritize businesses that use Instagram Stories, and if you haven’t adopted it yet, you’ll likely see a drop of engagement if you haven’t already.
“Don’t let your brand be late to the live video bandwagon. 67% of live viewers say they are more likely to purchase a concert ticket to see a band or attend an event if they’ve seen a live stream of a similar event online,” says a blog post from Social Report, pointing out that about 45 percent of audiences reported wanting to see their favorite personalities on Instagram through live stream.
Live video can be somewhat daunting, but it’s an important component to any marketing scheme. If you’re worried about making a mistake with live video, rest assured that anything posted to Instagram Stories is gone in 24 hours (unless you choose to save it), so it won’t be immortalized on your page forever.
According to Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom, there are big changes coming to Instagram, and it’s all for the better.
“The next decade, at least on Instagram, will be the decade where we realize the power of a collective group of people capturing the world in real time through their phones,” Systrom told TIME. “I don’t think we quite understand how that will disrupt industries, whether that’s news [or] how we consume events happening around the world. And I hope that Instagram can become a platform and a medium that accelerates that disruption, and accelerates that access to everything happening in the world in real time. It’s going to be fun to see.”
Those who embrace these changes and prepare their accounts are setting themselves up for success. You can’t run from change, and when it looks this good, why would you want to?