Here are my thoughts and ideas about 2017 and Instagram. There is a lot of interesting stuff to look forward to.
I am no prophet and cannot foresee what life will become in a couple of months. No one could have imagined the dynamic growth of Instagram in 2016 and the number of novelties it introduced. In this article I only express my personal opinion without claiming monopoly on the truth.
Any novelty in social media has two levels:
‐ its advantages for business
‐ the way it changes the lives of average users.
I mention it because this article is aimed at the representatives of business and bloggers and does not cover user experience. Well, let’s get started.
6 main Instagram tendencies in 2017:
- Video content
- Working on engagement rate
- Reduced MF/ML efficiency
- Increased value of the bloggers
- Statistics everywhere
- Development of business functions
Now let’s talk about it in more detail.
Video in Instagram
If you don’t publish videos in your Instagram profile, you are making a mistake. According to Brand Networks research, the share of video advertising in Instagram increased from 30 to 65% in a year.
Videos are conquering the Internet, and forecasts say that by 2020 it will have covered up to 80% of traffic.
There are rumors that videos are magically ranged in the new algorithmic feed better than average photos, however, no practical experience back these allegations. But let’s not forget who owns Instagram and how videos were ranged on Facebook in 2016. They certainly have feed priority and often constitute the majority of posts. Therefore one can assume these innovations will eventually come to Instagram.
Videos are a constantly growing segment of Instagram, and in 2017 they will gain an even bigger share. However, not every clip made on your phone will be useful. Major brands, for example, Nike, take shooting and editing very seriously.
Requirements for an Instagram video:
- a clip should be interesting from the first seconds;
- a long clip should be dynamic, otherwise no one will watch it till the end;
- when planning to shoot a video, remember that the majority of viewers will watch it without sound. Copy the text to the screen;
- an Instagram video may be 3 to 60 seconds long;
- take format into account. If the video is vertically oriented, the text is not on the screen, while a horizontally oriented video enables one to read the inscription while watching.
Rumor has it that a text bar on the clip itself considerably increases the number of interactions.
Working on engagement rate
In 2016 Instagram underwent radical changes, though not everyone has understood it yet. Algorithmic feed makes bloggers focus on the content and monitor the quality of their audience. Otherwise no one would see your posts.
What is engagement rate?
Engagement rate (ER) is a relation between the interactions of subscribers to the profile and the content published in it. In order not to calculate it manually and to monitor it on the daily basis, I recommend using our account analytics for Instagram.
There is no direct correlation between the ER level and your potential reach. I cannot give you a formula showing that with 3% ER you will get a 30% reach, and with 5% ER – 50%. It’s impossible. However, the connection is very strong, and ER is materially influenced by the quality of your audience.
Previously virtually everyone tried to attract bots to one’s profile, but now it may actually kill your account. I will not describe here how you can increase your ER, this topic deserves an article of its own.
Here is a case of me and my colleague increasing the ER twice in 2 month. Now everyone who wants an active audience and a lively profile will have to do the same.
The quality of subscribers and ER will become obligatory points in the agenda of every good Instagram SMM specialist.
Mass Liking and Mass Following – are they over?
The death of SEO is declared at almost every annual digital conference. Similarly, every Insta-expert foresees quick and tragic end to the services that automatize liking and subscribing. In 2017 ML and MF won’t die (unless Instagram introduces strict measures against them) but their efficiency will continue to reduce.
During the first ML and MF presentations the conversion of users covered by a certain action to subscribers reached 20-30%, but now the majority of mass liking tasks only gives 2-5%.
Uncontrolled growth of mass following services had consequences. Any new profile that published a couple of photos with regional hashtags could have over 90 various business accounts subscribed to it in just 2 days. This is not normal, and it should not happen this way. The users are tired and pay less attention to such activities. However, they keep working and attract users better than official advertisements.
Increased value of bloggers
Reach falls, advertising get more expensive, ML/MF dies. For business it sounds sad and costly, but it’s not that bad. Instagram became a Mecca for bloggers and opinion leaders that have already created versatile audiences. In fact, all bloggers may be divided into three categories:
- Gods with millions of followers, top of the top.
- Medium-sized bloggers.
- Beginners or those who don’t even understand they are bloggers.
The majority of entrepreneurs and marketing specialists often think about the first category, seldom about the second, and never – about the third. What is 10-15 thousand followers, after all?
However, posts by those opinion leaders may appear much more efficient because of hitting proper target audience, trust between the blogger and his or her subscribers, and considerably lower posting price which means decreased risks. 10 posts by a medium-sized blogger give a much bigger success rate than one by a topper, because in the former case you have 10 chances, and in the latter – only one.
Collaboration with bloggers is your simple and cheap way to native advertising which is very much in today and will save marketing from extinction caused by Adblock and “banner blindness”.
2016 was marked not only by the algorithmic feed but also by the occurrence of business profiles in Instagram that enable one to monitor reach and audience statistics and start paid promotion directly from the app.
Now Instagram statistics is available practically to everyone, and the advertisers are able to pay not just for a big number under the word “Subscribers”, but for the actual reach, and to select bloggers by geography of their audience.
That is why 2017 will be the year when the majority of entrepreneurs and marketing specialists will become interested not only in the total quantity of subscribers, but in their quality and geography and will use statistics on a regular basis.
Recent changes in Instagram make it resemble Facebook 3 to 5 years ago. Organic reach will inevitably decline regardless of all effort of the publishers, and access to the audience will become more and more expensive. We have to deal with this tendency and live in the new paid world.
The second aspect which Instagram keeps working on and gradually implementing is the increase of viral properties. Unlike traditional social media, Instagram had practically no tools to “go beyond”. An average user receives content only from those he or she subscribed to, and it is practically impossible to get into one’s feed. The “Recommended” functionality was never popular and was formed based on the likes of one’s friends.
Today the situation is gradually changing. Instagram starts to recommend you new profiles and tries to attract more attention to its second tab, turning it into a full-fledged video portal and considerably increasing the reach of the posts with the biggest number of interactions. In a profile with 3.6K subscribers and average reach of 800-1,000 viewers a video presentation got 12.6K views and the number of subscribers grew by 60-80 a day against 10-20 on average.
In view of the aforementioned I would not exclude a possibility of recommended publications turning directly in the feed with comments like “three of your friends liked this photo”.
Stories – disappearing messages and posts “on air”. Obviously, Instagram decided to lure away a number of Snapchat users in 2017. Most importantly, it will introduce active links to Stories helping to generate traffic.
Unique and high-quality content will always reach your audience, however, in the last year the way to its hearts became more complicated and full of obstacles. Whatever changes are awaiting us in 2017, the only thing is clear – paid promotion will become an integral part of efficient advertising. Free ride is over.