When Instagram launched in 2010, it was a photo-sharing app with retro filters. Fast forward to over a decade later, and its transformation to a full-on marketing platform is nearly complete. From a resurgence of Y2K features to new forms of content creation, here’s what you need to know going into 2023.
Y2K Features Make a Comeback
It’s no secret that Instagram Reels dominate your newsfeed and explore pages, and as social media marketers, we see clients’ engagement rates skyrocketing from these short-form vertical videos. But Instagram is circling back on its OG content form: the static photo. Expect to see more photos when scrolling through your feed – thanks to the algorithm’s priority shift and re-balance of all content varieties.
Along with its algorithm prioritizing static photos again, Instagram is rolling out group profiles – comparable to Facebook’s group pages. Like its predecessor’s group pages, Instagram’s group profiles will allow multiple users to share content and build a community together on a single page – including stories, feed posts, and Reels – encouraging connection and conversation over similar interests.
Two more nostalgic features include music in static feed posts (looking at you, MySpace) and Notes in your direct messages, aka AIM Away Messages.
New Forms of Content Creation
On the flip side of Instagram’s revival of old-school features, the social media platform encourages creators to utilize its futuristic-like functionalities: 3D posts, Avatars, NFTs, and augmented reality (AR). Take your brand’s or your own personal digital identity to new dimensions and experiment with its virtual trends across organic social media strategies.
Another innovative form of content creation? Live shopping. While this sales phenomenon began with QVC and infomercials, studies project Instagram’s live commerce forums to account for nearly 20% of e-commerce sales by the next three years. And the strategy is quite simple: go live on Instagram to showcase product demonstrations, share expert tips, and virtually connect consumers with your product.
And lastly, video memes will take over the pop culture parody sphere. Just like the catchy, cute, viral jokes and trends we all know and love, memes in dynamic video formats will allow for deeper storytelling and a longer chance to engage with its sentiment.
While “aesthetic” plays a role in building brand identities on Instagram, the app encourages personalities to shine in authentic ways – from speaking candidly on Instagram Stories to bringing your voice to captions. For our industries, bartenders could share cocktail-making tips on Instagram Stories, hotel managers might contribute a quote on travel trends for a caption, or master distillers could go live from production facilities to share a behind-the-scenes look at the brand’s purpose, vision, mission, and values. In a nutshell: marketing messages are out, and authentic voices are in.