Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about the demise of Instagram.
Instagram started out with a unique proposition – it was the only channel really focused on sharing photos with your friends. However, over time, as it has added features such as stories, reels, and shopping functions, it seems to have lost a bit of what made it stand out.
More users are feeling like their Instagram feeds are losing value, now that they are seeing more suggested posts in their feeds from people they aren’t actively following, a lot more commerce on the platform, and a general shift in aesthetic, as well as growing awareness of the negative impact of constantly browsing heavily filtered photos on mental health.
So, trend forecasters have started talking about Instagram’s downfall – but we’re confident Instagram isn’t going anywhere. Here’s why.
Losing popularity doesn’t mean losing users
It seems like each new form of social media experiences a surge of usage and popularity, sitting at the front of what’s “cool” (with that largely meaning your parents aren’t on there). Then, the peak wanes – maybe because there is another new kid on the block taking users’ attention elsewhere.
So, popularity fades, the parents arrive, and people leave – or do they? The fall of Facebook has been predicted for years, but no one is really leaving – half of all Australians use Facebook every month, spending an average of 1.7 hours per day on the platform, according to Facebook.
Instagram is similar. There were 9,709,000 Australians using Instagram in March 2020 – that’s 38.1 per cent of the population.
Instagram is still a favourite
We carried out a quick pulse check with Zavy’s LinkedIn followers, and found that 50 per cent of respondents still vote for Instagram as their favourite social media platform.
The vibe shift on Instagram
We would also argue that Instagram, with its grids of photos, is playing a key role in the “vibe shift” everyone keeps talking about. Early oughties are back, and flash photography, the dissociated pout, and a grainy vintage look are all over Instagram.
Instagram is still the only major platform that allows people to share photos that add to their personal brand in a visual way. Recently, sharing photos has moved away from individual, highly edited images to the inelegantly named photo dump.
The now prolific Instagram photo dump is the latest visual trend, where collections of loosely connected photos are carefully candid, messy but still pretty. And while some Gen Zers have mocked the Instagram photo dump as “peak Facebook photo album”, this new style of curated candidness is part of the shift. As we move into more authentic forms of creative content on social media, the photo dump and its associated aesthetic will continue to play a prominent role in the social ecosystem.
Social media platforms are constantly evolving
It’s entirely expected that social media platforms change. They aren’t static. Instead, they are constantly evolving to adapt to cultural shifts, user needs, and technology performance.
Who remembers early Facebook feeds? A long list of minute-by-minute updates of the changes friends had made to their profile, constant updates about what people were eating, doing, listening to.
Once upon a time, Instagram was all about the filters. It had a logo that was a little brown film camera. Photos were added to people’s feeds in chronological order. The platform has changed massively since its early days, adapting to phenomenal increase in usage and user needs.
Each change to the algorithm or visuals can feel abrupt, but then users adapt too, and get used to it.
What does this mean for brands?
No matter how much Zoomers make fun of it, Instagram is here to stay. For brands it remains an important channel for connecting with their audience.
At the end of the day, social media marketing isn’t just about adopting trends and trying to look cool. It’s about having two-way communication with your audience and using this to build your brand.
So, understand where your audience is and connect with them there. That might mean Instagram is where you should be, or it might be you should be looking more closely at Facebook or LinkedIn. Ultimately, you need to know your audience – and not just listen to trends that say no one is on Instagram anymore.
For more insights into how your audience is responding to social content on different channels, try Zavy. You’ll get real time data on engagement and sentiment, as well as a custom dashboard which shows your position against key competitors. Find out about Zavy’s tools here.
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