A New Report Outlines Instagram Trends For 2020

As we close out the 20-teen and head into 2020 there is a lot of buzz around what the next decade will hold in terms of 2020 trends for Instagram. 

I love a good data story and the nice folks at Later and Forh have just dropped a report on “The State of Instagram Influencer Marketing in 2020”. It’s for sure worth a read but if you don’t have the time I’ve got your back. 

As Instagram changes the game the influencers are also changing their activity (grid posts are down), their editorial approach (longer posts) and how they are being discovered (doubling down on hashtags).

Let’s break down what I think these trends mean and the communication professionals looking to chart the course for their brands in 2020. 

  1. Static posts are on the decline; stories will hold increasing importance in 2020

The report predicts that the average influencer will only post to their Instagram “grid” twice a week in 2020. Since 2016, this is a decrease of 1 post on average. They, however, predict this trend will be bucked by the mid-tier influencers those with 250-500K followers will post an average of 6 times a week in an effort to appear in their followers feeds more often. 

Image Credit: Later/Fohr (2019 Report). 

This is happening for two reasons: 

  1. Influencers want to do more quality than quantity. They really want to be sure that every “gram” is going to hit with their audience as it all counts towards their engagement rate. They have adopted a “works smarter” mantra. 
  2. Influencer are increasingly using stories for community building and product placement posts. 

Communicators Takeaway:

This finding is important because of supply and demand. Influencers typically have a ratio of sponsored work (anchor content) and life events (filler content). Depending on the influencers following base and their audiences threshold for sponsored posts normally less than 15% . 

Influencer Logic Recommendation: 

Consider “stories” first and “gird” second when you are writing your influencer brief in 2020. 

  1. Editorial approval should hold equal importance to visual approval

If you’ve been noticing a lot more long form posts on Instagram lately this report confirms that the caption (not just the photo) is growing in importance. In 2020 the average caption length is estimated to grow to 405 characters around 65-70 words. 

Influencers posts are getting longer because: 

  1. The decline of the blog – people don’t want to read your blog to get the full story… that is too much work. 
  2. More influencers are using their captions to share knowledge, give a full review of something, or just rant it out. 

Communicators Takeaway:

As the posts get longer communication professionals need to spend more time ensuring the caption is meeting their key messages. The image is important, but we need to insure those captions are engaging and narrative driven. Influencer might suggest that the “bait” or “hook” not be in those first few lines. They know their audience so trust them. In 2020 we may see less of those all caps headlines in favour of conversational, narrative driven sponsored pots. 

Influencer Logic Recommendation: 

Be open to longer form posts by influencers in 2020. Let go of the hard sell and let the influencers narrative drive the editorial. 

  1. Researching appropriate hashtags will be of increasing value for your partners

Next big things is really an old idea – Hashtags. Influencers are paying more attention to using the 20 allowed hashtags to their advantage. According to the report hashtags are seeing a resurgence moving to an average of 8 in 2019. This is up 6 from 2016. 

Image Credit: Later/Fohr (2019 Report)

Hashtags are important because:

  1. They help content reach interested audiences.
  2. They can be used in “grid” or “stories” to boost engagement.

Communicator Takeaway:

Hashtags can be a great tool if used wisely. Although Instagram allows 20 the research shows that 10 well picked tags are the sweet spot. Influencers are going to use them but we might want to pay closer attention to just how we can leverage hashtags overall in our strategy.

Influencer Logic Recommendation:

If you have the time do the #hashtag research for your influencers. Suggesting hashtags within your brief that you have pre-vetted. Also, consider the important of not only growing your following but also building “equity” in your campaign or company hashtag. Consider hashtags as you build your strategy. Communicate them early and often to all parties involved to ensure people use the right ones from the beginning.  

Want help getting your influencer strategy honed in 2020. Let’s chat… click the link below for a FREE 15 min call with me.

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