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Instagram Trends 2019: An Update

Earlier this year, we developed research around Instagram Trends for 2019, which we’ve since been presenting across our client roster and friends of OneFifty. In this, we outline the importance of Instagram as a social media channel, platform trends for this year, and reflect on consumer behaviour trends that emerged towards the end of last year, into this year. At the end of every quarter, we’ll be marking our own homework, by assessing the performance of our predicted trends.

So, which trends have kicked off since January?

1) We predicted that rumours would come true and Instagram Shopping – which previously included a tag showing the item name, price and link to the site to buy – would further develop into a standalone app, or integrate an in-app payment feature

What happened?

Instagram evolved its shopping feature on 19th March, with the release of Checkout, exclusively rolling out an in-app payment feature for its shoppable posts across 23 cosmetic and fashion brands in the US. Sellers will have to pay a fee and at the moment, it’s possible to buy one item per transaction at a time.

What does this mean?

Well, for me personally, this is not good news for my bank balance, but joking aside, Facebook’s step forward in its mission to create all-encompassing in-app services across its product suite, much like Tencent’s WeChat, is exciting. This particular move from Instagram, towards creating a near-seamless and personalised consumer shopping journey – aided by a combination of its algorithm and influencers serving visual inspiration to potential consumers – could be a game changer for eCommerce.

It’s early days, but it’ll be interesting to see how the platform will further develop around Checkout. Will an enhanced customer service infrastructure be developed, enabling consumers and businesses to have two-way conversations at ease (and in-app)? How will it rollout amongst smaller retailers; could sellers fees and the limit of one transaction per customer be an obstacle? And finally, will retailers want Instagram to be the chief owner of their customers’ data that’s collected from these transactions?

Regardless of where it goes from here, the app’s suitability to close the path-to-purchase loop is something that rang clear last week in stats (see below) disclosed at Retail Week Live by Instagram & it’s also something that Deutsche Bank is predicting will add $10bn revenue for Facebook in 2021

  1. 83% of Instagram users discover new products on the app

  2. 81% of Instagram users use it to research new products/services

  3. 80% of Instagram users use it to decide whether to buy products/services

2) #picsoritdidnthappen: we predicted that businesses would continue to create visual experiences that’ll spark consumers to document for the ‘gram

What happened?

This is one trend that’s here to stay. The power of Instagram to aesthetically motivate consumers to visit destinations that lifestyle influencers are bringing to their feeds is evident from particular destinations repeatedly cropping up, ranging from tourist destinations, like Porto’s Carmo Church murals, through to the latest brunch spots in London.

One business we called out in our trends research at the start of the year was EL&N, regularly featured as one of London’s most Instagrammable cafés – both in the press and through its regular appearance on the Instagram feed itself. The café is instantly recognisable for its indoor neon signs, flower feature walls and plush pink furnishings; the Insta-appeal of which has helped to not only drive footfall for the café owing to its expansion at the end of 2018, but to also boost its Instagram audience by 29% in the first three months of 2019.

EL&N and other trendy brunch spots aren’t in this alone though; the high street is literally blooming, with pubs, restaurants, galleries, cafes, and independent shops joining in on the craze with flower or fairy light facades and foliage interiors. To see for yourself, check out one of the 68K posts using the hashtag #chasing_facades.

Here are some of my recent favourites:

What does this mean?

A visually rich, ‘grammable interior or facade is a surefire way to encourage users to visit, document and share their experiences – in-so-doing generating exposure and reach for businesses. We all know that Instagram rarely lines up with reality though, so just make sure the customer experience matches up with expectations; I’ve already experienced or heard of others’ experiences whereby the reality didn’t match up, both in visual terms and customer experience and quality terms. The #picsoritdidnthappen trend in consumer behaviour is a business opportunity in itself though. Tourists are starting to booking professional photographers to capture photos of them standing in front of cities’ most instagrammable spots, while tour operators detail “photos from the week” as one of the benefits of booking a holiday with them.

3) We said that #newyearsameme / #newyearoldme at the turn of the year was indicative of a wider trend that would follow into 2019, through content promoting body neutrality and an “authentic” self, as opposed to “aspirational” self (aka real life vs. the life you never have)

What happened?

Our trends at the beginning of the year mentioned that mum influencers, together with Jameela Jamil in particular, are leading a stand against body shaming. In Q1, we’ve continued to see Jameela Jamil call out individuals through her personal instagram and @i_weigh movement – particularly the Kardashians – in her Stories and posts. This has seen #iweigh increase in mentions by 31%, while #bodyneutrality has grown by 16%. Jameela has taken this movement through to IGTV, where she’s shared a 30 min interview with Sam Smith about his personal journey with his own body image, generating 82K views – and he has since opened up more about this on his own Insta feed.

The mentality around body neutrality has also been reflected by media outlets adopting a similar tone, such as @Refinery29, sharing a recent meme comparing summer body vs. winter body (i.e. the exact same body), together with an image of “things you don’t see in mainstream porn” recently doing the rounds across mum influencers’ accounts in particular.

What does this mean?

Consumers feel empowered to share their real selves on Instagram, sharing their own body image struggles in an effort to normalise depictions and conversations around these. They look up to individuals who do so, which is something worth considering when planning partnerships with influencers; how authentic is that individual to your target audience? It’s not a new behaviour, but consumers want to see honest content and won’t be afraid to call bullshit on anything that doesn’t meet this expectation.

Before you go… which of 2018’s trends are still going strong?

1) 2019, the year of the vegan, has been further demonstrated by the fact that #veganuary2019 mentions climbed by 22% in Q1, while food outlets continue to tap into the trend, either through partnerships with influencers to curate vegan menus, or through new product releases, the most notable so far being the Greggs #vegansausageroll, garnering almost 6K mentions on Instagram. This is in line with the wider sustainability trend we’re seeing on Instagram, particularly focused on cutting down plastic use & dressing “smarter” and more “simply” by creating a capsule wardrobe of pieces that will last years. This has been seen through the @collyertwins sharing ideas for everyday looks and the like of @emmahoareau & our very own @natalieglaze talking about her style and approach towards sustainable fashion

2) #fortnite mentions have risen by 26% since January, partly a result of players sharing photo screenshots or video clips from the game, together with related tweets, and also partly a result of shots from the game being repurposed into memes for the ‘gram – another ongoing craze

3) #ASMR continues to grow, with dedicated accounts and content creators on Instagram. The hashtag increased in usage by 10% since January, to reach 6.4M posts. Food-related ASMR seems to be the most popular, with over half a million posts tagged #ASMReating. Instagram or not, the trend is here to stay and brands continue to use it as a means to reign viewers into a focused state, with Michelob’s advert using ASMR to create the antithesis of “usual” Superbowl halftime ads and in-so-doing receiving 14.7M views on YouTube so far

If you have any questions, or would like us to present our Instagram research to you and your team, please contact


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