62 per cent of millennials say they are more likely to become loyal customers if a brand engages with them on social networks and, because of this, Instagram expects social media to be the go-to for brands next year.
In anticipation of this, the Facebook-owned app has been trialling Shopping on Instagram over the last year in the US, and is planning on rolling out the feature to more countries in 2018.
This is just one of the things Instagram thinks will be big in 2018.
Messaging, like social networks, is expected to be a good place to reach consumers. A Facebook study found that 64 per cent of people would prefer to message a business over picking up the phone or sending an email.
“Alongside the shift to mobile, we've seen people shift their preferred method of communication toward messaging — a communication style that is instant, direct, and personal,” said Amy Cole, head of brand development EMEA at Instagram. “People increasingly want to communicate with businesses in the same quick, informal way they communicate with their friends.”
The photo sharing app also expects video to continue to grow on its platform, as mobile devices are expected to account for 72 per cent of all online video viewing by 2019. Instagram sees video growing in the form of temporary formats like Stories, and expects brands to take risks on ephemeral formats knowing the content will disappear after 24 hours.
Meanwhile, small businesses are expected to be the ones driving marketing innovation on social media – as social networks make the marketing game a more level playing field, and they are no longer dwarfed by big brands with big budgets. On top of this, a growing number of niche businesses will continue to be fuelled by the number of niche communities across platforms like Instagram.
Finally, Instagram predicts the increasing detail of customer insights to lead to more relevant content which, in turn, will help drive more sales.
“While social metrics such as ‘likes’ and comments are an indicator of marketing success, the real metric that matters is sales or business action,” said Cole. “With brands being given more detailed customer insights, they can pinpoint actionable information about who their followers are and what content resonate better than others.”