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We’re into the final months of 2018 and we’ve seen some big changes from the folks at Instagram in the last bit. From IGTV to new AR filters and other fancy features, the hardworking people behind the app are leaving no stone unturned in creating an engaging and enjoyable user experience for everyone. Unlike it’s sister platform, Facebook, we’re still seeing a large amount of organic reach from Instagram making it a great way to advertise your business and interact with your audience. Based on what we’ve seen this year, we’ve compiled a list of things we believe should be an important part of your Instagram strategy in 2019.

#1 Vertical Video

Remember when we all thought vertical video was a bad thing because it didn’t capture the subject matter well? If you’ve been on YouTube or social media for a while, you’ve likely seen banter between people about not putting their phone sideways before filming something… Well, the folks at Instagram are here to shake things up and make vertical video cool again. Say goodbye to landscape, portrait orientation is here to stay after all! Instagram’s stories and IGTV content are all vertical based and they’re creating a huge impact on the way we use the app. More and more brands are creating vertical video just for Instagram and it’s paying off thanks to how engaging the app is. Because of this shift towards vertical video, YouTube and Vimeo have now begun to support vertical video as well. If you think about it, it only makes sense from a mobile user experience. Being able to use your mobile device in an upright manner is convenient and makes for easy navigation. Instagram is leading the mobile revolution in making vertical video cool again! To help you get into creating more vertical video content, we’ve come up with a few tips:

  1. It may seem obvious, but hold your phone upright when recording video! This makes for a vertical orientation and aspect ratio to create your awesome new vertical video content.
  2. If you’re looking to create widescreen content at the same time, shoot widescreen content on your camera and use your phone to create a vertical version simultaneously. This way, you’ll never miss a moment and have a cohesive collection of content for both orientations!
  3. If you forget, you can always crop landscape content later on into a vertical shape. Apps like Adobe Spark will let you crop and format content vertically for instagram.

Uploading widescreen content to Instagram for your story or IGTV and praying the crop will magically work out rarely works. You’re almost always better off cropping it yourself to ensure the right things are in focus.

#2 Augmented Reality Filters for Instagram Stories

Augmented Reality or AR for short is becoming an increasingly popular trend across many social media networks and applications. Who doesn’t love making cool things happen to their face or videos from time to time? This year, the big trend for brands will be making custom filters as a promotional campaign. Making a cool filter that people want to use will be huge for brand exposure, with the rise in the number of people and influencers creating Instagram story content. The Facebook AR Studio enables marketers to create unique AR effects for story content to promote their brands. If you’ve got a cool idea for an AR filter, now is the time to create it!

#3 Shopping on Instagram

We all know Instagram is a powerful platform to engage an audience, but did you know it has some features that are actually great for driving conversions as well? Instagram and it’s shoppable posts are a great way to showcase your products in a unique and inspiring way. It takes a bit of set up, given that you need to connect it to a shoppable Facebook Page that has been set up with Big Cartel or Shopify. Once that’s out of the way, you can tag your products in your Instagram posts and start raking in the sales! New for 2018 is the ability to tag your products in your Instagram Stories as well. Thanks to the ability to tag products in our posts and stories, social marketers now have the creative freedom to showcase their products in a way that speaks to the brand their working with and drive conversions in a more effective way than ever before.

#4 Ads in Instagram Stories

It’s pretty incredible to think that Instagram stories get the same amount of traffic as the traditional Instagram feed now. With over four hundred million people viewing stories everyday, if you’re not utilizing stories as a part of your social strategy, you’re missing out! Thanks to their time-sensitive nature, people want to see what their friends and pages have posted before it disappears for good. Ephemeral content was one of the largest new drivers of engagement in 2018. Given that Instagram stories are still generating results and yielding a large amount of traffic, advertising in the stories section of the app is becoming a very lucrative way to reach your audience, grow your following and drive conversions. The challenge with advertising in Instagram stories is mainly creating vertical content and giving it an organic feel. If you look at most story posts, they’re either using a front-facing camera or feature text and emoji captions overlaid on the image. Adding content like this to your story ads is a great way to make it feel organic and see a better return on the ads that you run.

#5 Instagram Name Tags

Here’s an awesome new feature that’s sure to help grow your Instagram account! Instagram’s new Name Tags (much like Snapchat’s snapcodes) are a scannable image that links to your profile when scanned with the Instagram camera. Simply swipe right, scan another person’s name tag and boom, you’ll be directed to their profile. If your business has a physical location, it would be great to have some stickers made of you Instagram Name Tag for your customers to scan. Well, there you have it! From what we have noticed, we feel these will be the biggest upcoming trends for Instagram in 2019. If you’re looking to use Instagram as a tool to generate engagement and drive conversions as a part of your social strategy, Konstruct can help!

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Joey Reinhart

Content Specialist

Entrepreneur, social media marketer, web developer, cyclist, student, and volunteer. These are all titles that can be used to describe Joey. He has years of experience working with organizations of all different shapes and sizes to help achieve their social marketing goals. Joey has a vast skill set and is continually educating himself to stay on top of digital marketing trends.