What do the next ten years hold for Instagram?
What do the next ten years hold for Instagram?

Instagram has recently hit its ten-year milestone.

Instagram has recently hit its ten-year milestone. Over the past decade, the app has become the world’s sixth most popular social media platform, with over one billion active users, and the birthplace of hundreds of cultural trends.

Over the last ten years, we have watched Instagram evolve from a simple photo-sharing service to an app that tries to encompass all its users’ needs from e-commerce to vlogs.

It is Instagram’s adaptability and ingenuity which will allow it to continue being at the heart of social media trends for the next decade to come.

Instagram’s evolution

Founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege, Instagram quickly emerged as a genuine contender to Facebook’s domination of the social media space and few were surprised when Mark Zuckerberg’s business purchased Instagram for $1 billion just two years after its launch.

Since this sale, Instagram has evolved beyond simple image sharing, in its pursuit to become a one-stop-shop for any social media users’ needs.

Instagram Stories launched in 2016, at a time when Snapchat was taking the social media space by storm. IGTV followed in 2018, and more recently, the app launched Reels, a long-awaited video-sharing feature labelled a “clone” of TikTok.

As well as countering competitors’ features, the introduction of Stories, IGTV, and Reels created more advertising opportunities for brands. Instagram is now a hub of social commerce, with the app generating $20 billion in ad revenue in 2019 alone.

With such a variety of advertising options, it’s unsurprising that TAKUMI’s recent whitepaper found that 55% of marketers have ranked Instagram as their favourite channel for influencer collaborations in the next 12 months.

Instagram is a hub of social e-commerce

Instagram has confirmed that it will begin testing in-app shopping on Reels later this year. Once established, this would mean that shopping is available on almost all parts of the platform, including the main feed, stories, live streams, and IGTV.

Nearly a fifth of marketers (18%) believe Instagram is the best marketing channel for ROI on influencer campaigns, higher than YouTube (18%), TV advertising (10%), and TikTok (6%).

Part of this faith in Instagram for delivering ROI is down to the wealth of options available for brands to drive conversions on the app.

Alongside ads, in-app shopping functions integrated seamlessly into IGTV, live streams, stories, and the main feed; mean consumers can view and purchase featured products at the click of a button.

It’s unsurprising that a quarter (25%) of 16–24-year-olds believe Instagram is the most likely advertising channel to lead to a purchase, higher than YouTube (21%) and significantly more than TV advertising (12%).

With Reels set to be the latest in-app shopping option available to brands, it appears that Instagram will continue to be the number one app marketers look to when launching an influencer campaign.

Championing creativity

However, users’ engagement with Instagram isn’t purely down to the introduction of new features. The content itself has also diversified since the app’s inception, attracting a wider variety of consumers.

Among consumers, Instagram (37%) was ranked as the second most common channel to engage with influencers.

Back in 2010, the first image shared on Instagram was a stray dog papped by Kevin Systrom. Since then, the content has evolved to include photos of grumpy cats, wild stunts, gorgeous wildernesses, daring fashion, and more or less anything you could imagine.

Underpinning this wide array of content is a theme that Instagram has championed over the last ten years: creativity.

Instagram has empowered people to think that their perspectives are valued and beautiful, which has inspired people to become more and more creative about how they choose to share their life, business, and hobbies.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of consumers aged 25–34-years-old believe that Instagram is more creative than both YouTube and TikTok.

The rise of diversity and political content on Instagram

The creative freedom which Instagram offers has in recent months led the app to become a hub for political content, with its ability to connect activists from around the world, highlighted during this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.

There is a growing interest among consumers for this type of content, with nearly half of all social media users (41%) saying they want influencers to voice an opinion on political, social, and ethical issues.

The introduction of Reels has given creators more choice about how they can create real and authentic content. Reels encourages influencers to create and share more real, spontaneous content on Instagram vs the polished, filtered photos that were popular in the past but have led to consumers experiencing some fatigue too.

Despite this, brands are cautious about working with politically active content creators, with over half (55%) saying they would be anxious about using an influencer who is vocal about social and political issues in a campaign.

Although marketers’ caution is understandable, they must recognise that Instagram has transformed beyond photo-sharing and as it undoubtedly continues to develop in the future, they will need to evolve their marketing content into the new areas of society it now incorporates.

What’s next?

Instagram has undeniably transformed social media by creating a whole new type of marketing and offering creatives around the world a vehicle to share their gifts.

In the next ten years, the app will continue to develop its industry-leading in-app shopping capabilities and look to cherry-pick the USPs of its competitors and integrate these within its platform.

With creativity at the heart of Instagram, we will see an evolution of content on the platform as creators continue to showcase their values and dreams to inspire others. Instagram will continue to be at the heart of cultural creativity.

Visit the TAKUMI Instagram page to see how our influencers are utilising the platform in some of our latest campaigns.

Similarly from our recent whitepaper, over a third (39%) said social media influencers have a greater influence on them if they

promote a social conscience or strong ethical stance.