Instagram is
evolving. What’s coming next?

Instagram’s latest announcement has left brands and creators hungry for more info, as we wait to find out what’s changing, we make our own predictions.

A few weeks ago – Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced that the platform is ‘no longer a photo-sharing app.’

  

But what does this actually mean to you?

  

While the social world speculates, we asked our Creative Director, Tyson Benton, what changes he predicts are on the horizon. 

More discovery, more recommendations

Mosseri talks about ‘recommendations’, showing content in the home feed from accounts that the user isn’t already following. This is essentially the Instagram version of TikTok’s ‘For You’ page and will give brands, creators and influencers more opportunities to be discovered by new audiences.

Currently, when the app is opened, you land on your home feed which is composed only of people you follow. We predict that this space will change to become a hybrid feed of people you follow and yet-to-be discovered content.

We predict that this merged feed will now be the first thing users see when they open the app. Much in the way TikTok opens direct into their For You page, this invites users to jump straight into scrolling.

Rumours are also circulating that content – especially video – will fill the entire screen. We could see profile information, captions and even the time being removed to present content in the most engaging and addictive way possible.

Evolution of the grid

A change to the grid is long overdue. Often described as a digital ‘shopfront’ for brands, the grid is used to display the best of the best, curated to reflect the brands aesthetic and image.

We predict that a mixture of lifestyle photography, video and a UI that will make items more shoppable, with fewer steps to check out.

The rows of square tiles may change too. A more flexible layout could be on the horizon. Much like the Discover feed is now, presenting content of varying sizes and dimensions.

Restricting outbound links

Instagram will implement features to make in-app purchasing more appealing – and easier – for users. They’ll do this by reducing the steps a user takes from product discovery to check out. They may also start restricting the use of website links altogether, flagging to users with an onscreen warning when they are about to leave the app.

Video for shopping

Hero product imagery will always have its place in social commerce, but since the push to video has been announced, an update in motion functionality is bound to happen.

64% of consumers say that watching a video makes them feel more confident about purchasing a product online, perhaps we’ll see Instagram adopt similar tech to Shopify. Making it easier for brands to upload and showcase their products in motion, 360 and 3D and potentially AR.

Messaging

Facebook Inc announced their intention to merge Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp in March 2019 and changes to brand messaging has already begun rolling out in the form of Facebook’s new Business Suite, an all-in-one platform to consolidate Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp business messaging. This suite allows brands and small businesses one place to communicate and share across multiple platforms.

We predict that we will see the introduction of functionality and a user interface that brings each of these messaging platforms closer together, further blurring the lines of difference between each service. Taking Facebook inc one step closer to full cross-platform messaging.

How can you make these changes work in a live event scenario?

With video being the biggest push amongst these potentials changes. The answer is pretty simple: make sure your live event is pumping out Reels friendly content.

We’ll be encouraging the brands and agencies we work with towards content experiences that output Reel-ready content. Think multiple cuts, jump edits with music – preformatted for Reels.

Although the term ‘Reel’ didn’t exist when these events happened, our Video Booth for DKNY and our work at the BRITs with Instagram are both examples of content output that are a perfect match for the channel.

Instagram is at a critical point in its evolution.

They’ve come a long way from being a simple photo filter, but as they evolve, will their desire to compete see them lose their core values and founding appeal?

One thing is for sure, Instagram seems to be destined to continue cherry picking the most addictive features and best functionalities of other emerging app giants.

And unlike its competitors it’s evolving into a hybrid social app that covers all bases. A place to shop, a place to be entertained, a research tool and a place to connect.

Could they be a jack of all trades and master of none? We think it’s more likely they’ll be master of all.

More importantly, will we get egg on our face? Or will our predictions crown us the social oracle?

We’ll await the next update to find out.