Instagram is the fourth most visited website globally and is a massive hit with Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha. 85% of Instagram’s audience is under 45, so if you’re targeting them, this is the place to be. As a platform, Insta is laden with marketing tools. It can boost brand awareness, improve B2B/C engagement and increase sales. But what are the Instagram marketing trends for 2024 and beyond? Let’s go!
Swat up on the Instagram Algorithm
Posting a pic and hoping for the best won’t help you on a hugely competitive platform. So it’s time to swat up on the Instagram algorithm. Knowing how content is ranked, delivered and in what order across user feeds, the Explore Page, the Reels feeds, hashtag pages and more will help you to create content that works. In short, the Instagram algorithm is designed to present users with content they’re most interested in and a whole bunch of techy stuff happens to make this possible. In fact, Insta CEO, Adam Mosseri, has talked a lot about content ‘ranking.’ And this means a strategy is necessary. Sadly for marketers, the ‘algorithm demands’ keep changing. But as a rule for 2024 and beyond, you should prioritise the following:
High-quality content is always a winner as it’ll encourage brand engagement including likes and comments, all of which give your content more chance of being shown to anyone who interacts with your brand in the future. But original content will rank higher. So make sure everything you put out there is unique to your brand. Mosseri commented:
If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something that you found from someone else. We’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content.
Use original audio for Reels, come up with branded hashtags and captions that are distinct to your business and embrace unique ideas in 2024. This ‘Year in Monzo’ initiative is personalised for each person through the app and is branded from start to finish. This leaves no doubt of the originality of this content.
Engagement has been hugely important for Instagram rankings in 2023 and will continue to be for 2024 and beyond. Mosseri explained how Instagram helps to “spark connections between people over what they find” and is not a “lean back experience.” In other words, Instagram favours content that inspires conversations. To get that much needed engagement, don’t be afraid to ask questions, host giveaways or create ultra-shareable posts. Check out this great example of engagement in action from Starling Bank. As part of a Christmas Giveaway, they asked one question a day for a week. The right answers were in with the chance of bagging some great prizes, with people encouraged to leave Insta comments. Genius.
Respond to DMs and Comments
This strategy is also about engagement as by responding to DMs and comments, you draw consumers in and encourage them to interact with your brand. Being responsive builds trust with followers and helps to give your content the authentic, genuine twist that modern consumers are looking for. In a world where AI and chatbots are becoming increasingly prevalent, you still need to humanise your content. And the algorithm loves it. You can keep the comments on posts flowing too, with inputs that sway the conversation in a slightly different angle. It’s all about being actively engaged in human communication.
Top Tip: Make the most of ‘Reply Reels’, a feature expertly swiped from TikTok. This gives brands and creators more opportunities to meaningfully engage with their audiences. When a user leaves a comment on a public Reel, the poster of the Reel can reply to it with another video, creating a dialogue with the commenter.
Don’t Give Up On Photos
Instagram started off as a photo sharing site. But was quickly overtaken by video. After a petition of angry content creators and marketers, Insta made algorithm changes that prioritise both photographs and video. The focus for 2023 was to ‘deliver to all’ and allow users to discover ‘amazing things’ when they use the platform. So, don’t give up on high-quality images as well as video as you create your new strategies. In 2024, use interactive stickers to entice engagement, and show up on camera to help humanise your brand.
Top Instagram Photo Editing Trends For 2024
- Authentic, unedited pics. Anti-perfection is the way forward for 2024, so don’t think you have to become a Photoshop expert or retouch everything. Even if your CEO looks a bit worse for wear, leave it. An out of place hair adds charm.
- Desaturated hues and lowered contrasts rather than bright and vivid colours. It’s all about a slightly moodier, understated vibe.
- Text overlays. You can do this in Create mode for Stories or Reels, using in-house fonts. This is great for adding context including product descriptions to a still image.
- Grainy, high-flash photography for a touch of nostalgia.
- Photo dumps. More and more brands are maxing out Instagram’s Carousel feature to casually showcase their favourite snaps from an event, or time period. Such photo dumps look like a last minute effort to showcase a brand but are effective at attracting viewers. Be sure to use the right captions and hashtags to draw in a crowd.
- Music in carousels. Yep it’s here and we’re loving it!
Another huge Insta trend that’ll continue well into 2024 and beyond is cool collaborations. Collaborative posts allow for two or more accounts to post the same content and share the likes, comments and other engagement-boosting analytics. This helps to extend reach and makes it easier to be seen by your collaborator’s followers. Connecting with another brand is great for brand awareness and can help lift up your company by association.
Look for brands or influencers with like-minded goals and visions as this will come across as genuine rather than over staged and fake. Make sure you agree on image, messaging, hashtags, texts and timings for a slick operation. Anything that requires regulatory sign off needs approval from both sides before going live. This is especially true in the finance space. You should also look for brands that prioritise engagement, as the more comments generated, the more algorithms wins you’ll get. Check out Charlotte’s article on creating a powerful Influencer Marketing Template.
Cute, Humorous Content
73% of 18-24 year olds in the U.S. and 61% in the U.K. see social networks as a form of entertainment. So brands should keep this in mind as we approach 2024. While doing a sudden 180 and changing your tone of voice is a no-no, playing around with cute, humorous messaging is already a part of branding for many brands. To keep your content funny, fresh and fabulous, think about:
- Working with trending content. Has there been anything in the news that might spark those much needed conversations? Are there any funny challenges you can embrace? Staying current is a great way to draw in a crowd looking for escapism from the real world online. Check out Monzo’s take on the recent news reader ‘counting’ fiasco which made news in the UK. Now that’s one way to promote a marketing initiative. Trending categories include Media, Fashion, Music, Arts, Fitness, Photography, Food and Travel. Even if your business isn’t in these categories, you can still pull these elements into your content.
- Using funny imagery and captions. Working with humour doesn’t mean being inappropriate, brash or shocking your consumers. You can weave it into your strategy with click-worthy images, memes and videos in a more subtle way. Atom Bank addresses the very serious topic of mental health – with a cheeky and amusing twist. Remember, you need to stop scrollers first before they’ll read your messaging. So a funny image can work well.
- Seasonal content. This clip from Elf is perfect for a festive Rooster Card promotion – just don’t forget those all-important calls-to-action and tie in any videos, Reels or snaps in with your overall marketing message.
At Contentworks Agency we manage Instagram accounts for Europe’s finance, fintech, tech and leisure brands. With a team of expert content writers and social media managers, we can help you reach those all-important 2024 social media KPIs. Book a free Zoom with our team to get started.