- What’s been happening to Instagram
- Most recent changes to Instagram algorithm
- Why these changes are important to affiliate marketers
- Six predictions for affiliates working with social media in 2018
What is happening to Instagram
2017 brought much Instagram-related hype. In early July, accounts of thousands of app users got somehow ‘melted’. Because of a bug, quite a few accounts were unavailable and appeared to be deleted for several days. The community reacted immediately and vigorously (even The Verge posted a dedicated article), adding up to the discussion over how Instagram was no longer what it used to be.
If you thought the reaction a bit extreme, just keep in mind that it had been adding up since the new rules-changing Instagram algorithm was introduced almost a year before that. Most users hated it. They never forgave the app for introducing it in the first place. So they were – and still are – using any occasion to show Instagram their disapproval.
But in truth, the app benefited from changes it had made. It hit the 700-million user mark in spring.The average time people of all ages spend in the app had gone up about 20% and other markers show that Instagram got bigger than ever. Yes, the clear & easy-to-understand chronological feed was replaced by an algorithmic one, but the change seems to be for better. After all, it is a good thing to never miss a photo or video from the person/brand you care about, even if they were posted over 12 hours ago.
Why you, should care about any of this? Because Instagram is gradually gaining weight and becoming a major social media network. If the tendencies prevail, it will pretty soon be playing in one league with Facebook.
Recent changes to Instagram algorithm
In so many ways, Instagram has been copying Facebook’s approach and is pretty much moving in the similar direction. It introduced the videos feature, ‘Snapchat style’ stories, hashtag following, and – most importantly – business accounts as opposed to personal ones. Facebook did all those things years ago and we already can judge what comes out of such changes in long term.
At this point, Instagram is heavily promoting the idea that people who handle businesses should go ahead and switch to a business accounts. This social media network added tools to check additional stats, to help determine audiences age, preferences, prime time, etc. Plus, ‘the insiders’ say that such coming out will be good for the account exposure, due to the algorithm setting. But who can guarantee that in foreseeable future an Instagram representative won’t deliver an Interview like Zuckerberg did recently, and say something like ‘we built Instagram to help people communicate to friends, not to companies’.
Why these changes are important to affiliate marketers
Before it happens though – and we believe it will at some point – the users still have time to make the most out of Instagram’s ongoing policy. Until 2018, Facebook had been the primary (sometimes the only) social media marketing platform for small businesses. They built activity around it, gathered communities, delivered news and marketed the customers by its means. Now that the Facebook business pages are facing little to none organic exposure because of the announced policy shift – other social media platforms will take its niche. Mainly Instagram.
Here is why it is important to you, if you are an affiliate. Instagram has the widest reach and high engagement, it does not have strong competitors and is doomed to become a primary social media marketing platform if Facebook drops the ball. Do not wait till this happens and increase your Instagram focus now, before all others do.
Top 6 predictions for social media affiliates in 2018
For the aforestated reasons, we believe that Instagram is going to considerably increase its value as a social media traffic. But there’s more predictions we can share:
1. Age of Stories.
Instagram Stories is increasingly becoming a popular tool for companies, as they offer more opportunities to drive additional traffic and interact with customers. Not only «swipe up» or «see more» work now, but also «Insta Stories Highlights» is now a great way to show your products and drive additional traffic. How exactly? Well, if you publish content on a blog or website, you can use the highlights feature to draw attention to your latest posts. Here is how an AliceandWonder use their highlights to drive traffic to promotions for spring, new arrivals, etc.
2. Live videos are in.
Nutra brands and e-Commerce offers with their immediate, hot offers – ONLY here, ONLY now. They will try to push users watch live videos to create more personal bounds with brands. Hence, “Of the moment” stories will reinforce the upsells and rise up the customers LTV.
3. Nutra and e-Commerce for top verticals.
According to surveys, Nutra and e-Commerce will be top verticals to prosper in 2018 driving even more sales on Instagram. In 2016 Instagram added the clickable links to posts, in 2017 #instastories links appeared – this year we will witness deepened Instagram and Shopify cooperation. «Shop now» content is a growing trend in the world of e-Commerce, and it’s no surprise Instagram is at the forefront of this trend. There’s a huge demand from users to shop the products bloggers and influencers advertise right in their accounts. It is just a matter of time when we’’l be buying our beauty products and healthy drinks on Instagram.
4. Low organic reach and more real connections
In 2018, it will be completely OK for brands to have low organic reach on Facebook, with most businesses relying on paid Facebook promotion campaigns to get their content seen. This shift will influence the affiliate marketers everyday routing as well. Before, they preferred sending out offers in a spammy way. Now, on Facebook they will have to really connect with people, just like in real life. The more active they are online, the more traffic, leads and sales they will be generating through visual content. No more bots, no meaningless comments! Social medias are applying smart decisions that will put a stop to bots activities.
5. A lot more paid promo campaigns
The new Facebook algorithm is pushing businesses hard towards launching paid ad promos. Many affiliates will switch to AdWords. As if foreseeing that, Google has recently created an online school to educate marketers doing paid ads.
6. The «brand» influence will grow.
Branding helps build a reputation and grow authority in the field. Affiliates who are promoting their products with no brand foundation do focus on short-term gains and may leave a ton of money on the table. Because even on Instagram where organic reach won’t disappear in 2018 it will be a lot harder to achieve high engagement without any paid promotions or strong strategy.
With all this said, we of course understand that online marketing world is full of surprises. What may seem obvious can turn out tricky. So, do you agree with the notion that Instagram is copying Facebook’s approach? Is it not too brave of us to incline that Instagram will replace Facebook as the primary social media marketing platform for small businesses? Please Leave a Reply and share your opinion with the world.