Out with the old, in with the new.

If you’re running an ecommerce business, one key thing to always stay on top of is the latest marketing trends.

As we head into 2021, it’s important to look back at what campaigns consumers enjoyed, what worked, what didn’t, and what to expect going forward on all the platforms you’re marketing on.

With one billion active users worldwide, chances are that Instagram is on that list of platforms. This means you’re gonna want to know what the latest Instagram trends are to properly leverage them for your 2021 Instagram marketing efforts.

In this post, we’ll cover what’s trending on Instagram as we journey into 2021. That way, you’ll be equipped with all the information you need to tweak, adjust, and plan your Instagram marketing strategy accordingly.

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1. Instagram Stories: the Backbone of Influencer Marketing

Instagram Stories The very first Instagram trend has to do with Instagram Stories.

Even though it was launched just four years ago, it didn’t take long for it to cement itself as one of the top Instagram trends and win the hearts of Instagrammers all over the world. 

Today, it’s considered to be not just one of the platform’s most popular features but also among parent company Facebook’s best products.

Stories has become a particularly key aspect of influencer marketing, with nearly eight out of ten (78 percent) brands saying that Instagram Stories has had a massive impact on influencers’ content about their brand (Tribe Dynamics, 2020).

In fact, it’s an extremely popular tool among influencers—as many as 88 percent of them say they publish content on Stories regularly. 

Going forward, all signs point to an increasing use of Stories and it being one of the hottest Instagram trends in 2021: 63 percent of Instagram influencers started to use Stories “much more frequently” this past year. 

2. Usage of Reels on Instagram Expected To Rise

Usage of Reels on Instagram Instagram Reels, which allows users to create and edit short, 15-second videos, was launched in August 2020 and is available in 50 countries (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2020).

Since its introduction, it has been called many different things—”Facebook’s TikTok rival” and “the TikTok clone” among them. 

Given TikTok’s impressive growth and Reels’ similarities with it, it’ll hardly be a surprise if Reels becomes just as popular. Reels’ launch also coincides with a rough period for TikTok, which may launch it into one of the biggest Instagram trends to watch out for in 2021.

About a month before Reels was launched, India banned TikTok. This likely prompted TikTokers there to search for an alternative, which they may have found in Reels. Statistics show that the average time spent on Instagram by users in India has grown 3.5 percent since Reels was launched.

With TikTok now under threat in the US, there’s a high chance Instagram Reels will indeed be among the top Instagram trends of 2021.

3. Instagram Live To Live On

Instagram Live One of the fastest-growing Instagram trends over the past few months has been Instagram Live. 

As countries worldwide went into lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus, people took to digital channels to keep social. At the peak of the pandemic in April, Instagram Live usage skyrocketed 70 percent in just one month (Business Insider, 2020).

Analysts attribute it to the fact that humans are not wired to remain in isolation for long periods of time and are turning to social media channels to satisfy their need for social interaction. 

As we inch towards the end of the year and into 2021, the COVID-19 situation does not look much closer to a resolution with subsequent waves of infection hitting many countries. That said, expect stringent lockdowns to stay in place and Instagram Live to continue trending on Instagram and into the new year.

In-App Shopping Trending on Instagram With online shopping growing in popularity, alongside the number of Instagram users, one of the top Instagram trends to watch out for in 2021 is consumers shopping on Instagram.

Though Instagram may not be an obvious place to shop online, the terms “shopping” and “Instagram” there’s no denying there are commerce opportunities on Instagram: 36 percent of Instagrammers in the US list shopping as a hobby.

Fully aware of this, the platform is constantly launching new features to cater to consumers’ needs across the different stages of the purchase funnel.

As it stands, 70 percent of shoppers use Instagram for product discovery (Facebook, 2019). There are also 130 million users who learn more about products by tapping on shopping posts every month. 

With shoppers spending more and more time on Instagram, we won’t be surprised if in-app shopping starts trending on Instagram in 2021, more than it currently is.

5. Instagram’s Explore Tab

Instagram’s Explore Tab Part of Instagram’s efforts to keep users engaged while browsing has come in the form of its Explore page. It’s what the company uses to introduce previously undiscovered content to its users.

More than 50 percent of Instagram accounts use the Explore feature at least once a month (Instagram, 2019). With Instagram’s continuing efforts in making it more user-friendly, including redesigns and shortcuts to facilitate navigation, time spent on Explore and usage frequency will likely increase. 

This will make it an extremely attractive channel through which companies can grow their reach and brand recognition. That said, we’re expecting the top Instagram trends of 2021 to include competition among brands for visibility on Instagram Explore to boost engagement for their Instagram content.

TikTok, Twitter, and Gif Content Trending on Instagram Instagram may have started as a platform for images and images only, but that’s now history.

Browsing on Instagram today, you’ll see content that’s vastly different than the content that launched Instagram to fame years ago.

That’s thanks to cross-platform content formats storming into Instagram feeds, including memes, videos akin to TikTok dance challenges, gifs, special effects, and more (Hootsuite, 2020).

To adapt to the rising popularity of other content types and cater to users’ demand for them, Instagram was very quick to introduce new features that allow users to create similar—if not the same type of—content. 

This type of content currently trending on Instagram will likely stick around in 2021. Parent company Facebook’s recent purchase of Giphy and its plan to integrate it into Instagram is a clear sign of its plan to not let format be a limiting factor of the content Instagram users can create.

7. Use of Branded AR Filters

Use of Branded AR Filters Since Facebook made Spark AR (its augmented reality platform that allows users to create special effect filters) public in mid-2019, more than one billion people worldwide have used it. 

Brands were one of the first ones to jump on the technology to provide customers with a fresh shopping experience. This includes cosmetics companies allowing users to select the different make-up shades filters and apply them to their images to see how they would look like (Later, 2020).

Consumers can also “try on” different outfits or place objects in their houses without the need to even see them in person.

Given their potential, we’re expecting these branded AR filters to be one of the top Instagram trends in 2021 and one that companies will not hesitate to leverage as a marketing tool.

Carousel Posts To Continue Trending on Instagram A picture paints a thousand words. So imagine what multiple pictures and/or videos or a combination of both can do.

Instagram’s carousel posts have become one of its most popular post formats since its launch in early 2017. Today, its growth shows no signs of stopping. 

Soon after  its launch, just a fraction (three to four percent) of all of the content on Instagram were published as a carousel post. Fast forward three years to July 2020 and this figure ballooned to 19.4 percent (Marketing Charts, 2020). 

In 2020 alone, we see that carousel posts’ share of the total Instagram posts has been increasing month after month, so much so that analysts predict they’re on their way to becoming Instagram’s main form of organic content. 

If these figures continue on the path they’re on, there’ll be no doubt that carousel posts will be one of the top Instagram trends of 2021. 

9. Instagram’s Social Cause Feature

Instagram’s Social Cause Feature One of Instagram’s newest features is its fundraiser feature, launched in Q3 2020. With it, users can either start their own personal fundraiser or contribute to existing campaigns (Instagram, 2020). 

The tool was introduced in response to the slowing economy triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and is in place to encourage users to help and support struggling businesses.

In the first seven months of 2020 alone, more than $100 million was raised for those affected by COVID-19 on Instagram and Facebook alone and the company says it’s been seeing a solid wave of digital activism recently.

With economists forecasting the recession to last at least a few more quarters and definitely into 2021, we reckon this feature will gain traction and start trending on Instagram in 2021—if not sooner.

10. IGTV Takes Center Stage

IGTV Takes Center Stage Last but certainly not least on this list of Instagram trends to look out for in 2021 is the increased adoption of IGTV (Instagram TV).

Usage is likely to accelerate after Instagram announced plans to allow ads on their long-form video platform (Social Media Today; Instagram, 2020).

That makes it both more attractive for content creators to start producing longer videos for IGTV and try to make money off the ad opportunities, as well as for brands to get their names in front of fresh eyes to boost awareness.

According to reports, IGTV content creators are getting the same percentage of the ad revenue as YouTubers, which could propel Instagram into a potential competitor. 

Instagram has promised more IGTV expansions and features to be rolled out over the months so expect usage to gain momentum going into 2021. 

Conclusion

There you have it. These are the ten Instagram trends that you need to know about in 2021.

With these, you should be armed with enough information to craft an Instagram marketing strategy that will put you one step ahead of your competitors. 

Are you an Instagram marketing pro or simply an avid user? What do you think of these Instagram trends and which of them do you expect to really catch on?

Let us know by sharing your thoughts with us below!

Instagram Trends 2021

Here’s a summary of the Instagram trends you need to know in 2021:

  1. Instagram Stories will continue to be a key component of Instagram influencer marketing (Tribe Dynamics, 2020).
  2. Instagram Reels, launched in August 2020, may start gaining traction soon and become TikTok’s direct competitor in 2021 (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2020).
  3. At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Instagram Live usage skyrocketed 70 percent and will continue to be popular in 2021 (Business Insider, 2020).
  4. 70 percent of shoppers use Instagram for product discovery and 130 million users tap on its shopping posts every month to learn more (Facebook, 2019). 
  5. Over half of all Instagram accounts use the Explore feature at least once a month (Instagram, 2019).
  6. Cross-platform content from other social channels including TikTok and Twitter will feature more on Instagram (Hootsuite, 2020).
  7. Branded AR filters on Instagram have been used by more than one billion people since it went public and will go mainstream on Instagram (Later, 2020).
  8. Nearly one in five Instagram posts today are published as carousel posts (Marketing Charts, 2020).
  9. Instagram has announced a fundraiser feature for users to raise money for personal causes or contribute to existing ones (Instagram, 2020).
  10. Instagram now allows users to start making money from IGTV with the use of ads (Social Media Today, Instagram, 2020).

Want to Learn More?

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Instagram Trends and wish was included in this article? Let us know in the comments below!