8 Popular Instagram Trends of 2020 (So Far!)

We’re a little more than halfway through the year, which means it’s a great time to review the best Instagram trends of 2020 — especially the trends we predict will stick around!

From Instagram’s sharp turn into e-commerce, to hashtag challenges, carousel posts, and even branded AR filters, a lot has (already!) happened in 2020.

To help keep your business ahead of the game, we’re highlighting 8 of the biggest Instagram trends of 2020:

Instagram Trends 2020 #1: The Rise of Instagram Shopping

Instagram has always been a shopping destination of sorts — even before it launched any e-commerce tools.

But with the introduction of tools like Instagram Checkout, where shoppers can buy products on Instagram without leaving the app, and Facebook Shops, which allows businesses to build online stores on both Facebook and Instagram, shopping has become an even bigger part of how people both view and use Instagram in their day-to-day lives.

instagram trends 2020

Even as COVID-19 forced thousands of businesses to pause operations, shopping on Instagram is live and well. In fact, Instagram released more e-commerce features in the past few months than they did in all of 2019!

Here’s just a few that caused a stir:

  • Facebook Shops and Instagram Shop: both announced via Facebook Live in mid-May
  • Instagram Live Shopping: currently being beta-tested with a select number of businesses
  • Expansion of Instagram Shopping: a global rollout to more businesses and creators which was announced in late-June
  • and many, many more!

instagram live shopping

There are also plenty of shopping features that are in closed beta and set to be released more widely this year — like Instagram Checkout and Shopping from Creators.

shopping from creators

So it’s no wonder why businesses are investing in Instagram Shopping! Thanks to all of these features, businesses can build immersive digital storefronts to promote and sell their products directly on the app.

They can also market their products by partnering with influencers (via Instagram’s soon to be released Shopping for Influencers feature), getting products featured on the Explore page, running Instagram Shopping Ads, or by sharing Instagram posts and stories with product tags.

And these tactics work — according to internal data, 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.

Instagram shop

Instagram Shopping presents a huge opportunity for brands not only to influence and inspire shoppers but also to sell to them. If you’re an e-commerce brand looking to increase your online sales and you haven’t gotten started with Instagram Shopping yet, 2020 is definitely the year to do it.

Instagram Trends 2020 #2: Carousel Posts Level-up Information Sharing 

Instagram has always been a place of inspiration, but in 2020 we’re seeing a real shift in informational content coming through!

And the best way to share detail-dense content on Instagram? With carousel posts!

With the ability to share up to 10 images in one post, carousels are the perfect tool for storytelling, as well as breaking down heavy information into digestible bites.

Carousels posts have long been popular with brands looking for a fun, yet detailed, way to show off their products. Brands like Supergoop have mastered the perfect carousel to not only highlight their products but to also help followers make an educated purchasing decision:

But 2020 has seen a shift in brand sales and purchasing behaviour, and in its place, Instagram has become a space for social awareness and education.

Throughout May (and beyond!) the Black Lives Matter Movement saw millions of informative and educational posts on Instagram. And the carousel post has never been more valuable for mass information sharing:

We’re seeing brands, creators, and influencers alike use Instagram as a place to educate, and we predict this “destination education” trend is going to stick around!

From how to support small business through COVID-19, to brand’s social missions, and deep-dives into detailed topics, the carousel post has been a great asset:

And with the arrival of Instagram Guides, along with visual carousel posts and long-form captions, we could see Instagram be the new place to blog.

So if you’re a blogger, vlogger, or creator, it might be time to invest in carousel posts on Instagram and start micro-blogging your content!

Instagram Trends 2020 #3: Instagram Live Goes Mainstream

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force people to stay inside, some pretty interesting trends have emerged on Instagram — like how everyone is suddenly flocking to Instagram Live.

And no, it isn’t just you! According to Facebook data, Instagram Live views increased by 70% from February to March 2020.

instagram live

Of course, within the context of COVID-19, the sudden surge in live streaming makes a lot of sense.

Instagram Live broadcasts are one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent, and authentic way — especially when real-life get-togethers are impossible.

As brands and creators look for new ways to interact with their followers during lockdown, Instagram Live offers a practical, easy, and effectivey way to keep in touch.

instagram trends 2020

Given this surge in live streaming, Instagram announced several new features for Instagram Live, including a new button to upload your Instagram Lives directly to IGTV when you’re done, the ability to watch live broadcasts on desktop, and support for businesses and creators with Instagram Live Shopping and Instagram Live Badges.

While shopping and badges are both still in closed beta, we expect them to drive even more Instagram Live usage in the coming months.

instagram live badges

There’s no question that hosting a virtual event is a great way to provide a valuable service or entertainment for your audience to take part in, which can work wonders for building brand loyalty and trust.

Plus, you can strategically use your Instagram Live to promote your paid products or services and use Instagram Live’s built-in features to help drive traffic back to your site.

Instagram Trends 2020 #4: IGTV Takes Center Stage

IGTV has been on the up for some time now, but 2020 is the year the long-form video platform takes center stage!

Part of this can be linked to the improvements that Instagram made to IGTV last year, like allowing users to cross-promote their IGTV videos on Instagram and providing support for both vertical and horizontal videos.

But another major factor that is certain to drive-up usage even further is that creators can now start making money from IGTV with ads!

instagram monetization: make money on instagram

This is big news for the platform as it’s the first time creators will be able to make money directly from IGTV since its launch in 2018.

According to Instagram, the 15-second long IGTV ads will begin showing up in IGTV from a select group of partners and advertisers in the US with plans to continue expanding globally.

Look out for ads from brands like IKEA, Puma, Sephora this week as they, along with other test partners, will be the first to launch IGTV ads.

Popular creators such as Avani Gregg and Salice Rose will be among the first to test out the new monetization feature, with a wider, international release in the coming months.

But even if you aren’t a creator, IGTV is a great channel to reach new audiences, grow your engagement, and even capture leads!

Which is why we’re seeing so many brands create content for IGTV — like Lululemon and Mejuri.

Influencer marketing on IGTV is definitely a trend we expect to see more of in the future. And while a lot of brands are starting to take to IGTV, it definitely isn’t overloaded yet — meaning it’s a great time to get started with the platform and flex your video muscle!

Instagram Trends 2020 #5: New Instagram Stickers to Support Small Businesses

There’s no denying that 2020 has already been a challenging year for small businesses and startups.

With so many businesses forced to close their doors and pause operations during the lockdown and social distancing, Instagram became a lifeline for many brands to stay financially afloat.

And Instagram responded with a ton of great features and tools to help small businesses that went beyond shopping tools!

With the new Support Small Business sticker for Instagram Stories, people can mention the small businesses they love directly in the sticker to give their followers a preview of the account.

support small business sticker

When people use the sticker, their story will be added to a shared Instagram story, so their followers can see it along with other businesses that people they follow are supporting.

And it didn’t stop there! Instagram also released new stories stickers and profile buttons for buying gift cards, ordering food, and donating to fundraisers.

When a user sees gift cards or food orders, they’ll be able to tap to make a purchase through a partner site — creating an opportunity for small businesses to offer affordable products for their following, while still delivering a service!

Almost overnight, Instagram saw a shift from the mega-brands holding center stage on feeds and stories, to small businesses and brands getting tons of exposure from their supportive community.

Facebook also announced its small business grants program, offering  $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.

This shift towards supporting small businesses is a welcome change in 2020, and one we hope will continue. Along with the new Instagram Stories stickers tailor-made for supporting small businesses and the expansion of Instagram Shopping to more creators and businesses, we’re excited to see how the Instagram community will work together to weather the storm.

Instagram Trends 2020 #6: Instagram Challenges 

From #FliptheSwitch to #TrickShot and #DontRush, 2020 has been the year of social media challenges — and not just on Instagram! TikTok has also been hugely important in driving the challenges trend.

But the biggest driver has been… well, quarantine life.

As more and more people stay home to flatten the curve, social media challenges have blown up as a way to stave off boredom while having fun with friends and family.

In fact, challenges have been so popular that Instagram created its very own challenge sticker for stories to streamline the process of giving and receiving nominations for challenges!

Now if you see a challenge you want to participate in while scrolling your friends’ stories, you can join instantly by tapping on the sticker.

instagram challenges

This will bring you to the Instagram Stories camera where you can record your challenge and then nominate a few friends.

And while challenges are best suited for regular users, we’ve also seen a lot of brands take part in (and initiate their own) Instagram challenges.

Take the design app @over. Their monthly #OverDesignChallenge is a perfect fit for their community of design enthusiasts, while also increasing awareness of the app’s creative editing and design tools and features.

LA-based brand @cultgaia also jumped on the trend with their #cultgaialetsdance challenge.

For every dancing video posted on Instagram, CultGaia pledged a $25 donation to the No Kid Hungry charity.

Whether you’re simply taking part in a challenge or launching your own, Instagram challenges are a great way to keep boredom at bay while entertaining your followers!

Instagram Trends 2020 #7: Memes are Taking Over

Memes are really popular on Instagram — like really, really popular.

But for a long time, they were reserved for meme accounts — accounts on Instagram that exist for the sole purpose of creating and sharing memes like @fuckjerry@ladbible, and @mytherapistsays.

instagram trends 2020

But that’s beginning to change.

In the last year or so, brands and businesses have also started jumping on the meme bandwagon, breaking away from the highly curated feeds of 2018 in lieu of something a little more authentic and a lot more fun.

It was really just a matter of time. Memes are meant to be relatable, relevant, and highly-shareable so they’re perfect for increasing engagement and even driving product interest.

instagram trends 2020

Take @ritual for example. The modern vitamin brand often posts fun, pop-cultural memes that show off its ethos and brand values — all while engaging their audience in a relatable way.

The same is true for @hims. They often share playful memes that entertain their audience while drawing attention to their product in a peripheral way.

These are just a few ways that businesses can use memes on Instagram! Just remember that while they’re fun and super-versatile, it’s important to stay on-brand with the Instagram memes that you post.

Instagram Trends 2020 #8: Branded AR Filters

Ever since Instagram opened Spark AR Studio in mid-2019, the platform has become inundated with artists and designers creating their own unique effects for Instagram Stories. And the results have been, well, pretty amazing!

In case you’re unaware, Spark AR Studio is an augmented reality platform for Mac & Windows that allows you to create AR effects for mobile cameras. Think of it like Photoshop or Sketch, but for augmented reality.

Until last year, if you wanted to submit your own custom AR effects on Instagram Stories, you had to be accepted to the closed beta program… but now anyone can create and submit effects!

And one of the biggest trends to emerge from this is branded AR effects.

instagram trends 2020

Take @summerfridays for example. The skincare brand has several AR effects that you can access directly from their Instagram profile:

instagram trends 2020

There are many reasons why AR can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses — but one of the biggest has to do with freedom of creativity.

There are countless applications for the technology: cosmetics brands can use AR to let their followers virtually “try on” makeup, furniture brands can use AR to show what their products would look like in people’s homes, and fashion brands can use AR to create virtual fitting rooms, allowing people to try on shirts, sunglasses, or entire outfits to see how it fits their shape and style.

instagram trends 2020

Whether you’ve decided to create your own AR filter for your brand or incorporate some cool existing AR effects into your stories, it’s a great way to grow your account.

Instagram is Expanding “Shopping” to More Businesses & Creators

Instagram is expanding its Instagram Shopping features to more types of businesses — including creators!

The announcement came alongside a slew of other updates to Instagram Shopping, including the rollout of new “Commerce Eligibility Requirements.”

According to Instagram, once the update goes into effect on July 9th, any eligible business or creator account will be able to use shopping tags to drive people to their website to make a purchase.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Instagram is Expanding “Shopping” to More Businesses & Creators

Instagram Expands Shopping Features to Include More Small Businesses and Creators

Over the past few months, Instagram has announced several new e-commerce features to help small businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this update goes beyond supporting small businesses — it extends Instagram’s e-commerce features to a whole new category of users: creators.

According to the announcement, “whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merchandise, or a food blogger expanding into your own cookware line,” you can use Instagram Shopping to make sales on Instagram.

instagram extends shopping to creators

As part of this expansion of Instagram Shopping, Instagram is also adding new “Commerce Eligibility Requirements” that businesses (and now creators) must fulfill in order to qualify for Instagram Shopping.

Here are the updated requirements:

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #1: Comply With Facebook’s Policies

Firstly, your Facebook account and Page must comply with Facebook’s Terms of ServiceCommercial Terms and Community Standards, and your Instagram professional account must comply with Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

This is all pretty standard and mainly has to do with regulating the types of products and services that can be offered for sale on Facebook and Instagram.

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #2: Represent Your Business and Domain

A second requirement is that businesses can only tag products on Instagram from a website that they own and sell from.

In other words, you can’t use your Instagram account to sell another business’s products, like in affiliate marketing. Your account should only contain listings for products that are available for purchase on your website.

commerce eligibility requirements

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #3: Be Located in a Supported Market

As before, in order to use Instagram Shopping, your business must be located in a supported market.

Keep in mind that not all Instagram Shopping features will be available to supported countries. For example, Instagram Checkout is currently only supported in the United States.

You can find an up-to-date list of supported countries here.

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #4: Demonstrate Trustworthiness

Your Instagram account must also demonstrate trustworthiness, including an authentic, established presence.

According to Instagram, this may also include maintaining a sufficient follower base, although Instagram doesn’t clarify what “sufficient” means.

instagram shopping

Commerce Eligibility Requirement #5: Provide Accurate Information & Follow Best Practices

Finally, in order to qualify for Instagram Shopping, your account must provide accurate information about your products. For example, product information listed on Instagram cannot contain misleading pricing and availability information.

Your refund and return policies must also be clearly displayed and easily accessible from your website or on Facebook or Instagram.

Beyond these new requirements, Instagram also intends to update its sign-in flow to give clearer guidance to businesses.

New businesses will go through Instagram’s updated flow and existing businesses will receive an in-app notification in the coming weeks with instructions about how to comply with it.

instagram shopping

What do you think of Instagram expanding Shopping to creators and more businesses? Are you planning on using Instagram shopping tags on your posts?

Let us know in the comments!

Facebook & Instagram Launch “Shops” to Help Small Businesses Sell Online

Facebook just launched its biggest move into e-commerce yet: Facebook Shops!

Announced today during a Facebook Live session with Mark Zuckerberg, the new e-commerce feature will allow small businesses to build online stores on both Facebook and Instagram.

And in the near future, Facebook Shops will also allow small businesses to sell products through Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Messenger, and tag products during live broadcasts!

Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook newest e-commerce feature: 

Build a Store on Facebook and Instagram with Shops

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, the economic consequences for small businesses have been, well, pretty bad.

Just yesterday, Facebook released its State of Small Business Report, which surveyed 86,000 small businesses in the United States, and one finding was that 31% of small businesses have stopped operating as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

But according to Zuckerberg, one way that businesses are surviving during this period is by moving more online.

“We’re seeing a lot of businesses that never had online presences get online for the first time, and we’re seeing small businesses that had an online presence now make them their primary way of doing business,” he said.

“This isn’t going to make up for all of the lost business, but it can help. And for lots of small businesses during this period, this is the difference between staying afloat and going under.”

facebook shops

Small businesses are pretty important to Facebook. According to Zuckerberg, the vast majority of Facebook’s advertisers are small businesses, and it also makes up the biggest part of their revenue.

So it’s no wonder why the company has been so invested in helping small businesses weather the COVID-19 storm.

In March, the company announced a $100 million grant program for small businesses, they launched food delivery & gift card stickers on Instagram in mid-April, and, just last week, they rolled out a Support Small Businesses sticker.

But today’s announcement of Facebook Shops was the biggest of all — and probably Facebook’s most important e-commerce play to date.

In Zuckerberg’s own words: “This is the biggest step we’ve taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps.”

Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook Shops:

Introducing Facebook Shops

According to Zuckerberg, the basic idea behind Facebook Shops (or Shops for short) is that it allows small businesses to build an online store and sell things directly across Facebook’s family of apps, including Facebook and Instagram.

Business owners can create a dedicated “shop” section on their Facebook Page or Instagram profile and build out a catalog of products and services that visitors can browse, save, share, and even purchase.

Facebook Shops

And while every business, both big and small, can benefit from this, Facebook Shops is especially valuable to small businesses.

That’s because Shops are free and easy to create, fast, and, most importantly, they’re integrated across Facebook’s many apps, meaning once you set up your shop, it’s going to be available on your Facebook Page and your Instagram profile (and accessible from stories and ads). 

facebook shops instagram

Facebook Shops are also highly customizable. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand.

Facebook is partnering with Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics to help brands bring their products into Facebook Shops.

Businesses will be able to use these third-party platforms to manage their Facebook Shops, as well as any social ads related to those Shops.

Speaking on the partnership, Shopify said: “Facebook Shops allows Shopify merchants to get control over customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram, while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify.”

According to Zuckerberg, part of Facebook Shops’ customization will also come from AI and Facebook’s augmented reality tech.

For example, if you’re a clothing store that makes clothes for both men and women, you’ll be able to personalize your storefront to show products that are most relevant to the visitor, like men’s jackets or women’s jeans.

Visitors to your store will also be able to use AR to virtually try on things like sunglasses, makeup, and even furniture — a lot like Instagram’s augmented reality shopping feature that was announced late last year.

augmented reality shopping

And just like when you’re in a physical store and need to ask someone for help, in Facebook Shops you’ll be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries, and more.

And in the future, you’ll be able to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct.

facebook shops

Finally, Facebook is also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses you love by enabling you to connect your loyalty programs, like the points program at your local cafe, to your Facebook account.

“You’ll be able to easily see and keep track of your points and rewards,” according to Facebook’s announcement. “And we’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage, and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.”

facebook shops loyalty program

Something to keep in mind is while creating and using Shops is free, Facebook plans to collect a commission on orders that are made through the tool.

According to a TechCrunch interview with Facebook’s vice president of ads Dan Levy, the company plans to charge “small fees” on each purchase made through Shops — although he didn’t specify the rate or percentage.

We should know fairly soon, however, as Facebook Shops are rolling out today in the United States and should be available more widely in the coming months.

Instagram Shop, Live Shopping, and Other E-commerce Tools from Facebook

While the main focus of Zuckerberg’s Facebook Live session today was Facebook Shops, he also discussed some of the other e-commerce features Facebook is building to make it easier to buy and sell products online.

The biggest announcement was Instagram Shop, which will allow users to browse products directly from Instagram Explore and, eventually, will exist as a permanent button on the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.

According to Facebook’s press release, once the feature rolls out, you’ll be able to “browse selections from your favorite brands and creators, filter by categories like beauty and home, and purchase the looks you love all in one place.”

Instagram Shop

Facebook also plans to launch a new Live Shopping features across Facebook and Instagram, which will allow you to shop on Live in real-time.

According to Zuckerberg, more than 800 million people engage in live video daily across Facebook and Instagram, and a lot of that includes product tutorials and launches — so there’s already a strong e-commerce culture attached to live video.

But with Facebook’s upcoming Live Shopping feature, businesses will be able to “tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.”

live shopping

Facebook and Instagram are already big shopping destinations, but Facebook Shops is bound to open a floodgate of new opportunities for small businesses!

What do you think of Facebook’s new e-commerce features? Let us know in the comments!

How to Use Instagram’s New Support Small Business Sticker

There are lots of ways to support small businesses during COVID-19, including using the new Support Small Business sticker for Instagram Stories!

Announced just yesterday, the new sticker was created by Instagram to help people discover and support small businesses during COVID-19 — and it’s already getting a ton of use.

Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram’s new support Small Business Sticker for Instagram Stories:

How to Use Instagram’s New Support Small Business Sticker

Ever since COVID-19 took hold globally, Instagram has been laser-focused on providing tools and features to support small businesses. There’s the food delivery & gift card stickers Instagram rolled out in mid-April, Facebook’s new small business grants program, and a lot more!

And now they’ve announced a new Support Small Business sticker for Instagram Stories!

support small business sticker

With the new sticker, people can mention the small businesses they love directly in the sticker to give their followers a preview of the account. When people use the sticker, their story will be added to a shared Instagram story, so their followers can see it along with other businesses that people they follow are supporting.

This is a great way to help businesses reach new customers and stay connected to the people they serve.

How to Use Instagram’s Support Small Business Sticker

To use Instagram’s new sticker, open the stories camera, and snap a photo or video as you normally would.

Once you’re happy, open the stickers tray and select the Support Small Business sticker.

support small business sticker

Next, type the name of the small business you want to support.

support small business sticker

You can tap the sticker for more options and styles.

support small business sticker

And that’s it! Once you hit publish, your story will be added to a shared Instagram story, so your followers can see it along with other businesses that people they follow are supporting.

support small business sticker

When someone views your story and taps the sticker, they’ll see a small pop-up with details about the business you tagged.

support small business sticker

The business you tag will also receive a notification and can choose to repost the content to their own stories or send you a DM to say thanks.

If you’re interested in checking out all of the tools, features, and resources that Instagram has launched to help small businesses during COVID-19, you can check out their directory here.

And if you have an Instagram business profile, you can also check out the Business Resources section of your account (at the top of your profile) to stay informed about the latest tools and resources that can help during this time.

business resources instagram

What do you think of Instagram’s new Support Small Business sticker? Let us know in the comments!

Fundraise for Nonprofits & Charities with Instagram Live Donations

Starting yesterday, Instagram Live Donations will make fundraising for charities and nonprofits a cinch!

Now when you host an Instagram Live, you can choose from hundreds of nonprofits to host a fundraiser for, with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity.

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up Instagram Live Donations!

Fundraise for Nonprofits & Charities with Instagram Live Donations

Instagram Live Donations: What is it & How Does it Work? 

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram has been working hard to find ways to bring communities together, combat fake news, and now raising much-needed funds.

Today, Instagram released a brand new feature to Instagram Live that will allow you to choose a charity or a nonprofit to donate to.

 

Now when you host an Instagram Live, you can encourage your followers to donate and lead a conversation on why you care deeply about this issue.

Or if you are a charity on Instagram, it’s a great way to connect with your followers and explain how their donations are being used.

How to Use Instagram Live Donations  

Setting up Live Donations is really simple — just follow the steps below to set started!

  • Tap the camera icon in the top left of your Instagram Feed to open Instagram Stories
  • Swipe all the way right until the Live camera is open
  • Tap Live at the bottom of the screen and select Fundraiser to choose a nonprofit to support
  • That’s it — your Instagram Live will begin with a dedicated box at the bottom of the screen highlighting your charity

Once you begin your Live broadcast, you can see how many people are supporting your fundraiser and the amount of money raised in real-time.

You can also tap View to see a breakdown of your donors and individual contributions, plus you can give a wave to say thank you!

Instagram also announced that 100% of the money raised through the donate function goes directly to the nonprofit — unlike a lot of fundraiser platforms, Instagram is not taking a cut from the donations.

Instagram Live Donations Shared on Instagram Stories

To make Instagram Live Donations even more social, Instagram partnered with Brazilian community illustrator @leonatsume to create a custom “I Donated” sticker.

When you donate to a nonprofit fundraiser on Live or in Stories, you can now get access to the new sticker that you can use on any of your stories, but only for a limited time.

When you use the sticker, your story will be added to a combined Instagram Stories post for your followers to see, to spread more awareness, and hopefully raise even more funds.

This shared Instagram Stories post will appear at the front of the line in your Instagram Stories feed on your Home page — that’s prime real estate to give a shoutout to a good cause.

This new feature, along with Instagram’s latest release of Instagram Live on desktop will make bringing communities together a lot easier.

So it might be time to kick off your first Instagram Live for a good cause!

How to Use the New Challenge Sticker on Instagram Stories

Social media challenges have been hugely popular in 2020 with everyone from Drake to the cast of Friends jumping on the trend.

But coordinating a social media challenge isn’t always that simple. Do you have to wait for a nomination? Are there other ways to join in? And how do you nominate other users?

The new sticker streamlines all of these steps! Here’s everything you need to know:

How to Use the New Challenge Sticker on Instagram Stories

How to Use Instagram’s New Challenge Sticker

From #FliptheSwitch to #TrickShot and #DontRush, 2020 has been the year of social media challenges — and not just on Instagram! TikTok has also been hugely important in driving the challenges trend.

But the biggest driver has been… well, quarantine life.

As more and more people stay home to flatten the curve, social media challenges have blown up as a way to stave off boredom while having fun with friends and family.

But until now, there hasn’t really been a “standardized” way to give and receive nominations for challenges.

But Instagram’s new challenge sticker could change that!

Now if you see a challenge you want to participate in while scrolling your friends’ stories, you can join instantly by tapping on the sticker.

Doing so will bring you to the Instagram Stories camera where you can record your challenge and then nominate a few friends — it’s as simple as can be.

Here’s how to use the new challenge sticker for Instagram Stories:

Start by opening the stories camera and recording your challenge. Once you’re done recording, open the stickers tray and tap the challenge sticker.

instagram challenge sticker

Next, type in the name of the challenge (you can also browse through Instagram’s challenge database by typing in keywords like “don’t rush”).

instagram challenge sticker

Finally, nominate a few friends by tagging them directly in the story.

instagram challenge sticker

And that’s it! Anyone you tag in your story will be notified by DM and they can either re-share it to their own stories or tap the sticker to attempt the challenge themselves.

Note: If you come across a story with a challenge sticker being used (and you weren’t tagged in the story!), you can tap the sticker to browse through other people’s challenges or you try the challenge yourself.

challenge sticker

Are you a fan of the new challenge sticker for Instagram Stories? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Instagram Checkout: Everything You Need to Know

Instagram Checkout was first released in 2019 to just a handful of mega-brands in the US and after a year of beta testing, we could soon start to see it in our feeds worldwide!

The Checkout feature allows users to make a purchase without ever leaving the Instagram app — creating a streamlined, 2-tap process to converting Instagram followers into loyal customers.

To help you prepare, we’re taking a deeper dive into the benefits of Instagram Checkout. Plus, we share 5 top industry tips to drive maximum sales with this new feature!

Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Checkout

What is Instagram Checkout?

Instagram Checkout lets users buy products from brands *directly* on Instagram — without leaving the Instagram app!

With Instagram Checkout, customers can tap to view a product from a shoppable post and then continue to the payment process, all within Instagram! All they have to do is enter their name, email, billing information, and shipping address the first time they check out.

Checkout first launched in March 2019 with just 26 brands (including ZaraRevolveWarby Parker, and Nike) making up the original beta test group.

Fast-forward 12 months and hundreds of brands across the US are now trialing the new checkout feature — with huge names like SoulCycleSteve Madden, and Hollister in the mix.

But Instagram Checkout isn’t open to all brands and it’s currently only available to shoppers based in the US. However, given Instagram’s recent progress in the e-commerce space, it’s likely we’ll see this feature continue to roll out across the US (and beyond!) in the not so distant future.

Speaking to Glossy, Dan Gardner, CEO of digital creative agency Code and Theory, explains that  as more businesses gain access to the feature, the more successful it will become.

“If the [in-app Checkout] feature rolls out to everybody, it will have some level of success. Consumers will get more used to it and [brands will] see a bigger lift happen. Brands won’t necessarily replace [their] own e-commerce channels with Instagram Checkout, but it will be another meaningful way to convert,” said Gardner.

Mike Karanikolas, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of early adopter Revolve, shared how Instagram Checkout has been a success for the brand so far, but isn’t currently a big part of the company’s business.

“We’re excited about the long-term opportunity of it,” he said during the brand’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February.

Instagram has also already made it possible for a select number of influencers and content creators to drive sales through checkout on behalf of brands — creating a complete e-commerce marketplace.

With Instagram’s Shopping for Creators feature, influencers and content creators can now add product tags from their brand partners to their Instagram posts and stories that users can tap on and pay for directly within the Instagram app.

There currently is no affiliate model in place for influencers driving sales on behalf of brands through Instagram Checkout — but savvy influencers and creators are likely to be charging more for this extra level of product endorsement.

With over 200 million users visiting at least one business profile every day, and 83% of users discovering new products and services on the platform, it’s no surprise that Instagram is making moves to connect the dots between brands and shoppers.

And while Instagram is still in the process of rolling out some of these features, the future looks promising for brands, businesses, and influencers looking to make sales with Instagram Checkout!

What Are the Benefits of Instagram Checkout for Business

There’s no doubt that Instagram Checkout comes with a ton of benefits for businesses and brands on Instagram, and even more so if you’re an early adopter of the feature!

The ability to drive your audience from browsing to purchasing in just a few quick taps can have a huge impact on your conversion rate as it creates a seamless experience for your customers.

Plus, early adopters of Instagram Checkout can benefit from all of the extra exposure opportunities within the Instagram app.

For example, when users click on the “Shop” tab from the Instagram Explore page, there are various curated edits that showcase products from Checkout-enabled brands.

Instagram’s new @shop account (with over 200K followers) also features brands that are embracing Instagram Shopping tools — creating a huge opportunity to reach potential new customers.

However, despite such obvious advantages, Instagram Checkout might not be for everyone.

For some, Instagram’s transaction fees may be a cause for concern. According to their Business Help Center, the selling fee is 5% per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less.

And Instagram Checkout can also mean brands lose out on valuable customer data (such as emails) as all communications are handled by Instagram rather than the brand directly.

Luckily, there are additional ways to drive traffic and make sales on Instagram!

For example, the link in your bio is super easy to find and readily clickable, making it one of the most valuable traffic-drivers on your Instagram profile.

And the good news is, with Linkin.bio by Later, you can turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page that updates with every new post you share.

drive traffic from instagram

This means you can share multiple links to your products for every Instagram post you publish.

Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?

Wondering if you should switch to an Instagram creator profile?

In late-2018, Instagram announced that it was rolling out a new kind of Instagram account, created specifically for their MVPs: Instagram influencers and content creators.

Instagram creator profiles are similar to business profiles, offering users exclusive features, analytics, and more.

But there are some big differences too!

In this post, we explain how to set up an Instagram creator profile and look at the pros and cons of making the switch: 

Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s Creator Profile

Instagram influencer marketing is big and getting bigger — in fact, according to AdAge, it now accounts for at least $2 billion in annual marketing spending in North America.

But it hasn’t been without its hiccups.

Before Instagram announced its new creator profile, influencers had to use business profiles to access their account insights, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and more.

What they lacked, however, were features like advanced growth insights and tools to monetize their Instagram content.

Ashley Yuki, an Instagram product manager, acknowledged this in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, stating that the idea behind Instagram’s creator profile was to “create this space where we can now start to specialize the experience for the needs of creators.”

By switching to a creator profile, influencers and creators would get access to flexible profile controls, simplified messaging, and more growth tools.

instagram creator profile

But is this actually the case? Are the features worth making the switch?

Read on to find out!

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #1: More Growth Tools

One of the biggest concerns for Instagram influencers is understanding their follower growth and trends on their account — so it makes sense that Instagram creator profiles are designed with analytics in mind.

For starters, Facebook launched its new Creator Studio dashboard last year, which includes an “Insights” tab to help creators better understand their audience and how people are interacting with their content.

Within the Insights tab, you can view Activity Insights to see what actions people take when they engage with your account. It also tracks the reach and the total number of impressions of your content over the last 7 days.

instagram creator studio

You can also view Audience Insights with information about your followers and audience, including their gender, age range, and location.

instagram creator studio

While many of these analytics are currently offered on Instagram business profiles, the Creator Studio dashboard makes it easier for users to access their metrics directly from their desktop.

Instagram creator profiles also get access to daily follow/unfollow data, which will make it easier for influencers and creators to map new and existing content to net follower changes (and therefore see what’s resonating and what isn’t resonating with their followers).

instagram creator: follow and unfollow

Previously, influencers looked outside the Instagram app for follow/unfollow data, until Instagram’s API changes disabled many third-party apps.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #2: Simplified Messaging

Instagram influencers are bombarded with DMs, ranging from “where’d you buy that top?” to collaboration requests, and more.

As you can imagine, this can be really overwhelming for influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers — how do you manage all of those messages?!

This is another issue that Instagram has attempted to address with the creator profile.

instagram creator profile

Creator profiles have more DM filtering options (including three new tabs: Primary, General, and Requests), allowing them to prioritize messages from brands and friends, or rank them by relevance or time to make sure they never miss an important request.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #3: Instagram & IGTV Scheduling

Instagram Creator Studio also offers publishing tools for both Instagram feed posts and IGTV. This gives creators a unified place to manage their presence and content across both Facebook and Instagram.

To get started click “Create Post” in the top-left of the page (you should see options for both Instagram Feed and IGTV):

instagram creator account

The publishing flow is slightly different for Instagram posts and IGTV videos. Below we’ll cover how to schedule posts to your Instagram feed.

After you select “Instagram Feed,” a window will open on the right of the screen where you can upload your image (or images in the case of carousel posts), write your caption, add a location, tag accounts, and crop your images.

instagram creator account

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #4: Flexible Profile Controls

On top of having more control over who is messaging them, Instagram creator profiles also have more control over how they’re being contacted.

Creator profiles can designate their preferred method of contact on their profile (including call, text, and email), and have more flexibility on what they choose to include as a CTA on their pages.

instagram creator profile

By giving creator accounts more control over how they’re contacted, influencers will be able to filter out “cold” messages and spend more time engaging in meaningful interactions with brands they prefer to work with.

The new profile controls are a way to give Instagram influencers more control over their profiles, and the connections they make on the platform.

Instagram Creator Profile Feature #5: Shoppable Posts

Shopping on Instagram has been around for a while — but it’s only recently that it was opened up to influencers and creators.

Announced in mid-2019, Instagram creator profiles can now share featured products in their organic posts and stories. And it works almost exactly like regular shopping posts from businesses.

As a creator, when someone taps a product tag on your post or a product sticker in your story, they’ll be taken to a product description page where they can complete their purchase.

instagram creator profile: shopping

Before this feature was released, influencers and creators were fairly limited in how they could promote other brands and products.

In terms of process, influencers would usually tag the brands they were promoting, add details in the caption, and then respond to countless comments and DMs.

With the ability to tag products in their posts and stories, influencers can now get back to expressing themselves and sharing what’s on their mind, which should make their followers happy too!

Note: Keep in mind that creators can only feature products from brands that have approved access to their products.

instagram creator profile: shopping

Creator profiles are also gaining access to Instagram’s highly coveted checkout feature! According to a Glossy article, influencers that have partnered with brands on paid Instagram posts are now able to tag Checkout-enabled products in their own feeds.

While this feature is currently being beta tested with a handful of businesses, we expect it to be more widely available this year!

Instagram Business Profile vs. Instagram Creator Profile

Like Instagram business profiles, creator profiles have access to a number of exclusive features and in-depth analytics, but there are also some big differences between the profile types.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences:

With an Instagram Business Profile You

CAN:

  • Get access to Instagram Analytics about your followers and posts
  • Promote Instagram posts as ads
  • Add links to Instagram Stories

CAN’T:

  • Go private on Instagram

With an Instagram Creator Profile You

CAN:

  • Get exclusive access to the Instagram Creator Studio on desktop
  • Access creator-specific analytics, including follow/unfollow metric and engagement stats
  • Filter your Direct Message inbox
  • Tag products from brands directly within a feed post

CAN’T:

  • Connect your Instagram to any third-party apps

Wondering if you should switch to an Instagram business profile or Instagram creator profile? Find out with our handy flowchart:

Which Instagram Profile should use quiz

Is the Instagram Creator Profile Worth the Switch?

There are unique advantages and disadvantages to each Instagram profile, and it ultimately depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your account.

Of course, if you’re an influencer or creator that’s actively trying to monetize your content and build more partnerships with brands, switching to a creator profile could be hugely beneficial — especially since we expect Instagram to continue rolling out new features this year.

However, as we described above, there are some downsides to making the switch.

Have you switched to a creator profile? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!