While 2020 has lots in store for Instagram, one thing will remain key: hashtags. You can read up on the most popular hashtags from 2019 here. With that said, here are four predictions for Instagram in 2020: 

1. IGTV will see more series-style video content

IGTV was launched in 2018, so it's still a relatively young concept. It has seen many different uses — from live streams of events to Q&As with questions offered by viewers in real-time.

But one thing that brands will incorporate into their strategy for IGTV is the use of series-style content. Episodic IGTV is centered around a certain theme that taps into people's existing interest in such content, especially on platforms like Netflix. On-demand streaming lets people pick and choose what they see, and when.

The actual content of this will vary for brands, but it will essentially be an extension of their existing content marketing. It will help in knowing what your customers are interested in with regards to your industry. For instance, if you're an apparel brand, a regular series on summer style taps into your fashion-conscious audience.

2. Long-form captions will become ever more important

Instagram is a growing social platform, and it will continue to grow in 2020. There is no shortage of follower growth strategies available to brands to help tap into that growing userbase — considering hashtag strategies, geotags, sponsored posts and giveaways all form part of these strategies. But, in 2020, captions will take center-stage.

For many, Instagram is all about visual content. With its emphasis on high-quality photos and videos, it's a leader in aesthetic content that users love. But while visuals hook people in, it is the words that accompany them that keep followers returning for more.

Long-form captions that offer a compelling story connect with people on a personal level. It's a combination of beautiful visuals accompanied by a captivating narrative, describing their struggles with mental health issues or their thoughts on a socio-political issue, for example.

These narratives are human, personal and keep people returning to an Instagram account again and again in 2020.

3. Authenticity will become of paramount importance for brands

The last few years have been marked by a series of shocks and scandals for the world of influencers. Perhaps the best known (but by no means the only one) is that of Fyre Festival, in which several high-profile influencers were paid to promote the doomed festival without openly declaring their collaboration.

As a result, the trust between influencers and their followers has been eroded. People are wary of influencers, and consequently, there will be a greater emphasis on trust and authenticity in 2020.

Authenticity can take many different forms for many different people. For influencers, it can be a candid declaration of their emotions and opinions, as well as openly declaring any brand collaborations for their sponsored content. But for brands, it might be an honest acknowledgment of their internal business practices, admitting shortfalls and promising action.

Authenticity builds trust and trust fosters repeat custom. As a result, it's not only a prediction for 2020; authenticity is a must for brands or influencers seeking to honestly and sustainably grow their community on Instagram next year.

4. E-commerce will become numerous and ubiquitous

Instagram is already leading the way when it comes to e-commerce. From Shoppable posts and in-app purchases, the platform offers plenty for brands — both big and small — to sell products.

2020 looks set to expand those options even further. Instagram recently rolled out augmented reality filters that let customers virtually sample products before purchase. While this technology is nothing new, it's inclusion as part of Instagram's e-commerce indicates the platform's emphasis on e-commerce — one that will continue into 2020.

Additionally, Instagram has also reached out to a number of content publishers, including Condé Nast and Highsnobiety, to offer them the chance to use the platform as an e-commerce channel. This was previously only limited to typical retail brands and influencers, so this is another significant step for the platform in terms of e-commerce.

Examples of products currently on sale include branded merchandise or affiliate products, but 2020 promises entirely new possibilities for the direction of publisher-e-commerce via Instagram.

Instagram has already experienced dramatic growth in the past few years, and that shows no sign of stopping in 2020. The predictions above are just the tip of the iceberg for the platform, and so it's one well worth watching in the next 12 months.

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