Instagram has 2 billion users around the world, ranking as the fourth most popular social media network worldwide. It’s also the platform offering the highest ROI, both for growing an audience and for selling products or services. This is why all eyes are on the latest Instagram trends – they are key to developing a solid content strategy for business owners, social media marketing professionals, and creators alike.
This article has been put together by Business2Community to provide an overview of the Instagram trends in 2023, backed by statistics, case studies, expert insights, and original data from Instagram.
What are 2023‘s Instagram Trends?
With short-form video content bringing in a high ROI and users buying products directly on Instagram, the social media app has become a valuable marketing tool for many businesses and creators.
In HubSpot’s Global Social Media Trends Report, 23% of social media marketers said that Instagram was the best app for growing an audience. Similarly, 33% said the app offered the highest ROI when selling products.
To see this ROI, brands create engaging, authentic content that align with the new trends. For example, before 2013, Instagram didn’t have a video feature. Fast forward to 2023, and short-form Reels are one of the biggest Instagram trends.
Here are 10 Instagram trends to reach a wider audience and increase engagement.
1. Instagram Reels
Over 140 billion Reels play across Instagram and Facebook per day. These are short-form videos of a maximum of 90 seconds that enable users to discover new brands, and creators to grow their communities. Users can get creative while posting Instagram Reels as the app makes it possible to add music, effects, and voiceovers before posting.
Studies show that posting Reels is one of the best ways of developing an effective Instagram content strategy in 2023. Between January 2022 and May 2023, Instagram Reels had a 57.4% YoY growth for business pages, suggesting that businesses used Reels more frequently compared to the previous year. Among all types of Instagram posts, Reels also drove the highest average engagement, reach, and impression rates.
For example, the average reach rate of Reels was 30.81% in 2023, which is twice as much as carousels (14.45%) and images (13.14%). Similarly, Instagram Reels also generated 2x more impressions than the two other types of Instagram content.
Brands and creators also use Reels for Instagram ads. For instance, the gardening app Plantin conducted a Reels ad campaign to increase its trial subscriptions. Together with Instagram, the brand created an engaging video Reel, promoting the app.
At the end of the campaign, Plantin saw three times lower cost per trial subscription, 26% lower cost per 1,000 views, and 31% lower cost per app install. Here’s a screenshot from the Reel ad that helped get these results by making people install the app and sign up for a trial subscription.
2. Influencer Marketing
According to HubSpot, Instagram was marketers’ preferred social media platform for collaborating with influencers in 2023. In Influencer Marketing Hub’s The State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report, Instagram ranked as the second-best platform for this form of promotion, right below TikTok.
Finnish skincare company Lumene partnered with micro-influencers for the launch of its new products. The campaign included influencers creating Instagram feed posts, carousel posts, and two stories in exchange for a free product package that was worth €120.
By working with 88 influencers across Finland, the company managed to reach 156,048 Instagram users and got 21,551 likes.
Here is an example of Instagram content one of the influencers posted as a part of the campaign:
Another big trend across influencer marketing on social media was the preference for micro-influencers instead of macro-influencers and celebrities. Influencers with a smaller following see a higher engagement rate in their posts and have lower rates compared to macro-influencers.
In 2023, 39% of companies chose to collaborate with nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) and 30% chose micro-influencers (10,000-100,000 followers).
|Macro-influencers||100,000-1 million followers|
|Mega-influencers||More than 1 million followers|
3. User-Generated Content (UGC)
HubSpot predicted that in 2023, sharing user-generated content (UGC) would be one of the key social strategies brands would use to grow their audience.
User-generated content can consist of a blog post, video, image, testimonial, and of course, a social media post on a platform like Instagram. An example of a company that uses UGC on Instagram for brand loyalty and community building is GoPro.
By sharing photos taken by its customers, the action camera company showcases what its products are capable of doing. This way, GoPro gauges the interest of its target audience, who are most probably interested in photography, adventure travel, or nature.
Below is a screenshot from GoPro’s Instagram feed where it promotes its cameras through beautiful photos taken by its users.
4. Brand Partnerships
Instagram has many features for branded content, including partnership ads and collaborative posts. Both these features can increase reach. For example, if a creator collaborates with a brand, the partnership ad will enable the brand to boost the content. Similarly, collaborative posts appear in both the creator’s and the brand’s feed, which means that more people see the post.
In the 2022 Creator Earnings Report by NeoReach, 68.81% of creators said that their highest revenue source was brand deals. According to the same report, over 400 out of 2,000 creators used Instagram for monetization, which made it the most popular platform out of all the social media platforms. After Instagram, TikTok got the highest number of votes, with less than 200 votes.
A 2023 survey found that eight in ten marketers believe most brands will have a creator or an influencer as the face of their brand. Given Instagram’s popularity among both marketers and creators, the app will stay relevant for collaboration, sponsorship, and partnership opportunities.
5. Instagram Shopping
According to the Instagram Trends Research Study in 2021, 44% of users shopped weekly on Instagram, by using the app’s shopping features such as the shopping tags and the Shop tab. Although Instagram removed the Shop tab in February 2023, users can still buy products by clicking on tags on shoppable posts.
Here is an example shoppable post by Zara. Clicking on the Shop tag at the bottom left of the photo leads users directly to the black sweater, which they can buy immediately.
According to marketers, Instagram is the best platform for social selling, as it offers the best ROI and has well-established shopping tools, such as the shopping tag. Data from 2023 showed that 47% of brands were already selling products directly on social media apps.
Instagram and Facebook also use Meta’s Advantage+ shopping campaigns, powered by machine learning (ML) technologies. The Advantage+ products focus on helping companies make more sales and understand their target audience better.
Thanks to AI and ML, Advantage+ can tell which users are more likely to purchase via Instagram/Facebook Shop or via the website. This way, brands can use Advantage+ to integrate both features into the same Shop ad post.
Candle brand Homesick used this feature and decreased the cost per purchase by 18%. The photo below is Homesick’s Shop ad, powered by Advantage+. Clicking on the “Shop Now” button brings the users either to the Instagram Shop or the website, depending on their preferences.
6. Broadcast Channels
59% of social media marketing professionals said that behind-the-scenes content was among the most effective content types in 2023.
In the same year, Instagram announced broadcast channels, which serve as a great opportunity for creators to build a deeper connection with their followers. Using these channels, creators can share authentic content and behind-the-scenes moments, and host live chats with other creators.
Below is an example of a broadcast channel where a creator shared updates on tours through text and voice notes. In addition to these formats, broadcast channels also support photos and video content.
7. Instagram Carousels
A carousel post can include up to 10 photos or videos on Instagram, and makes it possible to share multiple posts at once. After Instagram Reels, carousel posts saw the highest average engagement rate in 2023. For profiles with more than 50,000 followers, these types of posts also drove the highest number of saves.
For both small and large profiles, carousel posts generated the highest number of comments, outranking Reels and images.
8. Gen Z’s Use of Instagram App
In partnership with WGSN, Instagram conducted a Trend Report to analyze trends defined by Gen Z. The report identified current trends related to fashion, beauty, Web3, and dating, which will help shape the Instagram content in 2023 since Instagram use by Gen Z is expected to increase.
Here are the key findings of the report:
- Social issues: sustainability, climate, and disability advocacy are very important for Gen Z. In fact, three out of four Gen Z social media users have been following an influencer who has a disability. According to the report, Gen Z will continue spending money on causes they care about, suggesting that brands need to post more about social issues to build trust with Gen Z.
- Virtual influencers: over half of Gen Z users planned to get fashion advice from AI influencers or digital avatars. Gen Z also searched for climate-proof products and sustainable fashion brands on Instagram.
- Creator economy: almost two-thirds of Gen Z wanted to monetize their social media in 2023, suggesting that they will search for opportunities related to content creation, UGC, and side hustles.
- Viral food content: 68% of Gen Z social media users enjoyed food content, and they would be likely to try food from another culture after discovering it online.
- Mixed media: Gen Z expected to hear more from their favorite influencers and creators in new forms of media, including podcasts. Keeping this in mind, Instagram features such as broadcast channels would be interesting trends for Gen Z.
- Dating and friendship: Besides Reels and Stories, Gen Z used Instagram direct messages actively to connect with friends and romantic interests. According to the report, Gen Z believed that DMs offer more transparency compared to dating apps.
9. Instagram Stories
In 2016, Instagram launched Stories, which are photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Stories are still relevant for businesses and creators of all sizes. From 2021 onwards, everyone became able to add links to their Instagram Stories, which had previously been a feature only available to users with more than 10,000 followers.
Creators can also use Instagram Stories to share behind-the-scenes moments or to engage their followers. With features like the “Add Yours” stickers, polls, and questions, it’s easier to create content relevant to the target audience.
For example, Gizem White, founder of the coffee account TurkishCoffeeLady, used the poll feature in Instagram Stories to get a sense of what her audience wanted. “I was able to see how people were reacting to my new products, [what] age group I was targeting, the demographics — and we had more than 100,000 impressions, which was amazing,” she said. By running polls, White was able to reach new customers as well as engaging her existing ones.
10. Funny Content
When it comes to the types of content that perform well on Instagram, 2023 statistics showed that 50% of users preferred funny content.
Another survey also pointed out funny content as the most popular type, with 66% of marketing professionals confirming that it was effective on Instagram.
In addition to this, more than 40% of users said that they enjoyed creative and informative content, and over 35% liked relaxing, inspirational, and engaging photos or videos.
How to Find Instagram Trends
While the above trends should be useful for marketers and businessowners, you should also know how to keep up with important trends yourself.
Instagram makes it easy to discover some trends. For example, it recently launched a new feature called Reels Trends for US-based professional Instagram accounts. Users can access trending content by tapping on the three horizontal lines on their profiles and selecting Reels Trends. Doing so helps find the trending audio and hashtags and share posts to reach more users.
Here are some other ways to find out about Instagram trends.
Instagram’s official account @creators posts about the latest Instagram trends for creators, including tips on which songs to use with Reels and how to incorporate text into videos.
Instagram for Business
Similar to the Creators account, @instagramforbusiness shares tips related to growing a business on Instagram. Following this account would keep businesses updated about the latest features on Instagram, including ads, Instagram stores, and developments related to AI.
In 2023, more and more users turned to social search instead of traditional search engines. 32% reported that they used social search to find ideas or inspiration.
By searching relevant hashtags, users can come across current events, influencers posting about trends, or competitors trying out new features. This can help get inspiration for future content ideas, try out new trends, or plan posts.
Podcasts and Social Media Experts
Experienced and informed experts spend time sharing updates and what they have learned about Instagram trends and those across other social media platforms. Matt Navarra’s social media accounts cover trends, algorithm updates, and case studies, for example. Meanwhile, a podcast like The Instagram Stories creates content regularly to keep you in the loop.
The Future of Instagram
It may seem like TikTok is taking over the social media space but Instagram isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
51% of brands that used Instagram in 2023 planned to increase their investment in the app. 23% of HubSpot survey respondents agreed that Instagram provided the best ROI, engagement, and quality leads, followed by TikTok (19%), Facebook (18%), and YouTube (15%).
2023 predictions on which strategies brands would use for their Instagram marketing were:
- Using the newest Instagram for Businesses features
- Writing informational captions to optimize Instagram posts
- Including links in Stories for social selling
- Sharing user-generated content (UGC)
Besides brands, Instagram will continue prioritizing creators, developing AI-driven features, and improving the Threads app, which is Instagram’s text-based conversation app.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, regularly holds Ask Me Anything sessions over Instagram Stories. During one of his sessions, he said that for the future of Instagram, all ideas would revolve around inspiring creativity.
Here are some key Instagram future predictions in detail, based on 2023 reports and Mosseri’s insights:
Creators Will Remain a Priority
Adam Mosseri defines a creator as someone whose personality is their brand, and who uses platforms like Instagram to turn their passion into a living. Creators are one of the priority audience segments of Instagram, and the platform constantly adds features to make it a better place for creators.
For example, in 2022 and 2023, Instagram launched Meta Verified and Subscriptions for creators. It is also testing a creator marketplace, where brands and creators can build partnerships more easily.
“If you want to reach a global audience unless you’re a long-form video creator, I think we’re the best option because we’re going to continue to focus on creators more than any other platform does,” were the words of Mosseri when asked about why a creator should consider Instagram over other platforms.
It will be interesting to see how Instagram will continue its investments in creators. For creators, the new developments will be key, since more than 50% preferred Instagram to market their content in 2022. These creators cover a wide range of niches on Instagram, with lifestyle, music, and beauty being the top niches for Instagram influencers in 2023.
More Announcements Related to AI and Generative AI
In another Ask Me Anything session on Instagram Stories, Adam Mosseri confirmed that generative AI is moving forward in Instagram, for both large language models and images, with more to come.
Instagram already uses AI to recommend content to users, but in the future, it will increase its generative AI features, such as AI stickers. With AI stickers, users will be able to write a text-based command for Instagram to create a relevant sticker.
On the business side, 97% of business leaders agree that AI technologies will help analyze social media data more efficiently, which includes Instagram content performance. Only 34% of creators said they incorporated AI tools in 2022, while 51% wanted to try them in 2023.
More Features for Threads
Threads was one of Instagram’s biggest announcements in 2023, with over 100 million users signing up in less than a week. Directly connected to Instagram, Threads accounts import Instagram data such as followers, names, and usernames.
According to Mosseri, Threads has a strong suit compared to Instagram: public conversations. “If you have something that you think is going to start a public conversation with people you’re interested in or with other creators in your vertical, in your area, or in your industry, Threads is probably your best bet,” he said in an Ask Me Anything session.
We will see more features of Threads in the future, including how it can be used to leverage Instagram and vice versa.