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How Technology Could Change Instagram in 5 Years

Instagram is a hot social network - with more than one billion users. This, of course, makes it bigger than Twitter and LinkedIn combined, and a fantastic way for brands to reach their customers, considering engagement is much higher compared to Facebook and other platforms.

To jumpstart your account, you can buy real Instagram followers now (click here to learn more). But how could technology change Instagram five years from now?

1. Tremendous Blockchain Potential

With the blockchain, there will be less potential for bots to artificially inflate your traffic numbers. Social media will become much more transparent, and data will be protected from advertisers. You’ll be in more control over what’s shared with advertisers, and they won’t be able to buy the data as readily.

This is a major positive, as people are becoming more aware of data harvesting, and still remain concerned about identity theft issues related to the information that people make readily available on social media.

In 2016, Facebooked saw a 21% drop in original and personal status updates, because of increasing privacy concerns. Instead, they’ve turned to communicating with each other through memes and shared articles.

With the blockchain in place to protect the data and ease privacy concerns, we can expect that social media can return to its original intent - connecting people.

2. Shift in Demographics

Studies have shown 1 million new people joined social networks every day in 2017, and we will continue to see this number continue to grow as nearly ¼ billion people came online for the first time that year.

By 2020, we’ll see more dominance in Instagram, especially among older demographics. There are more people between the ages of 45 and 54 using the platform now than they are 13 to 17 year-olds.

3. Even More Product Research

Research from GlobalWebIndex shows that nearly 50% of Internet users follow brands they either like or are considering buying something from, on social media. Traditionally, search engines, online reviews, and company PR are the discovery channels, but that’s changing, and fast.

Search still leads the way for product research, but social media is catching up. 28% of users between the age of 16 and 64 from all over the world, admit to using social media during their online product research.

The number has grown every year for several years, so we expect it to continue to do so over the next five years. In certain markets, including Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Philippines, Kenya, and Morroco, social has already eclipsed search as the main source of product research.

It’s said that within the next year, we’ll see at least 50% of searches be made through images or speech. Networks like Pinterest and Instagram will become front and center here becasue pictures will become the new keywords.

4. Users Will Pay for Ad-Free Versions

One of the major appeals of social media is the fact that it has always been free. All the major platforms have been able to use user data and advertising to keep the services up and running.

But as people are constantly inundated with ads everywhere they go online (and in a lot of places offline, too) and are becoming increasingly concerned with privacy and data protection, it wouldn’t be surprising for us to see a premium version offered before 2024.

Users who are able would be willing to pay for a social media experience that’s free of ads (despite it boosting conversions), and perhaps most importantly, created by a story-driven experience. This means high-quality content, relevant to the user will become even more important.

In this way, users will exchange money for a service that’s ad free, but still gives them the space they need to store their digital memories while connecting with friends and family.

5. Privacy Concerns

That said, the ones who are willing to deal with ads to keep their experience free will still be concerned about privacy… and even the ones willing to pay for a premium ad free service will want to make sure their data is safe, especially if the blockchain doesn’t make its way to social media as predicted.

That means current and future social media companies will continue to offer advanced network and profile privacy than they have before. While the users need to feel safe because they are the customers, this has the potential to dramatically impact advertising dollars, further necessitating the need for a premium service, and creating issues for marketers and advertisers.

We’re already starting to see Facebook push for more transparent advertising as a result of their data breach and the possible Russian interference with the Presidential election. Now, whenever someone visits your company Facebook page, they can see any active promotions you’re running, in an effort to keep consumers educated about who’s doing what and how their data is being used.

6. Building a Legacy

The wonderful double-edged sword of the internet is that it cannot truly be erased. In the future, more people will want to keep their social media profiles active as a time capsule of sources. Even after they pass on, as evidenced by Facebook’s Legacy Contacts and memorial profile features that are already in place, people will want their social media profiles to stay intact, because they remain a living record of their lives.

As platform builders become more attune to users wants and needs, they’ll realize that posting on social media isn’t about a single moment in time, to be consumed and immediately forgotten, but rather an interactive experience with multiple facets - where many writers come together telling bits and pieces of their own (and others’) stories.

If they’re smart, current and future social media platforms will embrace a new normal for social networking - where we go back to communicating with one another. In the end, for it to survive, social media will have to return to the roots of personal connection, to make us feel like social media is an asset in our lives - rather than a hindrance or a negative thing.

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