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Instagram Trends and Forecasts for 2021

by Alena

The year 2020 has finally come to an end with all its problems and challenges. Yay! We believe that you are still full of enthusiasm and energy because the upcoming year will be rich in breathtaking discoveries, innovations, and new Instagram trends.

So, there is no time to relax. If you want to stay edgy in the digital world, you should keep track of new technologies and squeeze the most out of your Instagram. To predict what will be popular in 2021, we need to look back on the previous year and check out which approaches worked well and which of them slightly turned into anti trends.

In this article, we’ll review the most juicy Instagram designs, technologies, and marketing tools that will definitely help your business attract new clients, increase engagement, and drive sales.

Instagram Design Trends 2021

Visual Instagram trends change with the speed of light. Therefore, online marketers have to watch out for new tendencies days and nights if they want to stay ahead or at least not to become outdated. Let’s find out what design approaches promise to be trendy this year.

Before digging into design trends, take a look at where it’s all started. This is one of the first Instagram posts made by Kevin Systrom, Co-founder and former CEO of Instagram. Just imagine how much has been done during this time!

Uplifting quotes

Unfortunately, the past year has become one of the most stressful and hard periods up to now. And today, some of us really need additional support to get inspiration and minimize the anxiety. Share some encouraging quotes dressed in professional design to show your attention to followers and win their loyalty.

If you are not a professional designer you can always rely on the Instagram apps that offer a rich list of predesigned backgrounds and fonts. Or you can just pick up the bold color background and font that you regularly utilize for your branded content.

Retro designs

This trend proves that all new is a well-overlooked old. Groovy fonts and bold colors have returned and seem to stay with us for a long time. But be careful with vintage designs, as randomly used, they may ruin the whole consistency of your Instagram grid.

If you decide to dive into retro style, don’t limit yourself to static posts. Exploit retro vibes for GIFs and videos to stay up-to-date and attract new followers by cutting edge content.

Grainy Gradients

Color gradients for quotes or polls have been extremely popular so far. And we believe they will stay their ground this year as well. But there are high chances that up-to-date gradient content will be spiced up with grits and grains to have a chick retro look.

Even now, if you browse through the latest Instagram posts of huge brands and design studios, you’ll see dozens of gritty pics and GIFs.

The grainy effect is easy to achieve by pairing special ready-made filters with a gradient background. If this approach corresponds to your brand’s aesthetic, start experimenting right now.

Digital Stickers

You’ve probably already seen these catchy stickers all over Instagram or even used them for your own posts. This is an easy and yet effective way to insert some additional info in your designs without ruining the whole profile aesthetics.

Get ready to meet this trend in other profiles during this year. Luckily, there is room for your imagination. Create various stickers to meet your business needs, starting from brand tags, and ending with bottle-like labels.

Appealing animations

By adding animated elements to static Instagram posts you not only make them more eye-catching but improve their performance according to the Instagram algorithm. Therefore, this is a win-win combination that will be appreciated by users, bloggers, and brand owners in 2021.

Carousel posts

Yes, Instagram carousels still rock! We bet you already use them for your products’ demonstration. And this is the right choice, as carousels like no one other format can show your goods in all their glory, allowing even the pickiest customers to check up each end every detail.

However, today more and more brands utilize the power of carousels for their text content. On the one hand, it’s caused by the Instagram limits for text captions. On the other hand, text info powered by trendy fonts and eye-catching background draws customer attention better than long articles below images. Besides, carousels unlock unlimited opportunities for text formatting and decoration.

Old school interfaces

As you can see, retro fashion goes far beyond random image posts. Now, it’s become a powerful trend reflecting in the design of product interfaces. Yes, the 90s have returned! More and more websites, applications, and services are being developed with the retro design in mind. So, why not take advantage of this nostalgic tendency?

Instagram Technology Trends 2021

Fortunately (or not), the technological transformations are not so insanely fast as design updates. However, the progress doesn’t stand still. And while some services are being continuously updated with new features, others give the way to brand new technologies. Below you’ll find the ideas on which services will call the shots in 2021.

Instagram story trends

Compelling statistics: 62% of Instagrammers confess they have become more interested in a specific product or brand after noticing a Story about it.

Stories are rightfully considered one of the most successful products not only for Instagram but also for Facebook. The service is not going to give up its positions, having become indispensable for influencer marketing. On the contrary, Stories continue gaining popularity and will definitely prove the title of “the hottest Insta trend 2021”.

Reels popularity

What is Instagram Reels? This new Insta service allowing users to create and edit 15-second videos was launched in 2020. It has all chances to start gaining traction this year and even become a hot competitor to Tik Tok.

By the way, accidentally or on purpose, the Reels’ release coincided with the hard times for Tik Tok, thereby putting Reels in an obviously advantageous position.

One more prerequisite for the successful Reels’ future was the fact that India banned Tik Tok right before the Reels launch, thus encouraging Indian Tik Tokers to look for the alternative service. And no wonder that according to the latest stats, the average Instagram time spent in India has increased by 3.5 percent so far.

In-app shopping

Constantly analyzing user needs, Instagram has done a lot to provide its audience with a really great shopping experience. Almost every month IG releases new features to present flexible tools for brand owners and let customers make purchases right in the app. And if 3-5 years ago no one associated Instagram with shopping, today it has evolved into a robust e-commerce service.

Shoppable Instagram posts have made a revolution in the e-commerce world. Before that, brands and bloggers had to link their products with the ones on their site or specify store info in their Instagram BIO, thus losing potential customers at different stages of the sales funnel. But now, the era of in-app shopping has come, which immediately reflected in conversion growth.

To start selling on Instagram, one just needs to switch to a business account and follow the detailed Instagram instructions. And that’s it! According to Facebook research of 2019, 70 percent of customers use Instagram to find products they need.

Bearing these numbers in mind, we don’t doubt that the popularity of Instagram Shopping will continue growing and become one of the most powerful Instagram trends in 2021.

Explore tab

Did you know that the Instagram Explore tab is visited by more than 200 m accounts daily?

Up to now, brand owners and marketers seem to underestimate the hidden potential of the Explore page. Instagram released it to increase user engagement by offering new undiscovered content to its users, thus creating a fertile ground for businesses to expand their rich.

But the situation is being gradually changing these days. About 50 percent of Insta accounts open the Explore tab at least once a month. So, Instagram’s efforts aimed at improving Explore usability start paying dividends.

There are no reasons for Explore to fail in 2021 as it’s finally recognized as a cool additional tool for spreading content and growing the audience.

Social Causes Support

Instagram is not only about funny pictures and product images. It’s also about taking a stand. Businesses and bloggers translate their views and values to their audiences. As we can’t stay aside from local and global issues anymore. And if your values resonate with your followers, you win.

In 2020 Instagram released its Social Cause Feature – the fundraiser. With the feature, users can either run their personal fundraiser or support other campaigns. The tool was developed to encourage people to help struggling businesses during the pandemic.

IG-TV (making money)

The service was launched in 2018. Since then, its application has been downloaded about 7 million times. Low-key performance indeed. But Instagram is not going to give up, trying to breathe a new life in its long-form content.

The low popularity motivated IG-TV creators to review its features and monetization models, which resulted in the announcement of ads appear on the platform. And this approach seems to hit the target as it sounds like a win-win combination for both content creators and brand owners.

Apart from that, Instagram announces the plans to roll out more new features in the following 12 months to become a decent rival to YouTube.

More Instagram trends to watch out for in 2021

  • Influencer marketing. Today the vector of influencer marketing tends to shift to more relatable micro and nano influencers. Customers trust more to those who live the same life and have the same problems with their audience. Besides, relatable opinion leaders are more likely to answer comments, building customer loyalty. The narrow niche brands have already appreciated the value of such influencers, and in 2021 the trend will become even more powerful.
  • Hashtags in 2021 will remain on the top of search interests. Carefully selected themed or branded hashtags effectively help find the target audience. Besides, you can pick up to 30 hashtags for each Insta post.
  • UGC (user-generated content) is a relatively new trend with high potential. More and more brands rely on UGC for their feed posts and Stories, reaping double benefits. On the one hand, they increase customer engagement. On the other hand, they spent less on content creation.
  • Memes are not new. But during the last year, the year of hard challenges ad tons of negative info splashed to us from everywhere, memes have become a breath of fresh air. From cultural to situational, they are great mood lifters. Besides, they are highly sharable, which makes them an excellent growth hack tool.
  • Branded AR filters for Stories. The popularity of AR masks for stories shows that the Instagram community is absolutely open to all AR innovations. And we don’t see any roadblocks on the way for their development in 2021.
  • Instagram Live. The world pandemic has imposed its own rules. Isolation closed us at home, but everyone still needs live communication. That’s why the Instagram Live Usage has predictably skyrocketed up to 70% and will be growing this year.
  • Desctop adaptation. Since Instagram has stopped being just a platform for having fun, online marketers started to use it as a professional tool for business promotion. Therefore, the need for a more flexible and feature-rich desktop application is evident.


The new year brings new opportunities. Tons of groovy designs, cutting edge technologies, and promising revamps of old services will help any brand to find its own niche and get to the top.

Just keep your fingers on the pulse, constantly search for new information and services, and don’t hesitate to test them right away. The sooner you adopt new technologies, the more chances to stay ahead of your competitors you have.

Written by Alena
As a digital marketer and a copywriter, Alena is passionate about wrapping difficult things in simple words.