Instagram Marketing Trends: How Different Industries Approach Visual Content in 2020

Haley Durkee
July 30, 2020
Last Updated On

We’re finally over the halfway point of, to put it lightly, a challenging year. For social media managers, finding the balance between selling and supporting their followers has been difficult. But, with a bit of creativity and a lot of hard work, many have managed to power through the pandemic with even stronger and more engaged communities. How did they do it? Dash Hudson used our trusty Boards segmentation tool to segment the top Instagram marketing trends of 2020 and find out how different industries approached their content strategies in the last six months.

More is More

For beauty brands, 2020 is the year of more. When global lockdowns struck communities, and people couldn’t see each other in person anymore, the question of cosmetics became centered on its purpose. Do we need makeup when we’re alone? Fans answered with a resounding yes. Maintaining a regular beauty routine has helped some keep a semblance of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic time—primarily through the lens of aspiration and self-care. Marketers responded with content that reflects these attitudes: imagery featuring piles of product was a popular choice across brands and resonated deeply with followers.

Work From Home

Consumer electronics brands have been in a unique position this year. The growing population is working from home, and the “in the house bored” crowds have relied on electronics to serve their needs. While the industry typically leans toward a high-octane vibe with its content—especially when it comes to showing off products in action—for 2020, brands have opted for household settings. Giving followers the ability to visualize products in their own living rooms, game rooms, and home offices has worked well for tech-focused marketers.


“Comfortable” is perhaps the best word to describe the 2020 fashion scene. With so few individuals able to leave their homes and most interactions taking place via video chat, fashion lovers have prioritized clothes that make them feel good—and this is reflected in their Instagram behavior. From Pradidas to Diordans and everything in between, the luxe sneaker seems to be the perfect way to maintain style without compromising comfort. Fans have responded to the designer sneaker in droves (Casablanca’s New Balance offering, in particular, is a huge hit).


If there’s one industry genuinely having a moment this year, it’s food. Everyone seems to be trying new recipes, stockpiling snacks, or totally savoring takeout. Thankfully, food brands on Instagram have kept up the momentum. 2020’s highly visual trend is the classic flat lay with a tasty twist. Bird’s-eye POV shots satisfy the cravings of hungry Instagrammers following brands across the spectrum from fast food joints to grocery store staples.


With limited travel opportunities, many have embraced the stay-cation—and home decor brands are stepping up to meet demand. What started as interior improvement projects for a chilly spring gave way to warm weather and sunshine ideal for landscape design. Homeowners flock to outdoor furniture sets for a lawn and patio revamp worth the trip. Sectionals and dining set situated in lush greenery or by the pool reach the most decor fans across Instagram.

Dynamic Duos

Publishers on Instagram opted to give readers the ultimate escape this year. Those who needed a break from the endless cycle of uncompromising news turned to magazines, and digital publications focused on the fun, lighter moments still happening around the world. Twosomes have been a top trend so far, with subjects ranging from favorite couples (read: Sophie and Joe, Gigi and Zayn), to families (Beyonce and Blue Ivy, Kate and Charlotte), to throwbacks (Serena and Blair, Posh and Becks), and the next generation of world leaders (Malala and Greta).

Hall of Fame

Before COVID-19, it was hard to imagine a world without sport. So, when basketball, baseball, hockey, and football all had to pause or postpone their seasons this year, it hit fans and networks hard. With no new game highlights to share on social media, teams created new strategies to engage and entertain audiences. Riding The Last Dance wave, sports brands on Instagram have used throwback photos and videos to captivate longtime fans—and it helped them score a highly engaged community.

How to Win Your Audience Over Every Year

If Instagram marketing trends reveal anything right now, it’s that brands need to meet followers where they are. This year has taught us the valuable lesson that content doesn’t live in a vacuum—understanding the context of our audience is crucial to delivering a positive experience on any channel. Start by listening to your community. Engaging with followers should be a regular practice to keep a pulse on what they care about. Next, take advantage of the right tools to streamline the content creation process. Finally, track your Instagram insights metrics and understand that your industry has its own unique social media benchmarks. And remember, if a trend doesn’t fit within your branding, you don’t have to jump on it. Do what feels right for you, and you could be the profile setting the trends for 2021.

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