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The Fall of the Instagram Aesthetic

"Culture is a pendulum, and the pendulum has swayed." - why Thai content creators should say goodbye to the perfect 'plandid'.


Are you currently asking yourself: "what the heck is a plandid?"


Short for "planned candid", the plandid is photographic trend that has swept across social media within the past 5 years and it's all about appearing natural in the most unnatural way possible. However, Kommune's data-led influencer curation process shows that this type of content is no longer converting because it's not authentic. And time and again, authentic posts prove to be the highest converting, especially in 2022.


The decline of static photos

Instagram is slowly dying and it knows. Why else do you think Instagram has been announcing so many new updates lately, such as the new upcoming Subscription features? Piper Sandler Services found that the number of teenagers who use Instagram as their favorite social media platform has decreased by almost half from 2016 to 2021. The site ranked third behind Snapchat and TikTok, which came out on top overall for this demographic group due to their increased demand for video content. The shift comes in parallel with the general consumer's fatigue of highly edited photos.


In late 2017, pre-manufactured photos took over social media. But now we're seeing a more balanced approach as influencers and brands post both homemade and professionally shot images on their accounts to provide variety for followers.

No one wants to see a pretty girl in front of a wall anymore, as cultural strategist Matt Klein states" 'A lot has changed since then and people are starting see through these stage productions.' Culture changes slowly but surely over time." In fact, some influencers have now dedicated their pages to making fun of their old plandid pics.



What this means for content creators


The desire for authenticity is leading to longer and more detailed social media posts, as well an emphasis on sharing valuable information. The more thoughtfully-crafted the post, the more value, the higher the engagement rate. This is all there is to beating Instagram's 2022 algorithm.


Proof: Influencers have started turning posting unedited photo dump and using 'Live photos' in their Reels.


In the past year, lifestyle influencers such as Reese Blutstein grew their account by over 200,000 followers in just over a year by posting unfiltered photos of herself and outfits. Young Thai influencers like MILLI are also rejecting the notion of a curated feed in favor for something more messily uploaded onto social media. While millennial content creators are hauling their DSLR cameras to Hua Hin beach, these content creators focus their social profiles to making boring mundane tasks and turn them into exciting adventures through creativity. They don’t stress about repeating almost identical shots and turns out, new consumers love it. On average, Gen Z influencers have around a 50%-75% higher engagement rates than Thai celebrities.




How to increase your engagement in 2022


As the consumer's behavior changes, influencers and content creators are facing the problem of how to continue growing while adapting to new changes. What worked for you 5 years ago is probably not cutting it now. People want different things from their favorite social media stars than they did, and as content creators, we need to start embracing our individualism and personalities more. Spend time to focus on finding ways to express yourself through creative and unique story-telling and less time on Facetune. Whether it's on Instagram or Tiktok, engage within your niche to see how to are able to offer value to this community. Then watch as your numbers grow.


Where do we see the Instagram aesthetic going?

  1. De-unified Instagram Feeds

  2. Increasing Subscript Options

  3. Unedited Photo Dumps & Reels

  4. Instagram’s In-app Fonts on the Feed

  5. Blurry, Gloomy, Dark Tones

  6. The Reels ~Aesthetic~ (unedited content but thoughtfully compiled)

Creating content for social media that is both authentic and visually appealing can be difficult. However, as the Thai content creator market matures, it will become increasingly important to focus on developing quality content that resonates with consumers. At Kommune Agency, we are passionate about helping brands create engaging and effective social media campaigns. If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your engagement and conversion rates, contact us today. We would be happy to share our expertise with you!

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