Instagram Year in Review: The Biggest Moments from 2019

 In Later

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It’s become an annual affair at Later HQ — our Instagram Year in Review 2019 is live, and what a year it’s been!

With a record-breaking egg, the AR filter boom, and a controversial decision to start hiding likes on the platform, it’s been a seriously wild ride on Instagram this year.

Before we jump into a new decade, let’s reminisce over the highlights and biggest moments in our Instagram Year in Review 2019:

Instagram Year in Review: 2019 at a Glance

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s a good time to sit back and take note of what topped the charts on Instagram this year. 

Soccer sensation Cristiano Ronaldo held onto the top spot as the most followed personal account, second only to National Geographic’s cool 126M followers!

While Ariana Grande knocked Selena Gomez off the most-followed female on Instagram spot, by a slim margin of just 6 million.  

Elsewhere, Kylie Jenner lost out to a stock photo of a humble egg — which overtook her post announcing the arrival of baby Stormi to become the most-liked post on Instagram ever. 

Not forgetting the viral trends, most popular hashtags, and filters that filled our feeds: 

So what does this tell us? Well, aside from a potential shift in popular culture, it shows that Instagram, and what people want from the platform, is changing. 

2019 has seen a shift towards authentic and mindful content, with a whole spate of new features to make Instagram Stories more instantaneous and engaging.

And it’s the celebrities who embrace these changes, like Ariana’s infamous strategy of “over posting” to her feed and stories, who are seeing the biggest growth in their follow count as a result. 

As a brand, there’s a lot to learn from the high-flying celebrities on Instagram and how their social strategy is paying off.

So, now that we’ve covered the top line stats, let’s go back to the beginning — from January 2019 to present day, and relive the Instagram trends that took over our feeds:  

Instagram Year in Review 2019 #1: World Record Egg Takes The Top Spot

When it comes to starting the year with a bang (or should that be crack?) the World Record Egg took us all by surprise in early January 2019.

This simple stock photo of a hen’s egg gained a whopping 28.3 million likes in just 10 days, knocking Kylie Jenner’s baby announcement post off the top spot and gaining international news coverage. 

Perhaps most interestingly, the account remained anonymous for almost a month — with the countdown to a grand reveal starting as the egg began to crack in Instagram posts throughout the end of January.   

So who was behind the mysterious egg?

Well on February 4th, during the Superbowl ad break, it was revealed that the egg was a promotion for — a website highlighting a list of mental health support organizations by Mental Health America

The video, which has been watched over 38 million times, showed the egg cracking due to “the pressure of social media,” and encouraged viewers to talk to someone if they were struggling too. 

And as 2019 comes to a close, the World Record Egg still holds the title for the most-liked post on Instagram — making it one little egg that’s seriously hard to beat.

Instagram Year in Review 2019 #2: The #10YearChallenge Goes Viral

Instagram challenges pop up all the time, but very few reach the same fever pitch as the #10YearChallenge did in early 2019. 

Influencers, celebrities, and everyday Instagrammers alike jumped on this flashback trend, sharing their 10-year-old pics alongside a more recent one. 

Reese Witherspoon, Ellen Degeneres, Janet Jackson, Jessica Biel, Tyra Banks, Chance the Rapper, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, and Caitlin Jenner were amongst the hundreds of celebs who weighed in on this trend — which generated over 4 million posts in total. 

Instagram Year in Review 2019 #3: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper Inspire a Meme Trend

When Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper took to the stage at the 91st Annual Academy Awards to perform “Shallow,” they likely didn’t know they were about to spark a viral meme trend.

But this is 2019, and their intense and emotional performance had just the right ingredients to land them straight into the meme hall of fame.

Within just hours of the ceremony, hundreds of meme posts were popping up all over the internet.

From funny text overlays to shocked reaction posts, Gaga and Cooper’s intimate performance was one of the hottest meme moments of 2019!

From homemade memes to the no-edit edit, discover where the Instagram Aesthetic is Heading in 2020 in this recent blog post

Instagram Year in Review 2019 #4: Instagram Rolls Out In-App Shopping 

In 2019, Instagram became a fully-fledged e-commerce platform — rolling out a new “checkout” feature to allow people to buy products without ever leaving the Instagram app! 

With more than a billion monthly active users and 2 million advertisers, it was only a matter of time before Instagram bridged the gap and introduced in-app shopping to the platform.

Instagram checkout is still in closed beta for a select number of businesses (including Zara, ColourPop, and Warby Parker) and is only available to people in the US at the moment.

While the checkout feature is still being rolled out, it’s a big indicator of what’s to come in 2020 – with Instagram’s shift to e-commerce likely to continue. 

Check out How to Make Money with Instagram Shoppable Posts for everything you need to know about creating a shoppable feed.

Instagram Year in Review 2019 #5: Beyoncé Sparks Dance Craze on Stories 

With over 135 million loyal followers, Beyoncé is no stranger to sparking viral crazes on Instagram. 

Following on from the “Single Ladies” dance phenomenon of the aughts, Beyoncé launched a dance challenge under the hashtag #BeforeILetGoChallenge this year on Instagram.

The challenge marked the release of her cover of “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly & Maze.

Beyoncé announced the challenge in her first ever Instagram story (alongside bee and heart-eyes emojis) and encouraged fans to submit their dance videos using the hashtag. 

She then shared dozens of clips of fans replicating the routine on her account, proving just how powerful user-generated content can be for building a sense of community on Instagram. 

In fact, UGC is so important when it comes to successfully marketing your business online, that Later has created some great tools and features to help you find, organize, and schedule user-generated content in minutes.

From easily finding content you’ve been tagged or mentioned in, to reposting content from your brand’s fans and loyal followers, Later has you covered!


Instagram Year in Review 2019 #6: Instagram Unveils “Creator” Account

In April this year, Instagram caught everyone off-guard when they unveiled a whole new profile at their annual F8 conference — complete with a fresh new set of features!  

According to Instagram, the new creator account was specifically created to help content creators take more control of their accounts through custom features, such as flexible profile controls, simplified messaging, and more growth tools.

Creator Profile -- Hide Category and Contact


In 2019, Instagram brought more features to market than ever before to enable the creator community. And as influencer partnerships continue to replace traditional ad spend on the platform, it’s likely this trend will only continue to grow in 2020. 

Find out more about the Creator account (and whether you should make the switch) by reading this blog post! 

Instagram Year in Review 2019 #7: Taylor Swift Shares Cryptic Countdown to “4.26”  

When it comes to causing a stir on social, no one does it quite like Taylor Swift

This time however, it was her cryptic countdown to “4.26” — the release date for her single “ME!” — that got everyone talking online.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Apr 24, 2019 at 7:03am PDT

In the lead up to the big date, the singer shared a series of dreamy, ethereal posts on her Instagram feed.

Each post contained the same short and mysterious caption, “4.26,” sparking a tidal wave of intrigue from fans and followers alike. 

This post was originally published on Later

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