Brands and Agencies vs. Instagram Hiding Likes

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When Instagram first announced that they started hiding likes as a test earlier this year, we had a discussion both internally and with our customers about whether Instagram hiding likes is a threat to influencer marketing. Spoilers: We didn’t think so. In fact, we welcomed this change as a shift in perspective, and that influencer marketing will keep growing exponentially as an industry.

Recently, Instagram expanded its like-hiding test worldwide, including countries like Canada, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and selected test groups in the U.S. As more and more Instagram accounts experiencing this new change, the influencer marketing industry once again raises the questions: What are the challenges that we will face as brands and agencies? And how do we welcome this change in the most strategic way?

Instagram post with comments and likes
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Challenge #1: How to know an influencer’s impact?

The most obvious challenge for brands and agencies would be to decipher an influencers’ impact. How would they know an influencer’s account is performing well without likes? Although the following size is still visible, an influencer’s engagement rate (likes and comments) is incredibly essential when it comes to the marketing world.

Solution: Read Beyond The Likes

Luckily, when we talk about an influencer’s performance, we don’t only look into their likes as the sole factor. Elements such as comments, audience growth, post frequency, realness, etc. are sometimes arguably even more interesting to look at.

Welcome this change as an exciting new way to take a deeper look into influencers’ performance, and you could be surprised with the findings! We suggest looking out for a consistent number of comments on posts, quality comments from real followers, a high realness percentage, and a stable growth rate when it comes to the following size.


Challenge #2: Decreased Engagement

The second issue that arises immediately after, is related to the reason why Instagram tested this change to begin with: Will influencers’ engagement decrease as a result of likes being hidden? Although Instagram hasn’t released its findings yet, the current speculation is that to some degree, the answer is yes.

Solution: Authentic Content Creating

It makes sense for certain types of influencers to receive fewer likes when their likes are being hidden though. But is this a bad thing? We don’t think so. We believe this would help users, brands, and agencies alike to have a step back and understand how “meaningless” likes can truly harm marketing.

When users are just liking a photo because it has a ton of likes – that engagement can be deemed as meaningless, and in the marketing world – doesn’t lead to actions. This will become a challenge for influencers, brands, and agencies alike to require content with higher quality – the type of content that would authentically welcome likes and engagements.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, this might actually be great news after all. Wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid diluting the social media space with quick, meaningless promotions? Remember that the roots of influencer marketing, and why it has become so effective, is how authentic influencer marketing can be, compared to another typical advertisement.

Logo of an instagram like notification with hidden number of likes
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Challenge #3: How to Track Campaign Performance?

The third concern would be for brands to actually track influencers’ performance in a collaboration: How to measure and compare success when there is no number to look at?

Solution: Turn Challenges into Opportunities

There are many ways for brands to measure a campaign’s performance, and the number of likes should only be a part of it. Instagram hiding likes can actually help encourage brands to consider other significant metrics: Estimated reach, estimated impressions, numbers of comments, quality of comments, website traffics, or affiliate code usages, and many more.

Extra Tip: Gain Insights through Influencer Marketing Tools

Having an influencer marketing tool provides an easier way for brands to have immediate access to all important social media metrics. Influencer Marketing software such as Upfluence also has access to Instagram’s hidden likes, on top of everything else: Engagement rates, real/fake followers, estimated reach, estimated impressions, etc.

An influencer marketing tool is not only convenient, but is also a necessity for brands and agencies to scale their influencer marketing efforts. On top of saving time and resources, you can also gain so many more valuable insights into the world of social media and influencers. Thanks to this, you can spend more time developing an authentic campaign, nurture influencer relationships, and scale your business to a whole new level.

Our conclusion this time?

At Upfluence, we still believe that influencer marketing is here to stay, no matter how the social media world decides to change its ways. The beauty of this industry is that brands, agencies, influencers, and customers alike are incredibly adaptable to changes: new social media platforms, new content creating trends, new FDA guidelines, new changes, new challenges, new opportunities.

As you can see, influencer marketing is still a very new industry, and it’s ever-changing. At Upfluence, we love welcoming changes as well as coming up with ways to make it work. Are you ready to scale your influencer marketing efforts? Give us a visit and Upfluence and see for yourself!


Also check out: See Hidden Instagram Likes and MORE with Our Free Chrome Plugin

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