Is Instagram Hiding Likes A Threat To Influencer Marketing?

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A closer look at how Instagram hiding likes might affect influencer marketing.

Instagram dropped a major bombshell when the app announced they’d start hiding likes on Instagram feeds at Facebook’s F8 conference. The person posting would still be able to see the likes, but the number of likes isn’t visible to the public. And sure enough, they’re currently testing it in Canada.

Is Instagram Hiding Likes A Threat To Influencer Marketing?
A screenshot of a test post published by Instagram reads they want followers to “focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.”

With 80% of marketers using Instagram to find influencers, we must ask: What’s going to happen to influencer marketing? Let’s break it down.

Why is Instagram hiding likes?

Alongside Instagram’s private like count, Facebook rolled out a bunch of new features to make their apps safer and healthier altogether. Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri says the app wants to lead the fight against online bullying.

Cyberbullying is becoming an increasingly big issue, especially for younger generations. According to a 2017 study in the UK, Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing for teens and young adults. Obviously, we can’t hate on Instagram for wanting to make the Internet a better place; it’s commendable!

Also, Instagram isn’t the first to make likes less visible. Twitter actually released a prototype app earlier this year that makes likes and retweets less visible in tweet threads. Much like Instagram now, the app said the focus should be on the content, rather than the number of engagements.

Measuring engagement

Though hiding Instagram likes is well-intended, it’s unclear how this will impact a large chunk of their users – influencers. An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch they understand the importance of likes for creators, and are thinking about ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners. So folks at Instagram are putting on their thinking hats and haven’t forgotten about influencers – Good to know!

But likes and follower counts are virtually an influencer’s livelihood, no? Naturally, brands and influencers are panicking: How do we measure engagement?

Like count is an important metric for engagement, but it’s just one of the many metrics to consider before partnering with an influencer. In Upfluence Software you can check the community growth over time on different platforms and the number of comments/retweets. Plus, look at an influencer’s recent posts to check out their content.

Is Instagram Hiding Likes A Threat To Influencer Marketing? An influencer profile's data in Upfluence
More than likes: comments, retweets, posts and community growth metrics in Upfluence Software

Putting content first

With Twitter and now Instagram making likes and follower counts less prominent, content might be key here. Instagram’s private like count forces us to look at the content influencers publish, rather than metrics like engagement rates.

There’s an important lesson here, and it’s often done wrong: While high engagement rates are great, they’re not nearly as important as an influencer that can authentically deliver your message.

ALWAYS make sure influencers and their content align with your brand!


In conclusion…

Is influencer marketing doomed now? No, definitely not. The influencer marketing industry is predicted to grow from $4.6B to $6.5B this year, so influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere.

Whether hiding Instagram likes is here to stay or not, it’ll simply mean a shift in perspective. Companies will focus more on brand alignment and quality content. And frankly, Instagram used to be about exactly that, high-quality content that inspires. So going back to its roots might just be the best thing Instagram can do right now.

On another note, it’s all just a test so far. So, let’s see how it goes!


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