15 Nov Instagram Influencer Marketing – The Pros & Cons of Counting Likes
By: Ariana Gomez and Emily Carper
The latest news that Instagram will begin hiding like counts on its platform in the US is causing a frenzy among Instagram influencers and advertisers alike.
Users can expect to stop seeing like counts on others’ posts as early as this week. This update will make like counts view-able privately, so you can see how many likes your post garnered, but others can’t. What will this mean for the future of Instagram influencer marketing?
Why is Instagram trying this?
The change was implemented in part to try and regulate the somewhat over-saturated brand-sponsored influencer posts. Some sources also say that removing public like counts is an effort to improve the collective self-esteem of younger generations who more easily fall prey to unhealthy comparison on social media.
The social media platform is testing the effects of removing public likes entirely from the platform highlighting the growth points and pitfalls of the change. Instagram has recently removed public like counts from various markets around the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.
What does this mean to my Instagram influencer marketing efforts?
- Less likes: Removing visible like counts may reduce the number of likes on each post. No longer will a like express anything outwardly or align the fan with the post, so without that function, there is slightly less motivation to actively like items.
- More expensive content and ads: Brands will need to produce higher quality content to engage with audiences, which may increase paid media costs. Without likes as a form of engagement, content will need to be more captivating to earn comments and other forms of engagement which are harder to get. Producing better content is more expensive than many of the methods currently used.
- Shifty reporting: It will be more difficult to build influencer campaigns credibly. Removing like counts also remove a level of credibility in reporting on small influencers. Removal of likes also removes transparency, which means more people will be able to get away with purchasing likes and brands will be none the wiser.
- Reporting platforms for influencers: Anything that provides third party validation of influencers will become more valuable to brand advertisers who care about the quality and reach of the audience.
- Sales focus: Likes don’t drive sales – removing them allows a shift in focus toward sales metrics using affiliate links. While likes have provided an easy metric to approximate engagement which can sometimes lead to sales, increasing the number of likes on a post does not always increase sales for a business. Removing likes will allow brands to shift resources away from generating likes and towards generating sales.
- Shift in format to Stories: Advertising will shift toward video in the form of “stories”, because it has been proven that video ads and marketing strategies are more effective in captivating and persuading an audience. By removing likes, Instagram influencers will shift more of their content to stories which are largely video, thus increasing the effectiveness of marketing on the platform overall.
- Shift in format to Contest and Communities: After the update, comments may become the new “likes” in that they will be the most accessible form of measuring engagement. Using comments to engage opens the door to more contest-style content and more opportunities for brands to personalize communication with audiences one-on-one through influencers.
- More inventory available for paid ads: Removing likes also removes the pressure for each post to generate likes and will ultimately diversify the types of content posted, ultimately increasing the amount of content on the site. More content will push users to spend more time on the platform, thus maximizing the ads served.
Steel is here to help with any problems you might have in the transition. Feel free to give us a call anytime for a quick chat about your Instagram influencer marketing campaign or any of our capabilities.
Based in Austin, Texas, Steel is a full-service integrated ad agency that uses a deep understanding of how families make purchase decisions to deliver brands that families love. In close partnership with our clients, Steel unites data, technology, creativity and influence to produce more stunning growth for brands in health, education, food and fun that serve the American family.