A little over a month ago, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the social media platform would test hiding other users’ likes for a select sample of U.S. accounts. In this test, a certain user cannot see how many likes another user gets on a post. The user can still see how many likes their post gets, but they will have nothing to compare it to. The only idea an Instagram user would get on the number of likes a certain account is getting is when a post gets “thousands” or “millions” of likes. In a CBS This Morning interview with Gayle King, Mosseri attributed the change to caring about the users of Instagram, stating, "we will do things that mean people use Instagram less if we think that they keep people safe or generally create a healthier environment. And I think we have to be willing to do that."
While this may reduce the competitive and unhealthy self-image aspects of Instagram for users, this new test on the platform can come at a cost to brands looking to get into or continue using the platform for influencer marketing. When looking for an influencer to represent your brand, it helps to know the number of likes they’re getting. While likes and followers aren’t necessarily the greatest measures of success on Instagram (find some of the best metrics here), it’s comforting to know that number. Whether you’re a brand with a strong influencer presence or one that is just beginning, you will benefit from an Influencer marketing agency’s assistance with Instagram’s impending changes.
Influencer marketing agencies have all of the information a brand would possibly need on an influencer. Whether you’re looking for engagement rates, reaching a certain demographic, or now, how many likes an influencer is receiving, an influencer marketing agency will have that information for you. Agencies enlist a wealth of different data gathering platforms to ensure your brand has a clear idea of the influencer’s reach and impact. Knowledge of the specific influencer’s intangibles is a huge benefit as well. Agencies work closely with their clients in every deal. Holding meetings with the client and discussing business matters gives the agency a good idea of who the influencer is as a person, which can be much more valuable than the number of likes they get on Instagram at times. To make a deal with an influencer, you have to understand that when they post images with your product, it reflects your brand and you want it to be an authentic partnership. If you don’t know much about the influencer, you may get into a deal that could be detrimental to your brand in the long run. Consulting with an agency can eliminate these concerns and ensure the influencer(s) you decide to enlist for your campaign is the right one.
If Instagram decides that taking away likes is good for their users (and not too detrimental to their bottom line), this change could be implemented across the entire platform in the near future. If your brand doesn’t know how to evaluate an influencer other than looking at likes and comments on posts, you could get left behind. With the inevitability of Instagram hiding likes, make sure you speak with an influencer marketing agency to talk strategy. Analyzing backend metrics and understanding the influencer's personality in real life will be the best way to achieve a perfect partnership.