Instagram Hiding Likes, It’s a Good Thing

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Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, announced that after testing “hidden likes” in other countries, they are going to release the new feature in the United States. According to Adam, the decision was “about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”

Why is Instagram hiding likes?

True influencer marketing should never be about popularity. But in many ways, according to Instagram, that is what their platform has become. They want to correct this.

As a result, Instagram hopes to rejuvenate its former days of authenticity. Instead of followers liking posts because they see so many others liking that post, hidden likes give users the freedom to break from peer pressure and like what they really like.

What does hiding likes mean for influencers?

The impact to authentic influencers is minimal. Because while Instagram is hiding audience facing likes, influencers are still able to view their metrics as usual. Those metrics will help them tailor their content to their audience, ensuring that they are pushing out quality content to their followers.

Insights Overview on Instagram

Those who will lose in the change are celebrities who enjoy the over-inflation of likes based on popularity over the quality of content. Additionally, “fake” influencers – those who purchase likes and followers – will also feel the loss of likes from Instagram.

Does hiding likes help or hurt brands?

That depends. Marketers who leverage influencers well already put little stock into likes and follower counts. They are more interested in that influencer’s posts, comments, and shares. This change does nothing to help or hurt them.

However, young marketers that embrace a growth mindset are going to benefit the most. Perhaps they have been chasing the vanity metrics (we will discuss this in a moment), and Instagram’s decision to hide likes will force them to do better research.

It is the marketers with a fixed mindset focusing on vanity metrics (likes and followers) that will probably suffer. Success in influencer marketing requires developing long-term relationships with the influencers. It also means being nimble and keeping up with the changing landscape of the digital marketing industry.

The difference between vanity metrics and engagement metrics

If you research vanity metrics and engagement metrics, you’ll find a lot of content that equates the two. In reality, these metrics represent two very different types of engagement.

Vanity metrics are shallow and have the potential to distract from those engagements with more substance. Instagram’s decision is essentially pioneering the elimination of vanity metrics. The likes require little to no effort and are most commonly knee jerk reactions as one scrolls through their feed. Those users contributing to the vanity metrics do not have to invest time or money and easily scroll past the very post they just “liked.”  

Engagement metrics can include vanity metrics to a degree, but the real gold lies in relevant post comments and shares. These metrics analyze the quality of conversations that occur in an influencer’s comment section. It notes the organic ripple effect among an influencer’s audience.

Understanding an influencer’s return on investment

Knowing how to glean quality engagement metrics is your key to finding the influencers that will increase your sales. Understanding Instagram’s desire for authenticity will help you gain a better understanding of an influencer’s revenue potential.

It is ideal that you gauge how often influencer posts about your industry, where they shop, and the price range of those products/services that they endorse. You may even want to find that influencer on other social media platforms in order to give yourself a well-rounded picture of the influencer’s revenue potential.

Approaching engagement metrics in this way helps you target influencers that can make you money, rather than just boost engagement numbers.

How to manually calculate engagement

Manually calculating engagement is not the easiest task in the world. However, it can be done, even though Instagram now hides both likes and views.

The simplest approach to manually calculating engagement on Instagram is by dividing the number of relevant post comments and shares by the number of followers. 

(Relevant Post Comments + Shares) / Followers = Engagement Rate

But while simple, it’s incredibly time-consuming, and isn’t especially easy to search and count these metrics on your own.

The advantage of using an influencer management software

Once you become weary of manually calculating engagement, there are software solutions that can help you when vetting influencers beyond just engagement. With manual calculation, you learn quickly that you are seriously limiting your growth since your ability to grow is held prisoner by the number of work hours in a day.

Manually calculating engagement will not exponentially increase your brand’s ability to find the right influencers. In other words, your business cannot scale.  And it is this very goal – scale – that leads marketers to invest in influencer marketing software. An influencer management tool like GRIN can help you access audience insights, engagement metrics, and more in just a click.

Now you can focus on other high-value activities. GRIN’s Influencer Management Software will streamline your influencer marketing efforts, engagement metrics included.

In conclusion

All is not lost by Instagram hiding likes. In fact, manual or software engagement calculations focusing on comments and shares should narrow your search. This only gets you closer to finding the influencers most likely to increase sales for your brand.

Are you ready to stake your claim in the creator economy? Discover more helpful tips and resources from the experts at GRIN: Creator Management Learning Center

Updated: July 2023

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Written by GRIN Contributor

GRIN is the pioneer behind the world’s first Creator Management platform built to support every brand’s journey to connecting with consumers through authentic creator relationships. Thousands of the world’s fastest-growing brands—including SKIMS, Warby Parker, Allbirds, Mejuri, and MVMT—use GRIN to make creators feel like trusted, empowered partners and work with them to build their brands into household names.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2024. All rights reserved.

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