Instagram is planning to test hiding “like” counts in the U.S. in an effort to make the platform a more safe and healthy place to spend time online. It’s important to note that likes will not be disappearing altogether—rather, they will just be hidden to followers, with users still being able to view how many likes they’ve received on their own posts.
What’s the impact?
For brands, KSM is not concerned with this update since it aligns with our measurement best practices against prioritizing proxy metrics like engagement, and instead focusing on metrics that are more closely tied to business outcomes like reach, ad recall, or conversions. Research shows there are “clicky” users across social, as well as those that don’t engage at all: both types of users are equally valuable to a brand.
This update, however, will make it a bit more difficult for brands to partner with influencers, since engagement is typically a factor. That being said, even though likes are stripped away, influencer campaigns are still effective in reaching a large audience. Additionally, it will bring the focus back to influencers elevating their content in order to stick out from the crowd, which at the end of the day is what influencer programs are all about.
KSM will continue to monitor the impact this change may have on influencer marketing, and work with our partners to ensure programming is focused on producing high-quality content that resonates with the right audience.