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Influencer marketing platfom Zine investigates the impact of Instagram hiding likes on social engagement.
Instagram began testing hiding likes on users social media content in an ongoing bid to make using the platform a less stressful experience for users.
Hiding likes originally began as a trial in Canada and spread to Ireland, New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, Japan and Italy in July 2019.
The new feature is still a work in progress, but Instagram has stated it plans to roll the experiment out globally.
For affected users, the number of likes will no longer be visible to followers scrolling through the platform. So, while followers can click on an image to see who has liked the photo, in order to see the total count, they would need to manually count the number of likes.
Users, though, can still see the total count of likes on their own photos by looking at their “like list”.
The new initiative aims to make the app a positive place where people feel comfortable expressing their true selves.
However, how might influencers and content creators be affected by the change to the platform? How will it affect Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm? And what does this mean for influencer marketing moving forward?
To get a better understanding, Zine tracked more than 684,000 Instagram posts from Australian influencers to find out the impact hiding likes had on engagement.
Zine’s research compared influencers’ content before likes were hidden to afterwards.
It also looked into whether specific industries were affected more by the new feature update, as well as specific types of influencers, such as nano-, micro-, mid-level and macro-.
- Micro-influencers had the largest change in engagement after likes were hidden
- Influencers in the food and drink industry were hit the hardest
As Instagram gears up to roll this feature out globally, all eyes will be on influencer marketing to provide consistent, authentic and transparent metrics for engagement and return on investment in the wake of a hidden likes world.