Back in July, Instagram began hiding likes in seven countries. Now, Instagram has announced it will begin hiding likes in the United States as well. Account-holders will still be able to see their personal like counts, but visitors will not. As a result, the “popularity contest” that was for so long at the heart of Instagram will cease to exist hopefully creating a more welcoming environment where users feel comfortable expressing themselves.
This rather surprising platform change carries with it significant impact as those marketers who were largely reliant on vanity metrics to measure social media success now find their influencer measurement capabilities turned upside down. So, what should marketers do now to assess online performance? Let’s look...
1. Measure influencer success with verified content views
Our research revealed that only 10-20% of followers actually see the latest social post of any particular influencer. This fact stands true across platforms, no matter what time of day the post goes up or the content is shared. This somewhat painful truth demands a strategic adjustment.
Therefore, to establish a credible, long-lasting measurement strategy that will stand against current, and future, platform changes, marketers should build their influencer plan around verified influencer content views. What better way to understand campaign performance than counting actual verified, engaged interactions with organic content in its native environment?
With a verified content view pricing model, marketers can purchase guaranteed deliverables — in advance of campaign launch — and no longer have to guess as to how an influencer will perform based on their number of followers, monthly site visitors, or subscribers. What better way to maximize influencer spend ROI than paying only for platform-verified views?
2. Measure influencer success with meaningful engagement
Reliance on “simple” engagement as a measurement method isn’t going away given that agencies, their clients, and influencers have attributed value to this method for years. And, not without good reason, as even minimal interaction means someone saw and connected with the content.
That said, quality engagements are a much better collective measure of impact and potential influence than quantity alone. Numerous comments are nice but are they thoughtful? Relevant? Are they from genuinely engaged followers commenting on the post or caption or are the comments random, in another language, or bot-generated? Meaningful engagement matters more; marketers need to ensure that’s what the content is generating.
3. Measure influencer success with retail conversion
Nothing illustrates campaign success better than traceable, influencer-driven conversion. Comparing sales lift to influencer spend provides the ultimate view into campaign effectiveness and influencer impact. Marketers with the means to measure performance this way are at a distinct advantage and attaining this capability should be a priority for everyone.
The ability to directly drive sales — and make direct attribution to influencer content — is becoming more commonplace as social referral to ecommerce sites has risen 110% over the past two years. At the same time, other social-centered technology including social platform add-to-cart capabilities and chat bot-enabled conversational commerce (via Messenger and SMS) are creating a much closer, and more easily measured connection between content and conversion.
Instagram hiding likes offers the influencer marketing industry a catalyst to evolve measurement and attribution strategies to be more accurate, relevant, and transparent.