Potential Updates to Instagram Could Give Boost to Micro Influencers

Photo and video-sharing social network, Instagram, is rumored to be working some major changes to the platform’s interface. One change, however, did not remain a secret for too long. Reverse-engineering expert and TechCrunch writer, Jane Manchun Wong, spotted one of the updates live in action and took to Twitter to break the news. “Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,” wrote Wong.

The 1-billion monthly active user platform could be instituting this update as a direct response to the body positivity movement and advocates calling out of the platforms push of unrealistic body standards or “Insta-bodies” or for a host of other reasons. No matter, this could be a huge win for small business owners, micro influencers and more.

Just for clarity, the ability to double-tap your favorite photos and videos will not be removed as part of this update rather the amount of ‘likes’ a photo post receives will remain hidden.

If you recall, with video posts, ‘likes’ are already hidden in a way, whereas, the view count is publicly displayed.  Above is an example of what posts would resemble if the changes are uniformly applied across users.

Instagram Likes Before and After examples.jpg

Now that we’ve covered the basics, how could this update give micro influencers an upper hand?

Well, without throwing around a bunch of overused marketing terms, with ‘likes’ hidden micro influencer (or Instagram users with less than 5,000 followers) when approaching brands for sponsorship no longer would be limited to like count but more so the impact their presence has amongst their following.

For example, big brands may be inclined to work with an influencer with 450,000 followers that receives an average of 5,000 ‘likes’ per post. At the same time, turn away from an influencer with 4,000 followers averaging 800 ‘likes’ per post. Well, what’s the problem? Influencer A has a larger audience, right?

Yes, Influencer A’s audience is larger but their direct impact on their followers is minuscule. How? Based on numbers alone, Influencer A’s has engagement rate is only 6.25%. On the other hand, Influencer B’s engagement rate is 20%. An ideal, engagement rate is between 17% and 20%. Given the data, Influencer B would likely produce a high rate of direct action from their audience which can translate to subscriptions, purchases, views, etc.

In hiding ‘likes’, brands may not be as easily deterred from working with micro influencer and likely will focus more on the engagement rate of the influencer rather than the amount of ‘likes’ on a given post.

What are your thoughts on Instagram’s hiding likes on posts?

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