Instagram is Hiding Likes. Will That Hinder Digital Advertising?
Someone clicks “like” on the social media page of a brand. It’s one small sample of free digital advertising. The brand has been recognized. Whoever clicked “like” might follow and even recommend this brand’s products or services to family and friends. This has become standard in the wonderful world of digital advertising via social media. But things change. And Instagram recently set in motion a major change by choosing to hide the number of likes a posted image receives. And this includes digital advertising for brands.
Instagram’s reasoning for hiding likes.
As Mariel Padilla recently reported in The New York Times, Instagram’s rationale behind hiding likes is to make the user experience more personal and not as competitive or pressured. To accomplish this, the numbered tally of how many likes an image receives is being removed.
More territories are hiding likes on Instagram, which means more ads risk getting lost.
Instagram began this practice in May. Canada was the first territory to be tested. Since then, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand have been added. The results of hiding likes have not been revealed. Whether this will become permanent or not remains to be seen, but advertising on Instagram is changing dramatically.
There are two methods of digital advertising that have received a lot of coverage regarding the impact of the changes from Instagram: influencer marketing and paid media.
Influencer marketing and the “new Instagram.”
There are differing opinions for how this change will affect the fate of influencer marketing: Alex Clough, writing for PR Week, claims that many are worried, as their followings depend upon receiving likes for the brands they represent. With no count for the number of likes, the influencers in turn suffer reduced visibility. He further states that one hope brands have is to become more sophisticated in their efforts of how they utilize influencer marketing on Instagram. Taking this sentiment further, Taylor Loren, of Instagram-focused site, Later, highlights a post from Dave Coast, a health and wellness influencer who believes that this change is actually for the better, as it may lead brands to examine more meaningful metrics, such as reach, impressions, and saves.
Digital advertising will prosper because of Instagram’s change. Even influencers can benefit.
As Instagram’s change alters the course of some forms of digital advertising, paid media is likely to advance and strengthen in the face of this challenge. Brands which once relied heavily on organic advertising (such as influencer marketing), are likely to put money behind a paid media budget – out of necessity – to ensure their presence stands out on Instagram. In an article for CNBC, Megan Graham points out that even influencer marketing may have leverage with digital advertising support. Additionally, Instagram Stories will likely receive more traction. Essentially, all the elements that make up paid media – placement, pay-per-click advertising, branded content, and display ads – will provide a solid foundation to help withstand whatever changes and obstacles brands who advertise on social media may face, now and in the future.
The ability to like posts on Instagram was not a “too good to be true” scenario. As with everything else, it was time for change, and there is no cause for panic. There is only the need to navigate and be in step with the change. EGC Group will keep you apprised of any further changes to Instagram, as well as every other platform. Find out more about how our social media and digital advertising services can benefit your brand.