Never put all your eggs in one basket! That well-known piece of wisdom is now coming home to roost with many an Instagram Influencer as the platforms recent changes make an impact.
As mentioned a few months ago Instagram has now begun to ‘hide’ view counts and likes. The move comes as social media is increasingly criticized for adverse mental health effects and Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has become the target of antitrust investigations.
The reason Instagram has decided to ‘hide’ things like likes and views is a part of its ongoing effort to create a less stressful experience. Influencers are the most impacted by the change many worrying the transition will lose them followers and ultimately income, reports The Guardian.
Instagram users will still be able to see their own likes but it is their followers who will not be able to see how many likes a photo or views a video gets. The trial rollout by Instagram impacted influencers hard. Influencers saw like counts fall in countries where it was hidden, a study from analytics firm HypeAuditor found. Likes fell 3% to 15% in all the countries for influencers with 5,000 to 20,000 followers.
The backlash to the change in the US was swift, with the CEO’s announcement drawing a slew of negative comments on Twitter. Instagram has repeatedly stated it is making the change to allow users to focus on content rather than feedback.
“The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them,” Mosseri said.
For some people who have come to rely on the platform for income. They have argued hiding likes will negatively impact influencers who rely on the platform for work or perks, as companies often look at likes on posts as a measure of how successful a campaign has been.
The influencer market has ballooned in recent years and is anticipated to grow to a $6.5bn industry by 2020. Influencers often partner with brands and get paid in exchange for sharing photos with a product to their thousands or millions of followers.
Others have argued the like has long lost its validity as an indication of popularity and that the change is a positive one. Between legions of bots faking engagement and the ease of buying followers online, the like no longer carries as much weight as it once did, they say. Some 64% of influencers admitted to buying likes, a 2018 study from influencer marketing platform HYPR found.