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What does Instagram's latest announcement mean for Brands, Influencers and Content Creators?

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

- Instagram has announced plans to remove the number of likes and video views on user posts.

- The company is currently in the process of testing this new update in a few countries before making a decision to roll it out globally or return to the status quo.

When Instagram announced its plans to remove the number of likes and video views from user posts, one thing became apparent: there’s going to be an almighty shift in the way marketing is done on Instagram. And everyone is affected. 

It is no secret that brands and agencies have repeatedly turned to influencers to promote their products on social media. But one critical feature of the relationship, is the ability to see at a glance, how well a post is performing through the number of likes, shares, comments and video views. This helps content teams learn what is working and what isn't and adapt their approach accordingly. With Instagram's new update however, brands may need to rely entirely on influencers to provide all of this data. And that could get tricky. 

Since brand managers (or anyone else other than the user posting) would no longer be able to see the number of likes and video views on any influencer post, they are essentially at the mercy of the influencer and whatever numbers they report as engagement. This puts influencers in a unique position: to get hired or convince anyone their channels are working, all they need to do would be to buy followers and get “creative” reporting their insights. 

One possible winner that could emerge from all of this are third party applications that provide analytics for social media. They may see their stock rise as more and more managers will need them for unbiased reporting. 

But undoubtedly, the biggest winners are Instagram and parent company Facebook. Not only does this update allow the company take a moral stand against the negativity that has plagued the social network right from the off, it is a move that will see brands rely a little more on sponsored ads — shaving off some revenue from the burgeoning Influencer marketing industry, scheduled to hit $10bn in spend by next year according to Adweek.

We expect established influencers to be fine in the short to medium term given their existing relationships with brands they have successfully collaborated with in the past. Their track record should be enough to see them weather the storm and emerge unscathed as trust has been built over time. New creators however will not be so lucky. They may need to start shopping around their numbers to get hired for paid collaboration.

For us- mere mortals- who get 10 likes on our best day and in our finest ensemble, it appears that our day of redemption is on the horizon. And should this new update become global reality, we will finally get our chance to walk alongside the high and mighty- AS EQUALS. 

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