As you may have heard, Instagram is rolling out a new trial update to its popular photo-sharing app, hiding the number of likes on a photo. While this has already been done in several countries, such as Japan and Canada earlier this year, Instagram announced it would be bringing this change to The States. But what is Instagram without likes? Some are saying it’s like mashed potatoes without gravy or peanut butter without jelly, but others are saying it’s more like Cher without Sonny (Cher launched into superstardom after her split from Sonny). 

What’s behind Instagram’s Like Hiding Agenda?

The reasoning behind Instagram’s like hiding update is to create a safer and happier environment for its users. Likes and comments on Instagram have created pressure amongst its users to gain likes, causing mental health issues, especially among younger, Gen Z users. Instagram says this will allow users to better connect with each other. While many are praising Instagram for this move, others who use Instagram for business, especially influencers, are worried. 

Follower Count vs. Engagement Rate

When seeking influencers to partner with, marketers and brands don’t only look at the number of followers one has but as well as the number of likes on a photo. When the number of likes is averaged and then divided by the number of followers, this gives you an engagement rate. 

Engagement rates are important to brands because this proves how many people are reached. 

If likes are hidden from other users, including brands and marketers, what will the future of influencer marketing look like? While influencers are the ones mainly concerned with hidden likes, brands and marketers are not sharing the same concerns. Likes are just one of several metric tools and can be seen as “surface-level.” The true measurement of metrics comes in the form of engagements, reaches, and click-through of URLS, showing the true relationship influencers have with their audiences.  

The NXTFactor Approach

NXTFactor has taken this approach from the beginning, looking beyond the number of likes and followers an influencer has and focuses in on the true relationship built between the two. When influencers build trust amongst their following they are likely to have higher rates of clicks on ad campaigns and products purchased. Followers are then more likely to trust influencer recommendations and tips when that genuine connection is made. 

Navigating the influencer marketing sphere can be challenging, overwhelming, and frustrating, but NXTFactor has a proven track record of connecting the right influencers with our clients. Have more questions on influencer marketing and what it can do your company, call us 844-NXT-IDEA or email us at to jumpstart your influencer outreach.