Australian Like counts drop 15% following Instagram Like hiding test

Australian influencers are getting an average of 15% fewer Likes on Instagram since the Like hiding test began, according to new research from The Remarkables Group and HypeAuditor. By Natalie Giddings.

In May 2019, Instagram began testing a new feature in Canada that would hide public Like counts on all photo and video posts. Later, Instagram expanded the test to several more countries, including Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.

From 18 June, Instagram started to test out hiding Like counts in Australia. New research in partnership with The Remarkables Group and HypeAuditor has revealed the impact of hiding Likes on Australian influencers. Using HypeAuditor, an analysis of 55,809 influencers from Australia found on average they began to receive 15% fewer Likes. 

While the size and scope of the test in Australia is unknown, the data suggests about 70% of Canadian Instagram users aren’t seeing Likes. We believe that approximately the same number of Instagram users are involved in the test in Australia.

HypeAuditor and The Remarkables Group decided to analyse how hiding Like counts has affected influencers’ performance. We selected a sample of Australian influencers with at least 33% of their followers in Australia – 55,809 influencers in total.

All tiers of Australian influencers received fewer Likes and less engagement in September than in May. Most affected are micro-influencers (5000 to 20,000 followers), who in September received 15% fewer Likes than in May.

People have always responded to a herd mentality. Seeing people you know interested in something is a drawcard to pay more attention. After all it’s what makes social media so social. One benefit from the change is influencer engagement performance will be more accurate.  

Engagement rates have only dropped 0.3% (from 1.2% to 1.5%).  But it is important to measure the success of your influencer program on metrics that matter – such as the number of people that see your brand and sales.  

We divided influencers into four tiers based on the number of followers and checked their engagement rate and the number of Likes in May, June, July, August and September.

Nano-influencers (1000 to 5000 followers)

The average number of Likes per post on nano-influencers’ accounts has dropped by 10% on average. The engagement rate was also affected in a negative way, it has dropped from 5.56% in May to 4.6% in September.

Nano-influencers like hiding test

Micro-influencers (5000 to 20,000 followers)

Micro-influencers received in September 15% fewer likes than in May. Their engagement rate has dropped from 1.8% to 1.5%. 

Micro-influencers like hiding test

Mid-tier influencers (20,000 to 100,000 followers)

Mid-tier influencers received in September 13% fewer likes than in May. Their engagement has dropped from 1.4% to 1.2%.

Mid-tier influencers like hiding test

Macro-influencers (100,000 to one million followers)

Macro-Influencers received in September 13% fewer likes than in May. The engagement rate of this group of influencers has also dropped. In May macro-influencers’ engagement rate was 2% and in September just 1.5%.

Macro-influencers like hiding test

Comparison with the UK influencers

Instagram didn’t hide Like counts in the United Kingdom, so we could compare the average number of Likes in Australia with averages in the UK and figure out if hiding Likes was the reason influencers in Australia received from 10% to 15% fewer likes in September than in May.

We selected a sample of influencers who have at least 33% of followers from the UK – 37,380 influencers in total. We then divided them into five tiers based on follower counts and checked their engagement rate and the average number of Likes per post in May, June, July, August and September.

As seen below, a comparison of changes in the average number of Likes in Australia and the UK by the number of followers.

AU vs UK influencer like hiding test

On this chart, we can see that Australia has much more significant changes in the number of Likes than the UK. From this, we can conclude that hiding Like counts was the main reason why influencers in Australia received from 10% to 15% fewer Likes on Instagram in September than in May.

Natalie Giddings is managing director of influencer strategy agency The Remarkables Group. 

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Image credit:Prateek Katyal