As Instagram likes are hidden around the world, Vamp’s co-founder Aaron Brooks investigates how this will impact influencer marketing – and suggests more valuable metrics to track.
Instagram users around the world are currently adjusting to a major change on the platform. As part of a trial run, likes are being hidden from public view. Following a release in Canada in April and a handful of other countries in July, Instagram have taken the test global, to see how their users react.
Headlines announcing the ‘end of influencer marketing’ have been swift and predictable. However, the idea that social creators are nothing without likes hugely underestimates the power of influencer marketing.
The impact they can have on consumers’ purchasing decisions is driven by the quality of their inspiring content and the deep connection they have with their followers – not the number of likes they have.
How will Instagram’s global hidden likes trial impact influencer marketing?
That’s not to say the industry will be unaffected. Influencer marketing platforms who have relied on scraping public data are right to be concerned. Without advanced insights from Facebook, the data they’re able to offer their clients is stunted. It’s why we’ve worked so hard to be one of the only platforms with this access.
Marketers who have leaned on vanity metrics to back up their methods may also come unstuck as the industry will be forced to focus on more concrete outcomes to prove itself. The days of justifying an influencer marketing campaign based on the number of likes it got are over. Engagement shouldn’t be considered an impressive result of an influencer campaign. With quality content and a genuine audience, it should come as standard.
For marketers investing in influencer content, here are three more superior metrics to focus on:
# 1 | Sales uplift
For many, an increase in sales is the holy grail of an influencer campaign, but it can be difficult to track with certainty. Many people predominantly use social media to browse and research products and will make their purchase in-store, sometimes months later. Although advanced features in social platforms, like Instagram’s shoppable tags and ‘swipe up’ in Stories, are helping to facilitate tracking. Sometimes, however, the effects are plain to see. When Huawei engaged influencers to promote their new smartphone, the campaign activity contributed to the phone selling out before it had even hit the shelves. A great example of a social buzz translating into sales.
# 2 | Cost per download
This metric puts a price on each download by calculating how many were triggered versus the cost of the campaign as a whole. It goes a step further than ‘cost per click’ by only counting those who finalised the download, indicating a fully engaged consumer. Social campaigns can prove highly effective in driving downloads, seamlessly linking to websites or the App Store at the moment of inspiration.
In Vamp’s campaign with Adobe, creators were the perfect advocates to showcase how the creative suite tools enhanced their work. The persuasive posts drove so many downloads, the overall cost per download was less than $1, more than seven times lower than the industry average.
# 3 | Return on ad spend (ROAS)
For marketers unsure whether campaigns are actually making money for their business, this is the metric to track. ROAS measures revenue generated, against the amount you invested in advertising to achieve it. What you put in, versus how much you got back. For example, if you spent US$100 on a campaign, and it generated US$200 in revenue, your ROAS is US$2 for every US$1 spent.
This helps marketers prove the tangible value of a campaign, beyond simple engagement, and gives a more detailed view than ROI. Advancements in targeting mean marketers should be demanding big results from their campaigns. In our experience, influencer generated assets can deliver over US$20 for every US$1 spent.
The industry’s move away from vanity metrics is an encouraging one. With concern over fake followers, a renewed focus on real results should bolster marketers’ confidence in the channel. Likes are no longer an important metric and if this forces marketers to demand harder returns from their campaigns, forcing the standards higher still, then that can only be a good thing.