Ever since the news broke that Instagram would eventually hide all likes from Instagram posts, marketers became nervous. It was one of the first and most frequently asked questions. How can we measure a post’s success and reach if we don’t know the total number of likes?
Well, to clear things up, we can still see the likes through our proprietary software! As can anyone else who has access to an influencer’s analytics—i.e. most agencies that work with 3rd party tracking systems. And even without that software, you can easily ask influencers for screenshots of their analytics to know just how many likes a post received. It is a little more time consuming since you can’t simply look at their page for this information, but you should be asking for deeper analytics, anyway, so this is not new.
More importantly, likes are not the best metric to determine whether a post encourages real action from viewers. A like takes the least amount of effort from the follower. A like is a simple, “I like this photo”…either the person in it, the colors, maybe the place, or perhaps the overall composition. A pretty photo can absolutely inspire (and we highly suggest partnering with influencers who offer amazing visual content that can do this), but it’s important to dig beyond the ‘like’ and understand what action was taken by the follower—what has the photo truly provoked?
Most clients come to us because they want to increase visitation intent, increase purchases and get more heads in beds. Starting at the very top of your marketing strategy, inspiration is key. SproutSocial recently reported that 100 million photos are posted daily and 78% of users say that Instagram posts are the most effective content format for influencer marketing, so it simply cannot be ignored that Instagram is social media’s leading source of visual inspiration. But, instead of adding up all Instagram engagements equally, we need to dive deeper to help us plan and strategize further down the funnel—noting what content followers engage with deeply will allow you to determine which content or types of experiences are worth investing in alongside your other marketing efforts.
So, let’s go through each of the ways audiences can interact with an Instagram photo and why some metrics are better than others when evaluating intent to visit and intent to purchase.
A comment takes time, and that’s more time with your brand, so that’s great. But even comments aren’t created equal. A “great shot”, “love the colors”, or any comment with the words “vibes or goals” takes half a second, whereas a detailed comment about the place or a question takes time and consideration—and it also expects a reply back. This conversation with the influencer offers an opportunity for the brand to authentically jump in and ranks much higher than any other type of comment.
After likes and comments, all other metrics can be found in an influencer’s Instagram insights. Our favorites for determining an action and intent to purchase or visit are saves and shares.
An Instagram Save is a bookmark with the idea that you’re going to come back to that post later. In the world of Instagram, where photos have a shelf life of about 3 days—this is a very important feature. While you can’t link out to blog posts or websites from here, followers will be able to access the information again at a later date…whether they plan their trip in 2 weeks or 2 months, that saved photo will serve as inspiration and will always be available to help them.
Additionally, saves can help you fill in gaps to your own content calendar.
Finally, an Instagram Share is the most valuable of all metrics on Instagram. Shares not only highlight an action the follower has with a post, but also show that they want others to see it, too. The post is now getting reach beyond that of the influencer and an outside conversation has also been initiated. If you are selling a product, this is now at least 2 people who might buy it. If you want more visitation to your destination, this is potentially more heads in beds.
Instead of worrying about seeing likes, help equip influencers with the best information for them to add into their posts so that they get saved and shared. Think about each influencer’s audience and what questions they might ask so that you can provide influencers with additional information that will help them in crafting their caption. Long gone are the days of short IG captions including quotes or one sentence wording that doesn’t tell a larger story. Later has confirmed that long-form Instagram captions with substance are the posts receiving more engagements. And this won’t come off as inauthentic—it will be celebrated!
Need a few suggestions of ways to help educate influencers or aid in their captions? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Offer a discount code for followers (a reason to save and share the post)
- Give detailed itinerary notes (a reason to save the post when they plan a trip)
- Give specific sizing notes (a reason to save the post for when they go to purchase a product)
- A tutorial about how to use a product or best practices
Ready to strategize beyond likes? We’re here to help you get the very most out of your Instagram influencer marketing campaign.