Will Instagram's "hiding the likes" move mean more influence for YouTube influencers?

For the past 10 years, our entire digital landscape has been defined by numbers and metrics. But now that Instagram has announced that it will be rolling out the ‘like-ban’, (and with rumours that Facebook may soon be following suit…watch this space), are the Golden Years of Instagram influencers coming to an end?

Hiding-the-likes, comes as a response to a number of studies stating that photo-sharing apps can have negative effects on user’s self-esteem and mental health. Ensuring that the digital age doesn’t become detrimental to its audience is a responsible move and this should not be discounted as a negative change.

Our habits, perceptions and attitudes towards social apps are deeply engrained. Part of the intrigue is seeing what others flock to. We value the popularity of a trend and we feel satisfied in being a part of a community. And this is where YouTube comes in…

According to Google, brand collaborations with YouTube creators are four times more effective in driving brand awareness than any other type of influencer. 

The thing with YouTube micro-influencers is that you feel like you know them. They are in their own environment, talking to you. They display their personality and so generate emotion in you, a digital version of human interaction. What’s more, the homemade look-and-feel of their video makes them relatable. There is a realness to all aspects of their content, making them a friend, rather than someone you might aspire to.

There are three reasons we would like to befriend them:

1. Their niche is my niche

Their content is centred around a passion point. There is a 99.9 per cent change that whatever you are searching for there is an influencer on YouTube showing you the ‘how-to’ of that particular topic.

2. The trust-tree

Because the host feels familiar, and because the content feels like an intimate experience, any product placement feels authentic. The selling power on YouTube is undeniable with studies showing followers actually change their purchasing behaviour when a micro-influencer they follow, recommends an item. Beyond this, because the medium is video, YouTube creators have numerous ways to show brand product, from simple reviews to un-boxing.

3.Community spirit

YouTube influencers listen to and interact with their audiences. They cultivate communities that are more like friendships than fanships. This community is loyal with subscribers tuning in regularly to view the latest content, and then like and comment on this content.

Whilst we anticipate being slightly disorientated when the Instagram ‘like-ban’ takes effect, it doesn’t have to be the sole reason for exploring the power of a micro-influencer… just maybe on a different platform.

Written by Sophie Moore, senior editor at PR firm Bottle