Instagram Likes: Will they be missed?
On November 14th, 2019, Instagram announced its plans to hide likes globally. Testing this new feature out in several countries, the reviews have been mixed. Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, said this change aims to “creat[e] a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
Influencers on the app find that Instagram likes offer feedback on their posts. That may be partially true, but most users find that likes provide a sense of validation. Hiding likes is just one of the ways the platform has changed since its birth nearly a decade ago.
What if Instagram is my job?
With so many new additions to the app, brands have been looking past likes for years now. Engagement and sales are the biggest indicators of success when it comes to Instagram. With Instagram stories being more prevalent than ever, links or ‘swipe-ups’, have been the most effective way to simplify the process. In other words, linked stories minimize the steps between post and purchase. Story views are not public, yet plenty of brands pay to have influencers specifically post stories of their product.
While some influencers are nervous about loss of credibility, marketers and PR professionals see this as an opportunity to focus on more advanced measurement tools. There are so many other ways to measure the effectiveness of an influencer or brand. Social media managers can use engagement, impressions, downloads, shares, saves and other metrics.
What’s the point if likes no longer exist?
A successful social media campaign isn’t measured by number of likes on a post but is a result of brands building relationships with credible influencers and trusting them to be authentic with their audience. There is no correlation between likes and attention or correlation between likes and sales.
Instagram has yet to release any findings from their tests indicating if the removal of likes will be permanent or not. It may not be a bad thing for platform users.