Game of Likes
It’s happening, Instagram will soon get rid of the number of likes on their platform. What does this mean for businesses, bloggers, and influencers? Also, why are they even doing this? Don’t worry we got you covered. We broke down all the major details and also have some thoughts of our own.
So is likes going to be gone forever from the platform? Well, not necessarily. While everything is still in the testing stage, Instagram creators are aiming to hide likes. So you can still “like” content on Instagram, but you won’t be able to see how many likes that post has gotten. You will, however, be able to see the number of likes your posts have received, but it just won’t be visible to the public.
The reason behind Instagram's new action is to make more efforts towards prioritizing issues like mental health and better usage of the app overall. Adam Mosseri, Instagram's head of product, feel that too many people on the app focus on the numerical value of their posts rather than the quality of the content. You may have heard people say things like “omg did you hear XYZ got 500 likes on her picture,” or even “wow I only got 200 likes on this picture, I’m going to delete it.” Trust me, I heard statements like these all the time and it's very concerning. Focusing on solely likes has caused a lot of mental health issues, especially amongst the younger generation, like social media anxiety, self-consciousness, competitiveness, etc. People shouldn’t find validation in the number of likes and followers they have, it should be focused on the content.
Now a lot of independent businesses, especially bloggers and influencers, rely on like count as a metric of engagement and reach in order to make deals with sponsors. Instagram is aware of how hiding likes can be concerning, but Ryan, CEO of Influential, an AI-based influencer market place, says: "Content, not likes, is what’s driving the train. There are several other metrics that can be used to measure the validity and effectiveness of a brand’s campaign. We also look at story engagement, follower growth, and attention metrics like video completion, audio on or off, and valid and viewable impressions. Click-through rates that measure new leads and website traffic are also something that we look at very closely."
So although the amount of likes is one way of valuing your brand, it is not the only way. Instagram should not feel like a competition. It should be a platform that shows the uniqueness of your brand, provide inspirations to users and creators, and overall be a mindful app. I’m not saying Instagram should be the Dalai Lama of apps, but it shouldn’t be the Regina George of it either.
For businesses, bloggers, and influencers, I think Instagram is still a useful and much-needed platform. Once this new move is implemented by Instagram, users will have to simply have to adapt and find a new strategy. I do believe that more people will pivot towards focusing on quality rather than quantity. There will always be ways to measure the engagement and reach, but at least it won’t be around the idea of “what should I post that will get the most likes.”