The competition for the most likes is soon to come to an end: Instagram plans to abolish the publicly visible Likes. This has already been implemented on a test basis in some countries. But which key figures are then used to measure success? What are the implications of the shift for influencers and marketing? Here’s a little look into the future and how you can prepare now for the time without “Like”.
For some, clicking on the little heart may just be a reaction to a photo. But on Instagram, likes used to be one of the most important metrics. The number of likes tells us how popular or how popular a profile or the posts are. So the higher the number of likes, the higher the reach of the post. For influencers, this is a decisive factor: Until now, they have been measured primarily on the basis of their reach. The number of meaningful clicks has often been a selection criterion for companies when looking for an influencer for their marketing campaigns.
For these reasons, then, the elimination of Likes seems unthinkable to many. How to compare with the other users now? How can companies measure the effectiveness of their contributions in the future?
So what’s driving Instagram to do away with this trademark social media channel? The power of Likes has a significant impact on the psyche of users. Young users compare themselves, measure their personal worth based on how popular they are on Instagram, how many likes their pictures get. Thus, in the eye of the platform operators, the actual purpose of Instagram is lost: people are supposed to share their moments, network and create communities, and not compete with each other in a contest. For this reason, the company decides to gradually remove the publicly visible total number of likes. Users should focus on the photos or videos again in the future and social pressure should be reduced.
There is wild speculation on the web about future measurability on Instagram. Already in recent years, other metrics have become increasingly crucial for marketers. Even if the Likes were still in the foreground, the so-called vanity metrics (Likes, followers,…) are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In the meantime, success is also determined on the basis of impressions, interactions or conversion, which is also taken into account in the Instagram insights. Marketers should continue to focus on these metrics in the future, as they will likely increase in importance without Likes.
And content itself will also become even more of a focus. Without de direct rating of the content, it becomes even more crucial what is posted to keep up through comments or saves. Against this background, the question also arises as to how far you have to adapt your content? If users save the posts, they are taken into account even more in the algorithm. So will this eventually become the new currency for influencers?
One function that could become even more important in the future are the stories. These have become increasingly relevant in recent years. They allow users to interact with each other even more easily and directly, generating an incredible number of views. This is already a tool of the platform, which works without Likes.
If the indication of Likes disappears, companies have to find a solution to generate their reach differently. One possible way to do this is certainly a major investment in social ads. Advantage for Instagram and at the same time disadvantage for marketing: The cost is considerably higher than gaining organic reach.
It is questionable whether Instagram can achieve its goal of social pressure and competitive user behavior by hiding the likes. Users will find other criteria to compare online.
However, the fact is that marketers and influencers need to get ready for a change and know how to deal with the possible changes on one of the most relevant social media platforms or need to. What solution Instagram itself will offer for the professional users of their channel is still uncertain. We are curious to see what the change will look like.