Is Instagram Removing Likes from the Platform?
Social media gives us a currency of engagement. Social “likes,” considered staples of the Big Four social media platforms, represent the value of content —both to marketers and other consumers. It’s valuable data for creators and, in an online sense, likes are money.
However, Instagram has suggested that its platform may very well do away with that value marker.
While the platform currently denies that it is A/B-testing variations of Instagram that are like-free, it does seem that the tests aren’t far away. Adam Mosseri, one of Instagram’s top executives, states that content posting on Instagram will feel more organic and “less like a competition” when likes are removed.
And sure, that may be the case. But it’ll also be a big shift for marketers who’ve grown comfortable using likes as social proof and an engagement metric.
If an Instagram removing likes really is in our future, how will we be able to assess engagement?
Let’s Not Panic Yet
While Instagram insists that a platform without likes is still some time away, the proposal has already made a number of users and marketers nervous. Even so, there’s no real need to panic. While Instagram is considering taking away public likes, the platform won’t be ridding itself of them entirely.
Users, apparently, will still be able to see their own like counts. Likewise, users will be able to see who liked their posts. However, no one will be able to see the like counts of the content created by other users. In short, instagram removing likes wants to take away the social pressure of “liking” something as opposed to the inherent metric.
The Need for Fewer Likes
This drive for fewer likes is coming from nowhere. Social media has changed the way consumers interact with brands and users interact with each other. Now, with so much value placed on a “like,” mental health experts are stepping onto the scene to try to alleviate the pressure some users may be feeling.
One Instagram spokesperson emphasizes that the dismantling of public likes should help users connect with each other, whereas now they’re competing with each other.
Measuring Consumer Engagement on Instagram
While that thought serves users well on an individual level, it leaves businesses – who are actively competing with one another – to find different ways to measure audience engagement. Luckily, Instagram business accounts have long been able to utilize Instagram Insights to better understand their audiences.
Instagram Insights isn’t going to be impacted by the public removal of likes. Thus, while the social pressure of liking a post will disappear, the base usefulness of the metric isn’t going anywhere. Instead, consumers will have the opportunity to be more honest about the products and posts they’re interested in. As long as you create valuable content that retains its interest outside of its advertisement form, you shouldn’t see a drop in your Instagram engagement.
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