It is not common for people to easily cope with a change in a major social network design without great controversy. With Instagram, becoming one of the most important markets for brands, this could easily contribute to the debate as neither marketers nor influencers would like to foresee how their business would fall into the doldrums if the odds weren’t stacked in their favor.
In this article, we are going to investigate the possibility of like counts’ removal permanently from Instagram all over the globe, and the possibility that this change may also be welcomed by users, influencers and even marketers.
Why is Instagram likes disappearing?
“We want your followers to focus on what you share; not how many likes your posts get.” Instagram stated in its app for impacted users in this trial.
Social media is widely believed to have its negative impacts on mental health which results in low self-esteem, anxiety, isolation and a number of other issues concerning this list. While its competitive nature is leading the users to present their best image to the world, many people are likely to shy away from being their true self so that more people will like them and as a consequence like their posts.
However, Sharing deserves to be about quality content rather than herd mentality in liking the posts which already have a great number of likes, and by this notion, Instagram aims to shift its users focus onto creativity and storytelling in order to step into battling the addressed issue.
How to measure influencer marketing success?
Instagram, which has proved to be an effective platform, is now a necessary tool for marketing. A significant percentage of marketers and influencer marketing campaigns are now using Instagram as it gives them a lot higher organic reach rather than paid reach through other ways of promotion.
Influencers have their own ways to measure the success rate of their marketing campaigns which are closely linked with the number of times their followers tap on the heart icon. Among all considered factors, three key ways to measure matter is more thoroughly taken into account.
- Content quality
As it was mentioned earlier, content quality could be of paramount importance thanks to its true value when anyone, including the influencers, shares posts with others. If advertising is your objective when you post a video or a photo on Instagram, then your post has to be authentic and creative as well as visually attractive.
This is perhaps the most vital element in influencer marketing measurement. When influencers share their videos, they expect their followers to actively interact with their posts by commenting, saving, and above all else, liking them. Generally speaking, more engagement is largely equated with greater success.
- Follow reach
According to Sproutsocial, The number of unique users that saw your post or story on any given day is referred to as reach. This is not to be confused with the engagement rate or loosely applied to follower volume since the engagement rate indicates the total number of times your post was liked or viewed.
However, reach is about a more personal level of relationship with your followers given the time and effort influencers set aside on their account.
What are the possible impacts of Instagram without likes on influencers?
Removing the like counts in an ongoing experiment which according to Voguebusiness, is being carried out in seven countries such as The US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Japan, has plunged the marketers and influencers into confusion.
As like counter is viewed to be one of the most crucial metrics in the world of online marketing, the disappearance of like counts for followers and keeping them only visible to the account owner has made influencers reconsider their strategies and scramble for alternative means of measurement.
The number of likes was widely accepted to be inseparable from assessing engagement and engagement plays a key role in gauging whether a particular brand is popular with people. This means that influencers have always thirsted after a huge influx of likes.
On top of that, some companies help users establish themselves as a popular account by calling themselves “the best site for Instagram likes”, and guaranteeing real followers or engagements, whereas the chance of adopting this method to attract people who are really interested in your contents is not much. Purchasing fake likes and comments will eventually cause people to become very mistrustful of marketing on Instagram.
Eliminating this measurement may not sound exciting to influencers, but on the plus side, its positive impacts could outweigh the damaging ones in the long term.
How will hidden likes work on Instagram?
To answer this question, we need to resolve another question first, how to measure engagement on Instagram without likes?
Whether Instagram chooses to keep the platform the way it is or remove public likes for good, the risk of collecting inaccurate data on market research solely based on likes remains considerable. So, the removal of likes could be regarded more as an opportunity than a bad break if alternative methods for measuring their engagement are mulled over.
There are some sophisticated metrics to replace like counts that worth having a look at.
1. Transform your engagement into something more than just a like
With people increasingly relying on social media over time as a new way to connect, business owners began to take advantage of data showered down on the network. This has provided them with the opportunity to understand their target audience, create strategies and market their products.
However, influencers may have taken the role of like counts for granted while today the users expect more personalized level of interaction with the brands. This ever-changing competitive environment requires the influencers to lean on more highly skilled editors and more creative contents to ensure that their posts will have enough influence over their audience.
Another strategy is to create a community on Instagram where sharing and passing on information is associated with members’ interest. This not only helps influencers to track how engaged their audience are, but also builds up more trust between the consumers and brands.
2. Turn the spotlight on micro-influencers
Likes are not only a way to measure followers’ engagement, it could also play a major role when marketers approach an influencer. However, hiding like counts will make brands mostly focus on who influencers reach rather than how many people they reach.
In this case micro-influencers in connection with a specific target audience work better compared to influencers with a large diverse group of followers.
Hiding likes is, undoubtedly, a sweeping change for the business, but it is not necessarily a change for the worse as likes are likely to change the focus from quality content to the number of likes. Should you reflect on the issue, this will raise the important question of which one is the true nature of like counts, a guiding metric or a vanity metric?
In conclusion, alternative measurements for engagement could help marketers collect more accurate data and establish a relationship between followers and their brands on a more personal level.