Instagram is removing likes in India, is it good or bad for you?

Instagram is set to become the first-ever platform to remove the “like” feature from its platform. Of course, like any big move by the social media giants, this too has a good and bad side to it. 

Much argument has been made about whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. People love that the Facebook-owned Instagram is taking steps towards helping people’s mental health and some are happy that it helps shift the focus from numbers to content.

The change is called ‘Private Like Counts’ this allows only the owners of the account to view the like count. Therefore taking away the pressure to focus on the number of likes while looking at a post. 

On face value, this does seem inconvenient for influencers and brand managers. However let’s dig into this issue some more to think through how this will impact brands & influencers, we actually see this as a good thing for the industry!

Why is Instagram removing likes? 

You may wonder what is the aim behind this? Why is this needed? According to a statement by – Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, published on BBC News it is to shift people’s focus from metrics to content.

“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” she said. “The goal is that users feel less judged and to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”

Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy

Vishal Shah, the VP of Product, Instagram told IndianExpress Tech something similar,

“In research we hear time and time again that people feel a lot of pressure on posting to Instagram, competing with themselves, competing with their friends, competing with the biggest celebrities in the world. And we don’t want people to feel like it’s a contest. Instagram should be about expression.”

Vishal Shah, the VP of Product

That is a good and a bold step for a company. Furthermore, the feedback on social media regarding this is more or less positive. 

Effect on influencers 

As an influencer, you will have to focus more on the quality of content you put out however, it shouldn’t have a drastic effect on you as brands will simply ask for inside data from your personal account directly. (You will still have access to the number of likes privately)

You should however, think through other ways of engaging with your base via comments specifically, and also swipe ups, tags, etc.

Overall, the fact that your likes aren’t public should be somewhat of a relief for you! It allows you to experiment with new content perhaps more than what you would have done if everyone could see what the results of those experiments were in terms of likes. No more awkwardly removing content that isn’t performing after 15 minutes!

As a brand manager 

At Chtrbox, we’ve long advocated that likes shouldn’t be a sole factor in assessing influencer selection, so hopefully this shouldn’t change things too much for you. It will be an inconvenience when thinking through what your KPIs are, but we think there’s a lot more data with higher impact than likes to consider.

Julie Kriegshaber, COO of Chtrbox, expands on this thought

There’s a lot of data available to you! Campaigns can now be assessed in terms of views, clickthroughs to sales, overall brand uplift studies & sentiment analysis; with initial assessments of influencers based on their followership & engagement authenticity scores, past sponsored post engagement rates and product mentions in comments.” 

Julie Kriegshaber, Chtrbox COO

Outside of number of followers and comments, you won’t be able to gauge many of these metrics publicly so you will need to connect with influencers to get a full picture for assessment. (Chtrbox can help you with this!)

Final word

Personally, I think the move won’t impact the influencer marketing industry much, if at all. We hope that this moves motivates the industry to look beyond likes into other metrics that are better measures of impact. I also believe it will bring more value to influencers as it allows them to experiment and focus on quality of content.

Here is to hoping to see more creative and original content in 2020!


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