If you tuned into social media (or the news) this weekend, you’ve probably heard the announcement that Instagram “likes” will be going away for some users in the United States as early as this week. Don’t panic! We looked into the matter to determine whether we like this update or if it’s destined to be another hurdle. The good news: likes won't entirely disappear.
Here’s what we know about the update—and how this could influence your brand.
What We Know About the Newest Instagram Update
- First and foremost: all accounts will still have access to how many likes their images have received—it’s just that your audience will not be able to view this number. Below is an example of how small this switch truly is, based on similar changes made to Australian accounts. On the left, you can see the current format, which under the image displays the number of “likes” per post + users who have liked the content. On the right, you’ll see what we expect is the “likely” new format, which still shows individuals who have liked the image but does not include the actual total number of likes per post.
How We Anticipate This Could Impact Your Brand
- Image “Like” Rate
- This change could potentially mean less “liking” by users, but at this point, we don’t anticipate that happening given that most users are in the habit of “liking” content. Also, since the platform is retaining the heart icon and the mentions of handles liking posts, there are still virtual calls-to-action (CTAs) to promote this type of engagement.
- Influencer Partnerships
- Vetting influencers is a complex process, and it is important to acknowledge that like totals are typically taken into account for the purpose of determining engagement rate. There are still many other attributes and qualifiers that are more important for brands to consider when vetting an influencer partner—and brands will still be able to ask influencers for their media deck, which should always include overall engagement rate, thus accounting for likes.
- As far as influencers currently partnered with your brand, they will still be able to provide screenshots of their post analytics, which will include like totals, and other engagement metrics.
Other Metrics To Care About
As we’ve said before, likes are not everything! It is entirely possible for people to scroll through Instagram mindlessly “liking” content, without demonstrating genuine interest or intentional engagement with content. That’s part of why we encourage people and brands to focus more on other types of engagement that demonstrate greater brand interest and advocacy—regardless of whether this format is here to stay or if it ends up being just another test roll-out.
- Profile Visits
As this change rolls out, we will monitor the impact and provide any helpful insights on what this means for marketers, including how fresh produce brands can continue to win on Instagram—despite the ever-changing landscape.
For additional support on how to navigate changes on social media platforms—or to learn more about improving your social media strategy—reach out to us or get more information about our social media assessments.
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