A New Instagram Era: The Removal of Public Likes
Over the last few months, Instagram has begun hiding likes on various accounts, giving a chance for content creators to once again stand out for the quality of their posts versus their engagement rate. Though Instagram’s decision to remove vanity metrics, such as the number of likes on in-feed posts, should result in both users and brands focusing less on tangible metrics and more on the quality of the content produced, the same problems remain. Brands want quantifiable metrics, and you cannot measure “quality” with a simple formula as you could engagement.
“As someone who works within this field, I'm actually in favour of removing the likes from posts. I believe this will lead to influencers focusing more on the message they want to portray”
Whether the change comes from a genuine desire to help improve mental health or simply push brands towards Ads Manager is where the deeper question lies. Brands need to realign their affiliation with the right talent for their brand; more specifically, influencers that truly match their values and have a credible voice to authentically promote a product or service within a specific niche.
As someone who works within this field, I'm actually in favour of removing the likes from posts. I believe this will lead to influencers focusing more on the message they want to portray rather than uploading a photo that they feel will just gain more likes due to an algorithm.
Already, influencers are starting to report that they are receiving fewer likes and comments per image than they usually do. I don’t believe that this is due to the algorithm telling Instagram that the content is less engaging, and therefore, fewer people should see it... This is happening because users aren't feeling the need to conform to 'like' content that their peers are liking, which as a result is then telling the algorithm that this content isn't so "engaging". This was always to be expected and will only continue to level-out. Once the public removal of likes is rolled out globally there will be a new “norm” of average engagement.
“Engagement will always be a tangible metric for brands when hiring content creators”
Engagement will always be a tangible metric for brands when hiring content creators, but soon, it will only be measured through private sharing. All this means is that the everyday users won’t know how many likes someone post received, whilst the creator will still know themselves.
If you think about it, how is this any different to Instagram stories? This is where users generally upload raw/amateur content that gives the audience a much richer insight into the individuals personal life from their own perspective. And I think part of the reason that users allow this content to be so raw is because they can post it without any "metrics" being visible to the general public who can follow how many views/likes/comments each story receives. Again, this is information the creator will still have access to, and they can choose whether to share this or not at their own discretion. It is by hiding these metrics from the public view which I believe gives users the freedom to truly express themselves, which is what social media is meant to be about.