For those of us in the world of social media marketing, the “like” is currency. It’s one of the most important and visible ways we measure engagement, efficacy and success.
For regular social media users, however – especially younger ones, and especially on more visual platforms like Instagram – focusing on generating likes increasingly distorted the experience users were having with such platforms. This, in turn, was creating more unhealthy, negative experiences for more and more users.
Instagram is taking some pretty drastic and novel steps to combat this – they were providing users in test markets a feature that would hide the likes from their posts. There was much consternation among many, many likes-obsesses users when the test was first announced, as you could imagine. But a funny thing happened after it was in effect for a while – users really like it. More and more users became less focused on the numbers below the post and more on the post itself. In other words, the focus shifted back toward content – where it should be.
For marketers, it doesn’t seem like the change will change much for them. They’ll still have access to Instagram’s highly detailed metrics and analytics – and they can still see the number of likes on their own content and track it. Again, the upside for them is a renewed focus on the quality of the content as opposed to the quantity of the likes.