Instagram Likes – Gone For Good?

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If Instagram likes are a thing of the past, what does the future hold for brands and influencers?

In a move that has sent many influencers across the country into a panic, Instagram has rolled out its latest platform change to Australian users. Only a test at this stage, the platform has been experimenting with removing the visibility of ‘likes’ from posts. This test is currently active in Canada, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Ireland and New Zealand.

Long since used to as measurement of success or popularity, the ‘like’ feature on the social media app has always played a central part in the user experience. While you’ll still be able to see who likes your posts, other users won’t have a clue whether your latest selfie broke the internet or faded into cyberspace oblivion.

“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” Instagram tweeted of the test. The aim is to minimise the pressure and anxiety associated with social media use. But what does this mean for those who make a living from their online popularity or brands who rely on influencer marketing?

If an interactive platform discourages interaction, the popularity of Instagram could plummet. On the other hand, if more attention is placed on commenting,  engagement could skyrocket – leaving those who benefit from the platform in an even better position.

Brands and designers who focus heavily on influencer marketing consider a range of metrics beyond simply the amount of Instagram likes received by a user. Engagement through comments might be considered more reflective of a user’s popularity than likes or even follower count. However, with one less metric to measure popularity, brands might decide to direct their spending to their own advertising and marketing efforts.

At this stage, there’s no way to tell how the removal of Instagram likes will affect the platform and the many industries that rely so heavily on its popularity.

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