How Instagram Removing the ‘Like’ Count Affects Marketing

Social media has been a huge marketing outlet for businesses today. How do we know if people are enjoying certain content? By the number of likes.

One of the major social medias, used by 1 billion people monthly and 500 million daily, is Instagram.

Have you noticed anything different about your current Instagram feed? If so then you are one of about 70% of Canada’s population affected by their test to remove the like count.

The focus is on the quality of the content, not the number of likes. Thus, only the account user will be able to see the count.

This puts businesses that utilize the algorithm of likes on their content for promotions in a different position. So how will it affect your business if it becomes an official change?

How Instagram’s Algorithm Works

In the past, Instagram organized its feed only by the time it was posted. The most recent could be found at the top.

In 2016, Instagram introduced a new algorithm that changed how user’s feed was shown. Simply put, the most relevant content was displayed further up in someone’s feed.

The factors that affect your relevancy to people are:

1. Interest

Instagram takes what users interact with and identify a trend between the posts. If you often comment on photos of puppies, then you are more likely to see puppies at the start of your feed. The goal is to identify what the users prioritize and show content related to that.

2. Relationship

Instagram wants the content it shows users to be something users enjoy seeing or interacting with. The more interactions you have with others, the more the algorithm will recognize you as having a relationship. This would include things like comments, enabled notifications, direct messages, or tags.

3. Timeliness

Now this is not to say that Instagram showcases feed chronologically. Instagram does showcase newer posts first but not the newest. For businesses and brands recency is more related to the idea of posting when people are active. Paying attention to when your audience is online will help indicate when you should post so it will be higher up in their feed.

The goal is to give users the content they want to see most, right away.

Businesses Without Instagram ‘Like’ Counts

A ‘like’ is easily given. It takes no time and no effort.

This shift forces businesses to become more deeply invested in the analytics of their posted content. Companies need to figure out what actually works, instead of guessing.

Identifying what kind of content thrives is going to be key.

Finding what drives conversions and stepping into a more authentic path for your services. Look at other metrics such as the save feature or reach.

For businesses it may be more beneficial to focus more on comment engagement when working with Influencers now. Commenters are more likely to invest in your brand since they took the time comment on a post.

What Removing ‘Like’ Count means for Influencers

Many people have developed a large following and have created businesses surrounding their online personalities.

Companies then partner with them to promote their products. For those that utilize influencers for conversions, this may make it more difficult. A clear indication of the amount of reach an influencer had would have been the number of likes on an average post. We may not have this anymore, though.

For Influencers themselves, it may be more difficult to establish yourself if you haven’t already. Brand are less likely to choose you over someone who they can clearly see getting transactions.  

It may give Influencers more creative freedom in their posts. Most Influencers feel they can’t post content that may fall flat in user engagement. If their posts lack that conversion, the brand may not work with them. Without visible ‘like’ counts, they have more artistic freedom.

Focus When Posting

Instagram is unique in that it allows you to showcase your products. This could be through photos, videos, and Stories.

This new system could actually allow you as brands or businesses to assess the content you are posting. To make changes that reflects what you wish to project to your audience.

By no longer focusing on a like count, it can allow you to narrow-in on content that generates more buzz with comments or saves. This can actually be more beneficial to you as those people are more likely to generate conversions and sales.

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