Instagram removing likes experiment

Instagram is removing likes, and that’s totally ok.

Last week, Instagram announced that it won’t be displaying likes on posts. It’s testing this change in Canada for now, but if it works, it’ll be rolled out everywhere.

This would be one of the biggest shifts in the platform’s history, with the potential to drastically change Instagram—and the behavior of its users.  

Are there risks? Sure.  Especially for unsophisticated influencer marketing buyers, but for everyone else—brands, creators, and Instagram users—this change will be great!  Here’s why.

Greater brand power

First off, likes aren’t being removed, they’re just not being publicly shown.  Users will still see them on their posts. That means brands using tools that aggregate creator profile data (like #paid) will have an advantage over those who do not.

We also believe this change will make it harder for competitors to steal your best ideas and creators.  Without likes, competitors will be unsure which campaigns appeal to your customers or which creators are generating the most buzz for you.  

More creativity

With less ability to be compared, creators will be free to be more creative.  This should decrease spam content and grow content diversity.

The end result—higher quality content that leads to more authentic interactions.

At least, that’s what Adam Mosserim, the Head of Instagram hopes, “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes you get.”

Metrics that matter

For creators, we expect the removal of likes to put a premium on comments and foster discussion.  This will grow real and trusting connections, making marketing with creators more effective in the long-run.  

Marketers rejoice!  With this change the industry should move forward in its understanding of marketing on Instagram and focus more on metrics like ROAS and brand lift.  

A healthier Instagram

This change was in part a result of research that examined the negative impact social media sometimes has on the self-esteem and happiness of users.  

Without the stress of being compared, users should experience more enjoyment while on Instagram as it becomes, a “less pressurized environment” says Mosseri.