“Like” No More: The Impact of Instagram’s Latest Update

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  • On average, 1 billion people use Instagram in a month.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, the largest demographic group using Instagram are 18-24  years old.
  • Instagram garners nearly 3.5 billion likes on a daily basis.


Someone’s just added a new post. We look at the image, read the caption, and double-tap to “like”. These actions come second nature to us as we make our daily scroll through Instagram. The social media giant is shaking up your routine by keeping like counts hidden among posts in the United States. Take a look at how this update is revolutionizing your social media advertising agency as we know it.

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Rolling Out the Hidden “Like” Update

During the Wired25 Summit last week, CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri announced they will be hiding like counts from users other than the creator of the post itself. The summit brought together leading innovators in the tech industry to celebrate the past 25 years of advancement.

While unveiling the plan at the conference, Mosseri stated, “We have to see how it affects how people feel about the platform, how it affects how they use the platform, and how it affects the creator ecosystem.” Although the hidden “like” update has been released to some U.S. user accounts this week, it has already been tested in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.


Why is Instagram Doing This?

Instagram is spearheading the take-down of social pressures associated with rising mental health issues found after using the platform. Mosseri explained, “The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.” The goal of hidden likes is to remove social comparisons that are quantified by the number of likes on a post.

Hidden likes are just the beginning of the company’s approach to make Instagram a safer place for everyone’s well-being. It was also announced they will be introducing a three-step method accordingly: addressing hate speech, putting in actions against bullying, and understanding interactions among users with hidden likes put in place.


What Does This Mean for Businesses?  

You can bet that a social media advertising agency among most other businesses will be impacted. Since this is relatively new to the U.S., it’s not clear if it will have positive or negative implications. But, what we do know is that influencer marketing and brand engagement levels will be affected in one way or another. For brands seeking Instagram influencers to work with, hidden likes present a challenge when considering possible candidates.

According to the leading Instagram scheduling platform, Later, keeping likes hidden might make it more difficult for companies to gauge their engagement levels. Although likes do not necessarily convert into leads, it opens the door for brands to create more meaningful content to get their message across.

In other words, hidden likes will force companies to stray away from equating success to the number of public like counts. Instead, companies must work harder to analyze deeper metrics to achieve their goals.


Vanity Metrics v. Actionable Metrics

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of two primary metrics shaped by Instagram today—vanity and actionable metrics. Vanity metrics are measurements that make you feel good but do not actually contribute to the success of your marketing campaign. Examples of vanity metrics include page views, the total number of email subscribers, and of course, the “like” counts on social media.

Actionable metrics are measured by the number of “actions” or behaviors your audience takes that impacts your business. These metrics are directly correlated to how successful your campaigns truly are. A few examples of actionable metrics are the number of user conversions, the cost of customer acquisition, and opt-in email subscribers.

Under the umbrella of actionable metrics, revenue metrics fall into this category. The revenue metrics you should pay attention to are as follows:

  • Overall revenue
  • Net profit
  • Cyclical revenue
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

By keeping revenue metrics in mind, you can easily determine the total number of customers and the total cost you would need to pull off a successful campaign.

Another actionable metric are acquisition metrics. These metrics focus solely on the conversion rate of each page, rather than the broadly descript, overall conversion rate. The difference being is knowing where customers are coming from on every page. Customers can come from an organic search, affiliates, or directly from your own website. That way, you can narrow down which content caters best to your target audience for split testing in future campaigns.

So, which one is better? There’s no question that actionable metrics take home the gold medal. Every. Single. Time. This is because actionable metrics do not equate success to the number of customers they’ve acquired in a day, unlike its vanity counterpart. Instead, actionable metrics place special attention on how much was spent on a campaign and calculating the final ROI (Return on Investment) in order to consider the campaign a success. There is no such thing as split testing and conversion traffic information that can be extracted from vanity metric “likes”.


Final Words

It’s safe to say that keeping likes hidden on Instagram will pose significant challenges for businesses that rely on vanity metrics. Instead, these companies must become more creative when producing content to get their message across. By removing public likes, this allows companies to focus more on actionable metrics to advance data-backed success.

What some brands have already put into practice, is taking the focal point away from likes in general. This way, businesses will be able to build formidable relationships with their audience and push forward more meaningful, on-brand content.

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Are You Looking for an Effective Social Media Advertising Agency? 

Change is upon the ‘gram here in the States, and for good reason. Mental health is a talked-about issue on the platform where the negative effects of like counts promote social comparisons and anxiety. We know the importance of crafting a killer campaign across the social media board. With hidden likes already underway, our team produces high-quality campaigns to elevate your success. Contact us today to get started!

Tapkannia is a graduate of Florida International University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in International Relations. She enjoys being a part of a team working on media and digital marketing strategies. She finds solace in the written word and producing quality content.

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