The public metric of likes on Instagram has been equated to a form of currency in the social media world. With Instagram “accidentally” launching a test that removed public like count last week the conversation about what Instagram likes truly mean has opened up and we are here to talk about what removing “likes” from Instagram means for your business if you are an influencer or a marketer.
Will Instagram be removing likes for good?
According to the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, the decision is polarizing so it will ultimately be up to the account user to remove the public display of their likes. This feature is not available at this time but Instagram plans to offer a user experience where likes can be displayed or taken down based on preference.
What does this mean for calculating engagement rate?
Engagement rate is a calculation based off of likes, comments and shares. We know brands like to use this metric when it comes to compensation and evaluation of brand partnerships. If likes are not displayed publicly but you can see who engages with your post on the backend then engagement rate should go unaffected. However, we do want to note that if you decide not to display your likes then your followers may be disincentivized to physically double tap, leading to a decrease in likes.
Again, Instagram has said that displaying like count will be at your preference so impressions, comments and shares will continue to track whether or not you decide to display your likes.
Work with Instagram and not against it.
Almost quarterly we see the Instagram algorithm shift and change. With the new reality of users deciding whether or not to display likes it almost presents an algorithm change that we must evaluate and learn to work with. Although likes won’t be going away permanently, this is an opportunity to find other ways to engage your audience with IG stories or Reels. We actually suggest using Reels as a way to get Instagram to recognize your account as a favorable one in this blog post.
We want to make it clear that Instagram has no plan to get rid of likes fully. If you have any concerns or want to talk strategy be sure to sign up with our advisory plan to talk Instagram tactics with one of our Account Managers.