How Facebook’s Removing Instagram Likes Affects Digital Marketing Strategy


Instagram announced last week that it is testing the removal of ‘likes’ from public visibility. Instagram’s parent company Facebook said its aim is to remove the pressure of achieving a lot of ‘likes’ which can have an adverse effect on users. This is a reaction to the larger conversation on the possible impact to mental health.

This is currently on trial in Australia, but it can be assumed that if successful, it may mean a rollout across the region.

What would this mean for marketers?

This change won’t affect businesses or creators on Instagram; all ‘likes’ and engagement metrics will still be available for them. However, the impact for brands comes when working with KOLs or influencers as part of their social media marketing strategy.

Currently many brands recruit their influencers based on popularity, which is often measured by the number of ‘likes’. With those metrics gone, marketers will need to find new segment of analytics to consider when choosing an influencer to work with. They would also have to bear in mind that their target consumers’ behaviour may evolve along with this change.

From Likes to Outcomes

‘Likes’ have never been a good measure of the quality of an influencer’s content. In marketing, they are often referred to as ‘vanity metrics’; nice to look at, but did it sell any products?

Working with influencers can be the right thing to do for your brand, but only if you set yourself up for success.

When strategising marketing campaigns, high quality content and making authentic connections will be where real results will be achieved. Important questions to ask are:

Does this influencer match my brand values?

Are they telling a genuine story?

Does their creativity make them stand out?

Do they have quality interactions with their followers?

And it doesn’t stop there. Competition is tough. Marketers need to make better informed decisions. Now, more than ever, it is important to work with specialist partners who not only measure marketing impact, but also prioritise data-driven marketing. Metrics like brand awareness or sales lift should be metrics that are measured on an ongoing basis. It’s time to get real tangible results.


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