It’s been about a week since Instagram removed it’s ever-popular “likes” feature in Canada. Like most digital content marketers, the news initially sent us into shock. Now what? For years, Instagram has been centered around likes—brands base most of their digital success on how many likes they receive on photos, influencers are paid by how many likes they compile on ad posts and bots are consistently scouring the platform, hoping that fake likes will amount to meaningful engagement that will grow their following.
While the news was a momentary whirlwind to the digital community, now that the dust has settled, we couldn’t be happier to say goodbye to the dreaded likes conundrum. In a world where Instagram doesn’t revolve around how many likes your posts receive (and whether or not the quality of likes has reached an adequate social standing), brands are forced to focus on what should have been most important all along: beautiful, high quality content.
The “New” Instagram
On the off chance that you haven’t heard about Instagram’s big news, we’ll take a moment to catch you up. Instagram has begun testing a feature that will hide the number of likes on your post. The platform’s hope is that users will spend more time interacting with the platform, and less time obsessing over having the “most liked” photo.
With the new feature, only the user will have the power to see how many likes a post has received. Everyone else will simply see a small sample of profile photos from people who have liked the post (as it always has), but will no longer show the exact count or entire user list.
Content is Key
While on a personal level, removing the likes feature could do wonders for mental health. Imagine a world where YOU decide the worthiness of your posts. Users no longer have to spend time stressing over whether or not a photo is “Insta-worthy”; will it receive enough likes? Will the right people like it? Will my followers accept me for this photo?
Gone are the days of refreshing your feed to count likes, deleting posts that don’t receive enough attention, and wondering if people are liking your photo because they truly enjoy the content, or because they feel a social obligation to you.
But the real rejoice comes from brands and their respective digital marketing teams. We have finally shifted to a world where quality content is the most important thing. Without the likes feature, content is forced to stand on its own two feet. If someone doesn’t enjoy your content, there is no longer a social obligation to like it anyways. While it’s a learning curve for marketers and their campaign goals, Instagram has already proven itself as a necessary marketing tool, and ultimately, this will drive deeper, more honest engagement between users and brands, and create a more transparent platform for everyone.
We strongly believe that digital marketing—especially when it comes to social media—should revolve around building not just your brand, but a dedicated community to support it. There is a social aspect to everything we do; consumers no longer want to simply purchase, they want to trust and connect with the brands they are purchasing from. By making this change, Instagram has shown us that we are one step closer to changing the digital marketing game from quantity to quality.
Want to talk further about high quality, beautiful digital content creation? Contact us—let’s start building the relationship!