Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about or even have been a participant in Instagram’s current trial that removes the public like count from posts. Instagram launched the test in Canada earlier this year and recently expanded the trial to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. A “likely” sign that it could soon be a new permanent fixture on the visual marketing channel.
It’s been a few months now since we last covered the trial, and we didn’t want to leave you wondering how you’ll manage if Instagram does end up rolling out this update to its platform. So, we’re uncovering what the future of everyone’s favorite social channel could hold for brands. And, we’re taking a glass half full approach. Not only are we in support of changing some of the toxic sides of social media culture, but we’re also confident that the channel will thrive with a heightened focus on quality content.
But First, What’s Happening?
Instagram says the trial aims to encourage users to authentically interact with the app. It’s an effort to move away from the days of deleting photos without enough likes and measuring self-worth and brand value based on double-taps. We standby our initial sentiment when we first caught wind of the trial, and still welcome the change with open arms. With the success of the Instagram Stories feature, there is certainly proof that there is more to Instagram than just likes and we’re here for any change that supports mental health.
While the trial hides how many likes a post receives from your followers, users can still see how many double-taps they receive on their own posts. For brands, this means that measuring content and using data-backed insights when selecting images and videos to post will remain integral to finding success on the channel. And not to worry, your Dash Hudson insights and reporting aren’t going anywhere. This change won’t alter our platform’s ability to measure your content’s performance and growth on the channel.
Quality Over Quantifying
Gone will be the days of double tapping after seeing your best friend and coworker’s handle pop up under a meme. The sacred red heart will carry more weight than ever. Brands that lean into this change and encourage their audiences to interact with content that they truly connect with, will develop more meaningful connections with their communities in the long run.
Likes will become a more valuable performance indicator, pushing brands to up their content strategy game and select images and videos based on what will actually resonate with their communities. The end of contests that involve liking seven different posts might be closer and we’re not complaining.
Level Up Your Social Metrics
Engagement has always been a key metric for social managers to measure success on Instagram. And rightfully so — it gives insight into how your content is actually resonating with your audience and provides you with a benchmark to measure your performance against. Just because engagement won’t be public for your competitors to keep tabs on, doesn’t mean it won’t continue to be a metric you leverage on the backend. Measuring engagement will continue to be a crucial metric to hone your content strategy on Instagram, and will hold more weight than ever. But, we’d like to remind you of other metrics to keep in mind on Instagram that will support the overall growth of your business.
Let’s talk about the real deal KPI to track overall performance: revenue. Understanding what images and videos are actually driving your audience to become a customer is crucial to prove out the value in investing organically in Instagram. Whether it means sending your followers to a shopping cart, a subscription form, or an article — it’s the metric that will actually help social marketers receive the credit they deserve from stakeholders in your company.
Dash Hudson’s link in bio solution, LikeShop allows you to link each and every piece of you content out to a link to drive them to your website. This means you can measure content based on conversions that your images and videos are generating, all in one platform with Dash Hudson. A game changer for social marketers.
Ride the Wave
The key to embracing the removal of the like count on Instagram is to continue to use data to drive your approach to content selection, while tracking any notable changes in your audience’s interactions with your content. Without public like counts, this is your chance to get a true pulse on what type of images and videos your audience wants to see most from your brand. Take advantage of this opportunity and use Instagram as a channel to tell your brand story more than ever.
Header image: @yana.porter.art
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