Updated: Oct 6, 2020
You may not have heard the news: Instagram and Facebook are both experimenting with hiding away likes. Although this may initially sound shocking, anyone who’s been paying attention to the social media space wouldn’t be surprised by this move. For any business, it’s easy to understand how this news could be alarming- how will you know if your marketing is reaching customers if likes aren’t displayed? Fear not, because we’ll tell you why social media networks are drifting away from likes and what you can do in response.
Why Social Media Networks Are Moving Away From Likes
Both Facebook and Instagram have been drifting away from likes for a while now. Changes to Facebook and Instagram algorithms have made it increasingly difficult to get likes over the past year. And with the rising popularity of Instagram and Facebook stories, fewer businesses are measuring their success by likes anyway, since people cannot like a story.
Besides technological advances, there are other reasons behind the move away from likes. First, there have been multiple studies on the negative psychological effects of likes on social media. These studies have found that the likes feature was linked to lower self-esteem and loneliness. Some insiders at the major social media networks seem to agree – to the point where some of the original Facebook engineers say they regret creating the like feature in the first place.
Aside from cutting down on negative psychological effects, transitioning away from likes provides other benefits to social media companies. First, it hurts the “fake likes” industry, where businesses can purchase more likes or followers for their social media. Second, the move encourages businesses to start paying for more paid media, such as Facebook or Instagram ads.
The New Metrics You Need to Focus On
So how are you supposed to measure the success of your social media posts if the relevance of likes is fading away? There are plenty of other metrics you can use- which are more meaningful to begin with. Ultimately, a like is the lowest form of engagement- it doesn’t automatically translate to your audience buying your product or even visiting your website.
Here are some of the other metrics you should start paying attention to:
The number of comments on a post
The number of shares on a post
The number of URL clicks
How many people have bookmarked your post to come back to later
The post’s total audience reach
The number of followers that you have
With these metrics in mind, we hope you can start re-evaluating the way you judge the success of your marketing. Likes will still stick around for at least a little while longer, since Instagram and Facebook both are in the test runs of hiding away this feature. Still unsure of how to measure the success of your marketing? Create social media posts with Ripl and you’ll be able to track your engagement numbers for any post that you create.