Instagram after the removal of likes

5 min read
25 December 2019

Likes are going to be removed from Instagram, what can you do next? Let’s take a look!

  • There are no likes on Instagram Stories, are there? And everything is alright. Stories are viewed, but people don’t see replies to Direct messages, comments, likes. They only see views. And it works very well in Stories. Think about it!
  • Most users don’t give likes anyway. They read posts, consume the content, but don’t give likes.

For example, the reach of this post is 24000, i.e. there were around 36000 views in the feed. A bit fewer than 2400 people gave likes.

Let’s presume that 2/3 of the audience has read the post till the end, this will account for 16000 people whilst there are only 2400 likes.

It means that only 15% of those people, who somehow interacted with the post, actually gave likes. I have noticed that there are many people who read my posts for months and years but don’t show themselves.

Who will be affected?

- Users with fake likes

Meaning the users that artificially inflated their likes. They will stop confusing other people. And this is good, the market will purify and get better — there will be more qualitative content. Whereas the companies and freelancers who add likes will lose lots of money.

How does Instagram detect fake likes?

Instagram can easily detect human and non-human behavior. If you scroll the feed and, say, spend 30-40 seconds to read a post, even if you don’t give likes or write comments, Instagram anyway sees everything and will promote such posts on your feed. In the context of algorithms, everything is ok.

- Viral content

How does viral content work? Normally, such posts as when kids rescue a puppy from a ditch go viral. They might have a million likes and fifty thousand comments. You think “it must be a very cool post”. You view it and thus the post goes up, or it can be that you give a like too after seeing the social proof of the post popularity.

There will be less of this content. But the disadvantage can be that the content will be spread less actively based on social proof.

- Engagement

It might fall. Tests have shown that on some platforms where likes were temporarily removed, engagement fell by 10%. But, firstly, we can’t know for sure now how it is going to be. Secondly, that’s not what you should focus on. Instead of thinking of the content, interaction with the audience, you think “There will be a 10% drop in engagement, things have gone wrong”.

Nothing has gone wrong— this 10% is not worth worrying about.

Instagram without likes. What will the result be?

- Content quality will improve

The Bandwagon effect, when a popular post is determined by the number of likes will become a thing of the past. If there are many likes, then the post is good. “I will read it and will give it another like, because I see that other people liked it, and it means the post is good”. Thus, it won’t be possible anymore to bring poor-quality content to the top using fake likes.

More qualitative content will go to the top. It is good both for the market and users.

People will start posting the content they probably weren’t sure about because they thought that it wouldn’t get many likes. So, there will be more content on Instagram.

- Instagram users will start spending more time on the platform

Social networks value those bloggers that keep their followers on the platform. That is how both YouTube and Instagram work. If users are engaged and spend 2 minutes instead of 1 watching your Stories, Instagram notices it and gives you a bit more reach.

What are the other reasons why the time spent on the platform will increase? Because people will stop seeing the social proof and judge posts by the number of likes. That is why they will use the content, read it to evaluate it themselves, and decide whether to give a like or not.

- More content means more adverts that are run through targeting on Instagram

Instagram earns more, Facebook earns more as well. This is the model and it is fairly normal. Instagram is a commercial platform that allows and helps you to earn money and spread your opinion. Instagram is money oriented and the removal of likes will, most likely, increase its revenue.

- Users’ mental health will improve

I am a member of several chats where there are bloggers with thousands and millions of followers and every day I see the same: “Damn it, the reach keeps decreasing. What should I do? Is it the same for you?” and “Yeah, it is the same!”

People who sell adverts on Instagram suffer when something goes not as planned. If reach drops, it affects them because they make less money on advertising.

- Advertising revenue won’t change

Just as people used to request internal statistics and audience screenshots, they will continue to do so.

Customers want to know the statistics in Stories or posts where the advert will be shown. Likes won’t be seen for the users, but they will be for the content owner.

On YouTube, for example, no one pays attention to the number of likes when launching an advert. It is more valuable how many subscribers you have and how many views a video gets. The number of likes and dislikes are taken into account, but it is not that important.

- Bloggers can benefit from the removal of likes

Explicit advertising posts that normally get fewer likes from the audience, will be posted more often by bloggers. They won’t think: “I will get fewer likes!”. It turns out that now they can make an advertising post but it won’t anyhow affect their profile statistics.

- It will be more difficult to look for bloggers who advertise

One of the metrics, which is viewed on the first stage of screening out bloggers for advertising or reciprocal promotion, is likes. But still, you can evaluate bloggers judging by comments, or you can go to a marketplace where they have statistics on bloggers.

Conclusion: there is nothing bad about removing likes from Instagram. Instead, the social network and its users will benefit from it; it will only affect poor content and users that were trying to make money from it.