The Real Truth Behind Instagram Likes and Why They’re Never Disappearing
Oh No, LIKES Are Disappearing!
…But Not Really.
Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, may have set the United States ablaze last week with his announcement to get rid of Instagram Likes, but the fine print tells a completely different story.
With likes going away “as soon as next week” officially one week behind us, the likes we love can disappear quite literally any moment now. Here’s everything you need to know to understand the implications of Instagram’s changes — whether you’re an influencer, an aspiring influencer or just a social user on the #GRAM.
I. This is only a test!
First off, only a few American Instagrammers will be affected, and only for a limited time. So no, you won’t wake up one morning to a like-free universe. You may, however, find a small disclaimer at the top of your feed soon that you have been unwittingly chosen as an Instagram test bunny whose likes will temporarily be harder to find.
Which brings me to point number two…
II. “Disappear” was a bit of an overpromise…your likes are still there
That’s right! Surprise — you can still see your own likes. Other people can also see all of your likes, they’ll just have to add them up for themselves.
“As you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts,” explained Mark Zuckerberg at F8. “You can see who liked a photo or video, you can tap through to see [the list], and if you have the time you can add them all up yourself.”
For currently paid influencers this means that you’ll still be able to provide brands with all of your Insta stats to land your promotional deals. And for those of you with fake traffic, it means you’ll be in serious trouble because the algorithm is steadily deleting bot traffic, and the traffic that remains will be ever more clear to your real followers, who can now look and see all the crazy bot fans in your feed, versus just seeing a total number of likes.
For average users of Instagram, this means you’ll continue being able to live your carefree life of posting whatever the hell you want and you’ll have to click one extra button to not care how many people liked your feed.
This is exactly the point. Likes aren’t disappearing during this test, but they will be one extra click away from viewing, which doesn’t seem much like “disappearing” at all.
III. Influencers are in trouble
The real implications of hiding likes is that people are under much less pressure to like a post if they know their likes don’t matter. For fans of Instagram influencers, likes are votes. People are voting on you and the content they love from you, knowing that their like really matters.
Well, now, likes don’t matter. Sending that kind of message to your fan club is sure to make them feel less obligation to show you Insta love. This could very easily mean that your engagement can drop way down. For Insta Influencers this test could cost you major lost revenue if you’re not proactively working your social feed in new ways.
IV. Likes are what power the entire Instagram algorithm
To suggest that likes will actually disappear would mean that Instagram as it is today would also disappear, or at least, become one big Pinterest board.
When Instagram suggests content for you, it’s based on your previous likes. When content appears at the top of your feed, it’s based on the number of likes that an image or video has already received. Essentially everything we do on Instagram is likes-driven.
The likes themselves are absolutely not going anywhere because they are essentially what fuels the entire platform’s algorithmic functionality. Instagram has never made any public statements or plans to suggest that this would ever change.
Likes aren’t disappearing, they’re just evolving a bit.
V. The test could very likely fail
This test is happening in America now because it was fairly successful in other countries like Canada, New Zealand, and a few other countries with a completely different cultural DNA than the USA.
America is — by far — home to the most celebrities and Instagram influencers. The media backlash has only begun and once the disappearance of likes are tested, it can mean millions in lost revenue to business and entertainment, two very powerful industries you don’t want to mess around with.
Also, the countries who enjoyed this test simply weren’t like Americans. We love competition, spending and our egos: three things that Instagram definitely feeds in us, for better or worse.
If we can’t get our attention and a dose of healthy competition in one social media platform, we’re simply going to hop on the bandwagon of another. Let us not forget, Facebook owns Instagram, and Mark Zuckerberg should have already learned his lesson by now. It’s not like we’re jumping onto Facebook every day. Can you even remember the last time you logged in?
Point being, the vanishing likes experiment may just be a quick — oops, lesson learned — for the social media conglomerate, after all.
VI. The window of opportunity is now!
Whether Instagram will vanish its current likes counter on our feeds forever remains a mystery. What we do know for sure is that Instagram influencers can make boat loads of money and free experiences thanks to brand promotions.
It is absolutely clear that if you want to become one of the paid stars on IG, now is the time to build your following. You literally cannot afford to wait.
And if you’re concerned about the platform’s popularity over the long-term, what Youtube and other stars have already shown us is that once you build fans in one social media platform, you can cross promote them onto other platforms in case, say, Tik Tok really does take over.
Instagram monetization is an incredible opportunity for absolutely anyone and even our pets. This is why we’ve created the first and only IG super-pod to give you everything you need to become a paid Instagram celebrity. We are exclusive, meaning that you will need to be invited by a current user. That said, your membership is free for the month if you invite three friends.
Cheers, and here’s to a bright future on the #GRAM.