The influencer market in the United States is expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2018 to $2.3 billion this year, and Instagram is one of the biggest reasons for that leap. People are making six figures a year essentially living lives people would envy enough to want to replicate themselves, leading to sales for brands. Things were looking good heading into the new decade until Instagram decided to figuratively remove the hearts of these influencers by phasing in the removal of the “Like” metric from being visible on the platform.
As part of the change, the number of likes an account’s post receives will only be viewable by the account user. In early November 2019, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri explained the move was to “depressurize Instagram” for young people who obsess over accumulating the most likes. That’s a noble act, but nobility has never precluded panic, especially when that nobility could threaten people’s money.
Nicki Minaj threatened to never post on Instagram again because of the change. Some influencers likened the move to there being “no audience applause at the end of a performance.” Others worried the lack of likes would significantly reduce how people valued their content. Tears have been shed, middle finger emojis have been deployed but the fact remains: We will live in a world where you can’t see people’s likes on Instagram.
ONE37pm spoke with influencers who collectively have over 820,000 followers on Instagram, as well as those working with marketing agencies, about the actual value of likes, how the removal of likes isn’t the biggest issue facing influencers on Instagram and life after the platform.