They very well could be!
Facebook is following the lead of their child company, Instagram, and ditching the Likes counter.
Why would Facebook get rid of Likes?
The big story they’re pushing is that getting rid of Likes will help people to stop comparing the popularity of their post content with others. This should encourage more liberal sharing of content and higher quality engagement with content that is being shared.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the decision. But, then I still haven’t forgiven Instagram for ditching the chronological timeline. I’m sure Facebook has some very smart people driving these decisions.
And if we want to start dipping our toes into ulterior motives territory, this change will be about altering the subconscious signals users get when using Facebook in a way that benefits their bottom line.
Don’t ever forget, Facebook isn’t giving you this free communication and entertainment platform because Zuckerberg is a nice guy. Every decision they make is about keeping investors happy and padding out their bottom line by encouraging more advertising spend.
Are they getting rid of Likes entirely?
No. You’ll still be able to Like or react to a post, but you’re not going to be able to see how many others have also Liked the post.
The exception to this is if it’s your own post or a post by a business/page that you manage. Facebook has remained pretty adamant that you’ll still get the same metric detail that you’ve always had – and this change is supposed to help us shift away from what is essentially a vanity metric, toward more meaningful metrics. Fair play – Likes don’t really mean a lot at the end of the day.
When is this happening?
If you’re in Australia, you might start noticing a change from today. Facebook is testing removing the Likes counter in Australia and depending on the success of the test, it will be rolled out to other countries in the future.
I got the notification this morning in the app so keep an eye out for it –>
What will the effect be in terms of your marketing?
This is a pretty difficult question to answer. No one really knows… But social marketing as we know it is about to get a bit of a shakeup (when isn’t it, though?)
Instagram marketing, which has been dominated by “Influencers” up to now, is where I expect we’ll see the biggest change happening.
Removing Likes isn’t just about making the internet a nicer place, it’s about crushing a revenue stream that’s being generated on Facebook and Instagram that they simply can’t cash in on.
Influencers, fabulous as they are for marketers, don’t do anything for Facebook. It’s an $8 billion industry that Facebook barely makes a cent from!
And the amount you choose to pay for an Influencer has, until now, been largely driven by the engagement rate of their posts. It’s going to get harder to evaluate and compare Influencers to work out who suits their target market best because we’re going to start relying on self-reporting by Influencers.
Perhaps Facebook and Instagram will come out with additional tools that allow sharing of metrics between accounts. Perhaps third party tools will rise to the occasion and give us detailed comparison tools. Perhaps the $8 billion industry will go and find somewhere else to hang out. Who knows?
For now, it’s probably a good idea to start looking at other metrics that benefit your business more. We’ve always said, a Facebook Like is a nice boost to the ego, but it’s not impacting your bottom line. Get your customers onto an email list, build a relationship with them. Failproof yourself for the day Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest…) dies. Don’t put all your eggs in someone else’s basket.
If Facebook disappeared overnight, would your business be able to carry on?