Did you notice anything different when you recently opened up Instagram? You’re not the only one. The platform has finally decided to do away with its Following tab, a feature that has caused quite the controversy among users for its expository nature. The newly deleted tab had once allowed users to see what their friends were liking, commenting on, and who they were following in real-time. 

Instagram likes are also currently the subject of a deletion rumor, and if the plan is carried out, it would mean the removal of the most popular, sought after feature of Instagram as a whole.

Why are these changes a big deal? Because it means your behavior and activities on Instagram are once again private. What does this mean for social media marketing? We’ll explain everything you need to know.

How Marketing Companies Made Use of the Following Tab

Though the feature was mostly frequented by typical Instagram users to spy on their friends, coworkers, exes, and significant others (and sometimes even their enemies), it didn’t go unutilized in the social media marketing world. In fact, according to Harper’s Bazaar, the original intention of the Following tab was to allow users to find new accounts and interests through who their connections were interacting with. This, in turn, made it much simpler for companies to actively gain information on targeting specific audiences, find competitors, and keep up-to-date with what content of their own was working well. Essentially, the feature was an extra layer of analysis and insight that businesses can no longer use as a reference.

What Now?

If you’re a company that made particular use of the Following tab as a way to collect data, you may be wondering what tool you can now use to retrieve the same kinds of information regarding users’ patterns. That’s where the Explore page will come in handy. It may not display activity as granularly as the eliminated tab, but the Explore page will help supplement information about what is trending, popular pages, and just a general idea of what’s being liked by the people you are following. Keeping close tabs on this page, along with Instagram’s general insights, will give you an edge when it comes to content targeting and following customer behavior.

What Life Might Look Like Without Likes

According to Instagram, the idea behind getting rid of likes is to remove pressure from users to receive likes, to alleviate the need for validation, and to make an effort to help with self-esteem and mental health. While the withdrawal of the Following tab has already occurred, this change has not yet hit the entire app as quickly. Instagram tested the idea in markets like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Japan, and several other countries, leaving users in the United States to watch its trial run from afar. Although the move may not affect the average everyday user’s experience with the social media platform, influencers, brands, and companies may be greatly impacted. With likes comes revenue, and now active users looking to grow will only have their follower numbers to increase and rely on. 

How ON Advertising Can Help

With massive Instagram changes being implemented and the possibility of even greater alterations on the horizon, the way analytics and user data is gathered may be experiencing a huge shift in the coming months and years. Need some assistance making sense of it all? ON Advertising can help with that. Our agency offers Digital Strategy Services to ensure that your marketing efforts are aligned with your goals because a formal strategy puts you steps ahead of your competition. Contact us to see how we can help your business navigate these changes and continue to grow. 

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