The impact of the “demetrication” of social media

The number of likes, comments, shares, and followers have been the bread and butter of social media since it has come to exist. These numbers have become a tool of validation and a never-ending popularity contest, which understandably started impacting the way people feel about themselves – and not in a good way. In efforts to curb this impact on peoples’ psyche, the big social platforms began to hide these numbers in hopes of lessening their importance.

Instagram is expanding the geographic regions of a “like count ban” test, which hides from users’ publicly displayed like counts. Twitter has also been testing no longer displaying the number of likes, retweets, and replies on threads, and YouTube has already changed the way it displays subscriber counts.

Brands heavily depend on the use of social media “influencers”. Publicly displayed “vanity” metrics are crucial to justifying an influencer’s worth to brands, and many of the decisions made are still based on these public metrics. The more followers they have and/or engagement their posts generate, the more likely they will be chosen to be worked with.

The below are some of the best ways that we can be prepared for this change when dealing with influencers:

  1. Develop strategies for obtaining non-public metrics from influencers
  2. Establish qualitative assessment criteria by identifying third party tools and measures
  3. Make sure campaigns are attributable and track links in influencer content posted for brands
  4. Implement test-based selection before making commitments to influencers, and launch limited campaigns to see which influencers deliver the required results
  5. Invest in the brands own social media accounts and utilize different ad products. Platforms like Facebook & Twitter now enable advertisers to promote from influencers pages directly which therefore gives them access to metrics that really matter to them.

Although platforms are moving towards removing these numbers, they are still very far away from complete demetrication. The key here is to move away from generic numbers and look to metrics that matter, like completion rates vs overall number of views, and the importance of authentic engagement generated by relevant content per post vs looking at likes or number of followers.


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Tamara Suleiman

Manager - Social Media

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