Changes to YouTube Subscriber Counts, Facebook Likes

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Social media platforms are an ever-changing ecosystem, and one of the biggest trends in 2019 is the reduction in emphasis on “vanity metrics” like Likes and Subscriptions.

Two major social media platforms have made changes to their user experience to focus less on numbers and more on meaningful engagement.

Instagram, the biggest platform for influencer marketing, began testing the a Like-less interface three months ago in seven countries, with only account owners being able to view the exact Like counts in their user stats. Parent company Facebook might join them later this year – but the Big Blue family of apps aren’t the only major social platform to pivot to a more social, less numbers-driven user experience.

On YouTube, subscriber counts will now be unified under an abbreviated system (for example, instead of seeing 1,234,456 subscribers, you would see 1.23M). In addition, YouTube will limit access to this data on their APIs, which means only account owners will be able to see their exact follower number. This will not interrupt workflow with influencer marketing companies, as influencers can still report their metrics, but it does mean companies can no longer access this data directly.

Both companies have stated these changes are due , in part, to an increasing concern over creator health.

As our CEO Eric Dahan noted earlier this year, “Are you going to pay attention to a video that has 10 likes, or one with 100,000 likes?” We look to others to inform our social behavior, and metrics such as Likes are just one indicator of how other people feel about a given subject. These changes could be an overall benefit for both creators and their audiences, fostering an environment that focuses more on quality content and less on popularity.

With two social giants now headed in this direction, marketers need to start preparing strategies for a post-Like and Subscriber count world; one that places strong focus on qualified user engagement. This is an industry-wide trend, and time will tell how it ultimately affects social media culture.