Instagram is testing the likes on the stories, providing another opportunity for engagement

What would the Like button add to the Instagram story experience?

Currently, you can reply to a story with a quick emoji response, which is then sent to the creator via DM, while you can also enter a message with a direct response that is also delivered to their inbox. You can also get involved in Stories by sharing, forwarding, etc.

But the like button could add another element, and by appearance we could be close to finding out how useful the likes on Stories could be.

As you can see in this example, the app explorer shared Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram seems to be close to launching live likes testing on Stories, providing an easy and quick way to get involved in posting on Stories without having to clog the creator’s reaction box.

A new Like Stories button, at least at this stage of the experiment, would appear next to the message box at the bottom of the Stories screen.

This would mean that the current story forwarding option, indicated by the direct paper plane icon, would instead be moved to the function menu, and that format looks quite effective, and as noted, fairly close to a trial launch, given its development.

But then again, Instagram has been working on this for a while now – here’s another screenshot of the testing option that Paluzzi posted in November last year.

Instagram seems to have reduced that a bit, now only likes are available in the last test, unlike all the different Reactions options.

This is probably because of the way they would be portrayed within Stories, with Instagram noting that creators could see their similarities “in the same place as Story viewers”. Maybe adding all sorts of reactions just took up too much space on the screen, which is why it was only moved to “Like” tags – but then the question also arises as to how much value the likes would actually bring and whether the process is worth adding at all.

As you may remember, back in 2019, Instagram removed public likes that count on posts on a summary, before finally allowing users to choose whether to show likes or not, instead of completely eliminating that option. The impetus for this change was that Instagram wanted to reduce the pressure around public posting and bidding for likes, and by giving users the option to remove that element if they wanted, this could, at least theoretically, help reduce some of that comparison among colleagues and prevent users in deleting posts that do not reach a certain level of similarity.

Which suggests that likes on Instagram may not be overly useful – but again, they serve the purpose of ranking and are important to users who receive that engagement.

The main difference in this new app is that stories like counting wouldn’t be public, but would just be between you and the creator, so it’s not the same thing – but it’s interesting to note that Instagram wants to remove likes on one side, and add them to another.

Maybe that conflict is why Instagram hasn’t started testing the live option yet, but again, it could provide a direct measure to help Instagram improve story ranking, giving content from creators you like best, while also adding an additional interactive element.

And really, anything that gets rid of these messages is probably a good thing.

Reaction to Instagram Stories via DM

Like, what are you doing with that? Send your heart back? Thumbs up?

Reactions do not appear to be actually designed for this type of response, which is why this update makes sense. While for brands, it’s worth noting that removing the sharing option from the bottom of the box could result in fewer reshares, while likes in stories would add another tracking metric and keep it in mind as an impact metric.

All in all, it seems to make sense – we asked Instagram to update the test, and we will update this post if / when we respond.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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