If Likes Are Removed, What Will We Measure?

One thing that has been on my mind since Instagram announced that they were testing out getting rid of likes is: so what's next in terms of measurement?

Vanity metrics, such as follower numbers and likes, have driven both marketing strategies for corporations and influencer success since the advent of social media.

If one of those metrics suddenly disappears, what will measurement consist of?

Here are my takes:

- Though platforms have their own native capabilities, 3rd party measurement tools will become much more critical. Not only will companies invest in these measurement tools to monitor their business accounts, but they will also utilize these tools to monitor -- brace for it -- other people's accounts. Whether it's for competitive analysis or to vet an influencer a brand potentially wants to work with, organizations will rely on measurement tools more than they ever have.

- Another possible reaction from brands is the "anti-" approach to social media marketing, or, breaking the known rules to foster engagement, but totally acting cool about it like you're not even trying to. Take, for example, the embrace of snark and human-ness on social media from major brands.

- Or, what if brands start utilizing social media for reputation management and customer engagement rather than for marketing purposes? It isn't THAT unheard of for companies to NOT use social media for sales or marketing, period. Perhaps more companies, frustrated with the return on investment with social media (but knowing they need to have a presence), will begin to de-emphasize social media as a sales tool but rather see it as an avenue for managing reputation, SEO or other brand benefits.