The Meta-owned photo and video sharing platform Instagram has announced a new way for people to engage with content on the platform – story likes.
The new feature was announced on Valentine’s Day by Instagram boss Adam Mosseri via Twitter. In the video, Mosseri explains that the feature will allow users to ‘like’ as a reaction to any of the stories they see on the app. This new feature will take the shape of a heart icon, as with main feed likes, and it will appear between the text box for replying to someone’s story and the paper aeroplane icon, which allows you to send the story to someone else.
Currently, to react to a story, a user can choose to either send the creator a message in reply or choose between eight ‘quick reactions’ – a crying laughing face, a shocked face, love-heart eyes face, crying face, clapping hands, a flame, a confetti cannon and a 100 emoji. When one of these emoji reactions is chosen, the story creator gets sent a direct message (DM) of their story from the reactor with the emoji next to it.
With the new story likes feature, however, this won’t be the case. Instead, when the creator takes a look at the list of those who’ve viewed their story, any likes they’ve received will appear in the form of the heart icon next to the liker’s username, as explained by Mosseri:
❤️ Private Story Likes ❤️
Starting to roll out today, you can now send some love by liking people’s stories without sending a DM.
Likes on stories are private and do not have counts. Rather, they appear as hearts next to people’s handles in your Stories view sheet. 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/l56Rmzgnnw
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) February 14, 2022
As highlighted in the video, this new feature, which will be private and only known to the liker and the story creator, allows people to show support for one another without cluttering up DMs with story reactions.
Cleaner DMs will certainly benefit businesses, who will be able to ensure that no genuine enquiries from potential customers are missed in lieu of story reactions. It will also allow them to determine what content their audience likes – as many, at present, may be reluctant to send a ‘quick reaction’ due to its conversation-starting nature in a user’s DMs.
What’s more, story likes could, potentially, become a ranking factor in Instagram’s algorithm, with users seeing the accounts whose stories they like the most first in their story lists – in a similar way to the engagement-oriented algorithm already in place for the app’s Reels feature. Whether this will be the case for stories hasn’t been revealed by Instagram as of yet, but it certainly has potential to be used in this way.
Ultimately, story likes on Instagram is yet another way for people to engage with a business or person’s content online. If you need help with the creation of engaging content for use on the web, get in touch to learn how our team at Engage Web can help.