Instagram has added a new, simple way for users to engage with Stories content with Stories likes, which enables you to ‘like’ any Story in your feed, and let the creator know, without having to start up a DM conversation.
❤️ 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 demonstrated by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, now, down the bottom of your Stories view in the app, you’ll see a new heart icon, which, when tapped, will send the creator of that Story a like.
Stories likes are not public, and only the creator will be able to see them. Creators will be able to view their Story likes in their Story insights, with a small heart icon added next to the viewers’ name in the view listing.
And as noted, Stories likes will not come through as a DM, so you’re not suddenly going to get an influx of DMs as people use the function to react to your Stories.
Which is good, because it’s pretty annoying to have to send somebody a DM to let them know that you liked their Story. This adds a simple, low-touch way to indicate your interest, without having to send a new message alert every time you want to signal such.
It could be a handy way to increase Stories engagement, while it might also add another signal for Instagram to use in ranking the Stories in your feed, and highlight those most likely to be of interest.
To be clear, Instagram hasn’t indicated that this is or will be a ranking factor at this stage. But you would assume that with another means of direct insight, Instagram will look at how it could utilize such to improve each users’ experience, by showing them more of what they literally like.
Which could be a good way to learn more about broader user response, while also providing a simple feedback mechanism for creators. It always feels better to see how people are responding, and reducing the pressure around DM responses for stories seems like a positive step.
It also moves Stories more into line with TikTok-style short video clips, which rely on user engagement signals for both ranking and engagement. Instagram already has this on Reels, and now, Stories viewers will also be able to interact more easily, which could prove to be a valuable, habitual shift.
So while, technically, it may seem like a fairly minor update, it could have a big impact, and it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram looks to use the insights it gleans from such, and whether that then helps it boost user engagement.
The new like for Stories button is being rolled out to all users from today.