Instagram recently announced its unpopular decision to ban 'likes' to foster a more "healthy" environment for teenagers who feel pressured on the photo sharing app.
Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, said the Facebook-owned app will create a "less-pressurized" environment for users who feel they are in competition with other users.
Instagram rolled out the new policy in April by hiding the 'like' button, which was not visible on most posts this weekend. The move was met by outrage as social media influencers complained that they would lose substantial revenue without likes.
"Instagram is a real job!" said influencer Mikaela Testa, who slammed Instagram for rolling out the ban.
Testa said she put her "blood, sweat and tears" into her online presence. Testa has 2 profiles with less than 50,000 followers. Her "talent" consists of mostly posing in bikinis and barely there outfits for her mostly male followers.
Marketing experts said the new policy will force bloggers to pay Instagram to monetize their Instagram Stories, videos and photo posts.
They say marketers will still be able to look at influencers' follow counts, but that metric doesn't show how many users are actually engaged with the content. Followers can click 'follow' and never return to view the content again.
The 'likes' ban will also affect gossip bloggers who abandoned their blogs - which costs money to run - so they can post content on IG for free.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and crisis communications expert, says the days of bloggers getting free rides on Instagram are over.
"Instagram is making it clear that they are done letting people profit off their platform while using it for free," said Torossian.
"Influencers have a few choices here: they can start putting money behind their posts, cutting into profits but ultimately boosting their visibility and therefore their value to brands; continue with their current strategy and hope that their audience continues to see their content, taking the risk that brands may not see the value in working with them without being able to see engagement metrics; or shift their energy to other social platforms. Companies that advise clients on their social media presence also need to make smart choices and begin to advise their clients to seriously consider investing in paid social – organic social media is clearly on its way out as these platforms devise new ways to make money from their users. Ultimately, anyone who uses social media to make money needs to realize that the free ride is over."