In May 2019, Instagram announced a new test that would begin hiding public like counts on all posts. Shortly after, likes started disappearing across the world – beginning in Canada and expanding to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. And after a headline-making announcement from Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri on November 8th, it looks like the US will be the next country to join the list.
But why does Instagram want to hide like counts? And what will this new update mean for brands and influencers? Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the latest change that’s shaking up social media.
Why Is Instagram Hiding Likes?
According to Mosseri, the decision to remove public like counts is part of a greater effort to “de-pressurize Instagram,” and make it a healthier, safer platform. Ideally, it will encourage users to focus more on the actual content being shared – not how many likes it receives. And without the fear of falling flat in terms of likes, users will hopefully feel more comfortable expressing themselves through content creation.
What Will the New Feed Look Like?
While like counts will no longer be public, this doesn’t mean that they’re disappearing entirely. Users will still be able to view how many likes their photos have received, but their followers won’t be able to see the total number. Rather, the post will show that it was liked by “@ZeroGravityMarketing and thousands of others.” The public will also be able to see a list of users who have liked the post, but they would have to count them manually to determine the final amount.
What Does This Mean for Brands and Influencers?
Likes have long been a measure of success on Instagram – and removing them will undoubtedly shake up the entire influencer game. According to our Digital Marketing Strategy Manager, Ashley Gallicchio, the move is actually a huge cash grab for Instagram. “By taking away like counts, the platform is essentially taking away power from influencers and forcing brands to pay for ads,” she explains.
Without public like counts, influencers will have to ask for more engagement from their followers through Instagram stories. They will most likely encourage people to leave comments, participate in polls, share their posts with friends, and more.
Businesses may also be wondering how this change will affect their social media strategies. Like influencers, companies will have to be more creative in analyzing their data, which many believe will help them determine what content is actually working.
According to Ben Arnold, Managing Director at We Are Social, this is a “hugely positive step” for the industry, as too many brands prioritize likes over creating meaningful content. Now, without the pressure of this “superficial metric,” businesses will have more freedom to develop genuine relationships with their followers. Double tapping a photo is easy, but responding to polls, commenting on posts, and other forms of engagement demonstrate your audience’s willingness to connect with your brand – and that loyalty and enthusiasm is worth more than a thousand likes.
Embrace Instagram’s Newest Change & Maximize Your Social Media Presence with the Help of an Expert Team
While a like-less Instagram may seem alarming, there’s no reason to be concerned. In fact, this change comes as a welcome opportunity for many brands to pinpoint the effectiveness of their campaigns and foster a committed, loyal audience. With carefully crafted content and a team of social media experts to support you, you’ll still be able to experience success on Instagram.
For more information about this change, or to get in touch with our social media team, contact Zero Gravity Marketing today!