The Instagram Community Continues to Debate the Platform’s Latest Experiment
Instagram announced that it would start hiding the number of likes on users’ Instagram posts. The company started testing the change back in April in order to create “a less pressurized environment” on the platform.
The change, for now, is temporary and will only affect users in seven countries: Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Japan.
Instagram explained that implementing this change to the platform will encourage users to be more authentic. “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get…You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received,” the company added.
Instagrammers, particularly younger users, place an incredibly high importance on the number of likes that they receive on their posts, and as a result, compare themselves to others who receive more likes. For this reason, many feel that hiding likes is beneficial for the many people who believe that Instagram negatively impacts users’ self worth. However, the influencer community is in an uproar over the matter.
For most influencers, the number of likes they amass on a post is a crucial indicator of engagement rates. Moreover, the number of likes they receive on their content helps them win brand sponsorships.
“They said they’re doing it to take the competition out of posting – I’m not in competition with anyone on Instagram, I’m here to run a business…They’re taking a tool away that’s really important for us,” wrote Jem.
Another influencer, Gretta van Riel who is the founder of SkinnyMe Tea and HeyInfluencers, believes that the change will make it difficult for influencers and brands to scale their campaigns. She took to the platform to share how she feels hiding “likes” will affect influencers.
“Ultimately, brands spend the advertising $ on Instagram. This change is going to make it much harder for many brands to judge an influencer’s effectiveness (which engagement is an indicator of) or know when an account has bought fake followers etc,” wrote van Riel.
This will make it harder for brands to truly scale their influencer marketing efforts (without the use of tools with integrated social analytics, hi @heyinfluencers 👋🏼♥️) leading the way for a further investment into paid,” she added.
Van Riel commented further on the matter stating that Instagram is likely hiding likes because it will encourage users to spend even more of their free time browsing the platform.
“They’re shifting the mentality from the pack to a far more individualised responsibility to engage (which is smart from their position). Think of it like this, if you cannot see the likes total, you feel as though your individual like or comment means more — so you will take more time engaging rather than just seeing yourself as lost amongst a sea of others,” expressed van Riel.
With Instagram now hiding “likes”, brands and influencers will have to seek new ways to grab users’ attention. According to USA today, marketing experts believe that one of the ways influencers and brands will achieve this is by pushing more “sponsored” content on Instagram and by posting more Instagram stories.