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Testing Hidden Instagram Likes

by | Jul 24, 2019

As you may have read recently, Instagram has started to test hiding likes on all photos and videos in certain countries. It started in Canada, but the test has now been extended to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Italy and Japan.

Why is this being done, how will it work, and could it have an impact on businesses and influencers?

Codebreak manages multiple Instagram accounts for clients, so here’s our scoop:

How will this work for Instagram users?

So, as you scroll down your Instagram posts, there will be no ‘like’ counts.

You will be able to see who has liked a post, but only by tapping through to see the list, and if you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, count how many people have liked that post….

When it comes to your own posts, on your own account, you will still be able to see how many Instagram likes you’re getting but your followers can’t. The number of likes won’t appear under your post, as they do now (if you’re in the UK); you will have to tap on “others” and go through your total number of likes.

Why will we not see Instagram likes?

Mark Zuckerberg said during his keynote speech at the F8 Developer Conference: “We want people to be less interested in how many Instagram likes a post gets and focus more on connecting with other people.” – Which makes sense to us!

Another goal is that it will reduce the likelihood of people getting obsessed with how many likes their friends or business competitors are attracting. If someone posts something that they hope will get noticed and it doesn’t get anywhere near as many likes as a rival… could that have a negative effect on their self-esteem? For some people, absolutely.

How will ‘like’-less Instagram posts affect businesses?

In our opinion, this change to the platform will be positive.

Take Instagram Stories, for example; there’s nothing visible to the public about how many reactions have been given yet look how popular Stories is as a function! It is a hugely valuable marketing tool for businesses that have lots to shout about throughout the day.

This change should empower people to focus more on the quality of their content, rather than posting with the pure aim of getting as many likes as possible. And we all know how much the Facebook corporation values quality over quantity. That is now a given across all social media.

And Instagram influencers?

This action could make it more difficult for brands to find Instagram influencers to work with and vice versa.

Brands care about numbers. Without the ability to easily view the number of likes a paid influencer is receiving… it will be harder for them to accurately gauge just how engaged their influencer’s community is. Again, they could manually count down the list but a genuine influencer should have lots of likes. 1000, 2000, 1million…. Pretty hard to tot up! So what did their latest post attract? 5000 likes or 10000? Who knows?! The brand won’t.

This could result in a spending shift from influencer marketing to paid advertising on Instagram. So it’s likely that the number of ads we see will increase, as brands look for more accountable exposure.

As said at the beginning, the move away from likes is still in the testing stage and hasn’t reached the UK for some reason. Maybe they don’t value our reactions…! It’ll be a few months before we hear any results on how the rollout is performing. So, until then, if you are focused on likes, enjoy them while you can!

But it’s better to have a few people genuinely buy into you than lots who are flaky. It’s the same with Facebook Page likes. Would you rather have 100 people who were proper fans or 1000 who only like you because you entered their name into a prize draw?

Focus on content and pay for ads. That’s what will underpin most social media success.

For further information on Instagram get in touch with our team.

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