As we’re sure you have already heard, Instagram wants to hide likes from photos and views for videos. It’s already being rolled out in Canada! While some users celebrated in the streets, others furiously complained online about losing their precious vanity metric.
We asked our own Instagram followers what they thought of this and the results are in!
We’ve surveyed the market by asking our clients, family friends and everyone under the sun. Results suggest that 67% of people loved the idea of the like count disappearing, while 33% hated the idea. And 100% have heard about this change Instagram is considering.
It goes to show that everyone’s heard about this potential big change but there are definitely some varying opinions on the subject.
But what would this mean for the future of Instagram and what effects would it have on you, your brand or your business?
What Does It Mean For Everyday Users?
Before rolling out this major change, the biggest thing that most people hated about social media was the currency of likes. As we try to get the most likes on the platform, this pursuit can create negative mental health outcomes and create addictive tendencies among users. Even more so than cigarettes and alcohol, according to a 2017 report. The worst part about this is that they are affecting younger social media users most.
A tragic example of this is the suicide of a 16-year old Malaysian girl, after asking her followers if she should die or not, and 69% of responders voting that she should.
Instagram believes that hiding the like count would help prioritize mental health and encourage more mindful usage of the app. This could potentially be through reducing anxiety, self-esteem and body image issues. Even bullying could be reduced as users could stop comparing themselves to unrealistic expectations online. The mindless scrolling through Instagram could also become a thing of the past – as users may be less swayed to like or follow because others have. What a time saver that could be!
With this move away from likes, Mark Zuckerberg wants “people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets and focus more on connecting with other people.” It is what social media platforms originally promised, after all.
What Does It Mean For Social Media Influencers?
This big change can have major implications for influencers who thrive on “posting at the right time”. For starters, it could make it more difficult for brands to find Instagram influencers to work with, in the first place.
In 2019, brands and businesses have started caring more about the engagement rate and reach an influencer has rather than the number of followers. So without the ability to publicly view an influencers’ likes (also a form of engagement), it could make it harder to figure out how engaged their community is.
However, most influencers are excited about the change, in hopes that they will be able to post more authentically and explore different subjects. Additionally, they also hope that brands will start looking at other metrics that provide a deeper understanding of engagement such as reach, impressions or saves.
What Does It Mean For Marketers?
Instagram hiding like counts will likely also cause a big shift away from vanity metrics and a move towards metrics that provide more value to marketers. We would have to find other ways to prove how one’s followers are interacting with an account. Not only will this alleviate anxiety for users as mentioned earlier but will also provide relief to marketers! It would mean a release from the shackles of desperately wanting new likes at all costs, and a shift in focus to content that is relevant and interesting, rather than just geared towards likes.
More than ever before, good content will be king. Without likes, a beautiful image and a meaningful caption are even more crucial in attracting users’ attention. It’s not a sprint to the highest number of likes but a marathon – filled with quality content that reminds users of their journey with a brand. Because Instagram and other social media platforms need to be treated as a brand awareness tool rather than one that creates conversion.
With a little bit of luck, removing the competitive aspect from Instagram will hopefully leave room for a more positive, productive platform!
But The Reality Is That We Still Don’t Know What Will Happen.
We can only guess that hiding the like count could help spread the love on social media and make the platform a better, safer place, especially for its younger users. Or maybe it won’t have much of an impact at all.
After all, follower counts on Instagram will still remain and still allow for measuring one’s popularity on Instagram. So will Instagram’s inescapable algorithmic feed – a very telling way that impacts the way posts are ranked and displayed.
We’ll just have to wait until these changes are rolled out, and people get used to a world without Instagram likes.