Thoughts on Instagram Playing Peek-A-Boo With Like Counts + What's Next

Instagram Hiding Likes

Instagram has gone through many different changes over the last year or so, but this one has the potential to be the biggest in the lifetime of the app.

On April 18th, a software engineer named Jane Wong uncovered that Instagram was testing the ability to hide likes from your followers and non-followers. It is safe to say this rumor made its rounds to every tech publication, marketing newsletter, and content creators group around the world. Instagram later confirmed this rumor as a test in Canada during Facebook’s F8 conference on April 30th.

While some are upset due to the fact that they have worked so hard to grow their organic engagement, others are nonchalant. As a human, I am okay with this change. As a social media manager and content creator, I am interested to see what this means for influencer marketing and businesses.

Image via The Verge via Instagram

Image via The Verge via Instagram

We all know that Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm is frustrating, and it is often difficult to get your content seen which in turn makes getting the likes we all desire difficult. However, I am tired of people feeling down about themselves because they do not receive a certain number of likes on a photo or refusing to even share a photo because they do not think it will perform well. We should not feel the pressure to always be “perfect” and not share something just because others will not react to it the way we want.

At the end of the day, likes are a vanity metric. We all certainly appreciate engagement such as a like or a comment, but mid to lower funnel conversions such as signing up for a newsletter, creating a lead, buying a product, or signing up for a service are much more valuable in the long run as they keep a business going.

Even with my marketing knowledge, I still understand the want to be ”liked” by others. There are millions of Instagram users, especially those in middle and high school, who use Instagram and feel unloved simply because their engagement is lower than others. Instagram can also release feelings of comparison regardless of your demographic group.

Survey Says

Last week I used the Stories question sticker on my personal Instagram to ask my followers what their thoughts were on this change. The answers I received were interesting, but I have decided to share them anonymously.

Question 1 - What are your true thoughts about IG hiding like counts?

  • I’m here for it from a perspective of guarding mental issues and bullying in the Gen-Z era. Marketing wise it’s a no… we need the likes! They are Instagram credibility for brands/services/etc.

  • I think it will free people up!

  • I like the idea. Hope it pushes for more genuine and innovative content.

  • Mixed feelings. I like being able to see how engagement on my business page compares to other pages. But I also think people are addicted to likes so maybe it will help with that.

  • Love it.

  • It can potentially take pressure off of Instagram influencers, but infidelity could also increase.

  • It’s great for some of the smaller brands I work with.

  • I don’t know why, but it makes feel like - woah - challenges the satisfaction of likes.

  • I don’t think it will have a huge effect. It will just be weird to think of Instagram without likes.

  • I think it will hurt them. But it could be refreshing.

  • I understand why. Probably for the best. But I don’t like it.

  • Just wonder if this will impact algorithms.

  • I didn’t even notice lol.

  • Sucks for influencers. Will for sure mess with their 💰

Question 2 - Will hiding like counts make you use IG more or less? Why?

  • More! It puts authenticity back on Instagram. Post to contribute, not for the clout.

  • I’m on the gram no matter what 🤷🏽‍♂️. But I’ll feel better about it & hope it helps the kids.

  • I’m not going to stop using Instagram until Lex tells me to. (I’m honored)

  • Nah, I don’t really care.

Final Thoughts

I believe hiding likes will benefit the self-esteem of many Instagram users, but since we will still have the ability to see our stats, users may continue to feel upset about the result of their posts.

Influencers and businesses will more than likely have to change the way they report success. These groups will also probably share their stats with others via their Story to show that they are still reaching the level of engagement they are used to. Unless something changes, influencer agencies will be more important than ever because they will have access to analytics that others do not via Instagram’s API.

I cannot wait to see if this will be optional or if it will be rolled out to everyone. I also believe that comments will become the new goal on posts (even though social media managers like myself have been telling you that for a while) unless Instagram decides to hide those as well.

What do you think about this big change to Instagram? Let me know in the comments!