Hiding Instagram Likes – Is it Real & What Does it Mean for You?
[Update Nov 11, 2019] Instagram is now testing hiding Instagram likes in the United States!
Let me guess, you’ve heard the news; Instagram has decided to hide the like count of all posts in 7 different countries! Canada was the first country to experience the change (good idea to test it with the nicest population first!) but Instagram recently added Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand to the list of countries who no longer will be seeing Instagram likes.
Of course this change is HUGE and most users aren’t sure how to react. Is this the end of Instagram? The end of influencer marketing? or perhaps it’s a good thing..
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Before I share my outlook and what I think this means for the future of Instagram, let’s first discuss WHY Instagram has decided to start hiding likes.
Why will Instagram likes be hidden?
Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement: “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” the goal, she adds, is to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”.
It’s clear Instagram has taken a keen interest in ending the toxic popularity environment that has resulted due to the pressures of keeping up with major influencers. They want to banish the mindset that your photos aren’t ‘worthy’ without a ton of likes, which is a GOOD thing, y’all!
However, I know a lot of people are panicking, thinking that without an obvious like count or impressive engagement, your account will no longer be deemed “successful”. Well guess what, it’s just not true!
Throughout this blog we’ll discuss what hiding instagram likes means for you and how it’s actually going to be a great thing for most accounts!
What does this new feature look like?
The major thing to note here is that the owner of the account can still see the amount of likes a post recieved, but others will not see them.
This is what my posts look like to the public:
and this is what it looks like when I (the account owner) click on the “liked by” text:
As you can see, the owner of the account will always be able to see their like count, so they have the same control over their content as always – we can still easily tell what posts are performing or not.
As for the public, they can still click on the “liked by” text and see a list of accounts who liked the post, just not the total number. That means (if they had the time to waste) they could manually count the likes. I, however don’t think anyone will be doing this. If it’s of importance to someone, a quick scroll through the ‘liked by’ page will show if the post got very few likes or a lot.
Other than this small visual change, Instagram will look and perform the same as we’re used to.
What are the pros and cons of hiding Instagram likes?
Like any new Instagram feature, hiding likes comes with positives and negatives.
· Smaller / newer accounts will seamlessly blend in with larger accounts on Instagram and will be given more credibility (hidden likes looks a lot better than only having 3 likes!)
· ‘Influencers’ who have bought followers or grown inorganically will be exposed for their lack of true influence (with the removal of Instagram likes they will have to prove their influence through comments and actions taken on their accounts – for example, link clicks when promoting a brand in their bio instead of just like count)
· Users may feel relief that the amount of likes their posts get, no longer matters (let’s be honest, wondering how many likes your recent post is going to get can be very stressful and anxiety inducing for some – which is exactly what IG is trying to squash)
· Attention will be reverted to what really matters on Instagram – getting people to take action on your account such as clicking your link, leaving a comment, sending a DM, etc (these are the actions that everyone should be striving for because they lead to true ROI in the form of traffic and sales)
· Perceived credibility may be lost (When we see an account with thousands of likes per post it insinuates authority)
Clearly there are many more pros than cons (in my opinion) however I know others may have a different outlook. Stick with me though – this isn’t the end of Instagram, in fact it’s the beginning of a better Instagram!
When was the last time you felt frustrated about your engagement? Last week? Yesterday? Today? Well without Instagram likes that feeling doesn’t have to exist any more. Instagram likes do NOT equal success..
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How do we measure success without Instagram likes?
Here’s the thing, measuring your success based on the amount of likes you get has been wrong from the beginning, not just because they’re taking them away now.
Instagram likes are your quintessential ‘vanity metric’. They give you an immediate rush (kinda like a drug!) and when you don’t get enough, you crash. You feel disappointed, frustrated, not good enough, the list goes on..
Of course Instagram likes aren’t totally useless. If they are likes from your target market then you’re moving in the right direction, however there are plenty of other metrics that provide a much clearer picture of your success on Instagram including:
· Website clicks
· Post shares
· Post saves
· Genuine comments
· DM inquiries
· Story swipe ups
· Email, call, text, direction clicks
Notice followers isn’t on this list? They fall into the same category as likes. If people aren’t taking action on your account then you aren’t using Instagram to its fullest extent. When people take the actions above it means you’ve created content that spoke to them and encouraged them to look further into you and your business or brand.
I’d personally prefer website clicks than likes. Why? Well that gets my target market one step closer to purchasing what I’m selling! You should strongly consider valuing these metrics as well.
How will hiding Instagram likes affect influencers?
If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I gear my content towards business owners and I sometimes feel like Influencers think that doesn’t include them, but it absolutely does. Influencing IS a business and while you may put more of your eggs in the Instagram basket than others, it doesn’t mean the sentiments in this blog don’t apply.
As an Influencer you should be focusing on the exact same thing as other businesses – getting people to take action! If a brand hires you to promote a product, you NEED to get your audience over to that company’s feed or website and buying that product. This is what will make brands come back and work with you again and again. The amount of likes you get on the promo post doesn’t matter if no one buys.
This change is going to encourage brands to start paying more attention to the important metrics I mentioned above and will require them to implement more due diligence. They’ll regularly be asking for screenshots of insights and if those analytics don’t match with what they’re looking for, they won’t hire you. If they do, then you just got a job – congrats!
Regardless of your like count, you can still work as an influencer – there’s just more weight on whether you truly can influence!
So will hiding Instagram likes actually hurt influencers? Nope. Only the fake ones!
Instagram is amping up the platform’s authenticity in every way they can. Removing likes, shutting down growth services, blocking repetitive actions, disabling accounts and implementing shadowbans may seem harsh but it’s great for all of the hard workers out there who have grown manually and organically.
Tell me: have you ever posted a photo of something that you really loved, but it didn’t get as many likes as other posts? Well, say goodbye to that feeling! This change will allow us to post what we want without the embarrassment or disappointment of it getting less likes.
Sounds good right?
Listen to Gary Vee: don't chase likes! Ignore the vanity metrics and focus on posting what you're passionate about and provides value for your audience - this is the true path to success on Instagram.
So what do you think?
Tell me in the comments, are you for or against hiding Instagram likes??