With more than 1 billion active accounts every month, Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms. Since its launch in 2010, likes on posts have been the measurement of success on Instagram. Although Instagram initially intended to portray authenticity, creators on Instagram essentially made content that “gets the highest likes.” But what if Instagram removes likes altogether? Since 2019, Instagram is indeed gradually getting rid of like counts from its platform.
The highly competitive world of Instagram made users “buy Instagram likes” on many platforms to get ahead of the competition. But a proper Instagram strategy will help you reach more users easily. You can schedule your posts with Postfity and let it do the publishing work for you, saving your time to plan your Instagram posts.
Hiding, Not Removing Likes
In a Twitter post published in July 2019, Instagram announced that it is testing to hide the total number of likes and video views. The thread also read that it wants you to “focus on the posts and video you share” instead of how many likes you get.
So, Instagram likes aren’t really going away. The count of likes will be private, and you can still see how many likes you get on each post. It’s your audience who cannot see them, and you cannot see theirs, either.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced in November 2019 that Instagram would be hiding the number of likes displayed under the posts. He said that the decision was taken keeping the emotional and mental health of Instagram users in mind.
When Will Instagram Likes Be Removed?
As of now, the hidden likes update is not available to all users. As announced in Instagram’s tweet in July 2019, the removal of likes was first tested in Brazil, Australia, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Japan, and New Zealand. The update started rolling out for US users a few months after the announcement. The update is not available to everyone yet, but more and more users continue to receive it.
The users who receive the update are not likely to receive a notification about it. They’ll notice the change in their Instagram feed as soon as they get the update.
Can You Still See Likes?
While like counts of your posts will not be visible to your audience, they can still see the full list of people who liked your post by tapping on it. But there’s no way for them to get the like count without manually counting your likes.
You will have access to your likes as usual. If you have a creator/business account, you will also have access to additional statistics provided by Instagram regarding your reach, engagement, and more.
You might still be seeing like counts on your feed, which means the feature hasn’t reached your region yet. Instagram is still expanding the feature on a limited scale to other countries after announcing the update for US users.
Why Is Instagram Getting Rid Of Likes?
According to the Instagram CEO, the platform is getting rid of likes primarily to reduce the peer pressure faced by its younger users. It is also a way to make posting on Instagram less of a competition and more of a platform to express authenticity.
But there might be another reason to do so. Hiding likes is likely to motivate users to post more frequently than usual, as they face less pressure to make “like-worthy posts.” This is, in turn, likely to increase the time spent on the app.
Whatever the reason may be, the move comes after a lot of criticism faced by social media platforms regarding the mental health of users. Many argue that social media platforms merely exist to remind people that others are having more fun than they are. So, whether it is with a noble intention or simply increasing growth, the move to remove likes from Instagram is one of many steps needed to help promote authenticity on social media.
Is Instagram Hiding Likes Bad For You?
Initially, removing likes from Instagram was considered to have a negative impact on influencer marketing. But after speaking with influencers with small and large follower base, BuzzFeed News reported that a lot of them were in favor of the change. They also considered removing likes to be a sensible move.
In the report, lifestyle blogger Grace Atwood (@graceatwood), who has an Instagram follower base of more than 160,000, says that she doesn’t think the move will affect the engagement overall. She also says that this will have a positive effect in terms of measuring metrics of post success, as brands will start to value other metrics like saves, comments, shares, and more.
The enigmatic Instagram algorithm has a simple basis – user preference. A common trend in user preference across Instagram is more realistic content. Users want to see and engage in content that does not look overly manipulated but are more authentic and candid. This means that although Instagram does not have an algorithm that deliberately reduces engagement for perfect looking and heavily manipulated posts, user preference causes the engagement to go down anyway. But it is important to note that the algorithm is personalized to each user. So engagement for realistic content is not guaranteed to go up universally. Simply put, if the users want realistic posts, then Instagram will show them just that.
Hiding likes will help accounts with a smaller follower base to earn more credibility, as the users will judge posts based on their content rather than the like count. This also rules out the practice of buying likes, as the influence of like counts doesn’t exist anymore.
As Instagram relayed in its announcement tweet, users will feel less pressure to get more likes on their posts, which will lead them to post more. Users will also be engaging more if they come across great content. One simple tweak of hiding likes is likely to help Instagram go back to the main idea of social media – connecting to people.
What Metrics Should You Measure Now?
Since like counts are not as influential anymore, users need to find other metrics to gauge their performance. That is a positive thing, as likes were not a good measurement anyway, and manipulating them is a fairly easier and common practice. This also makes the follower count a less important metric.
So if you are an influencer, what metrics should you measure now?
Having a creator or business account gives you access to statistics that helps you analyze and track the performance of your content. These include the number of comments, profile visits, story replies, total reach, total impressions, and more.
Another important metric to track is the number of saves for your posts. This hints to the Instagram algorithm that your posts are valuable to your audience. These separate metrics are like puzzle pieces that come together to shape your overall content performance.
The Way Forward
With Instagram likes out of the equation, you can now focus on creating more authentic content rather than chasing like counts. Instead of straining yourself to create the “perfect post,” showcase your true self.
At the end of the day, what the user wants, the user gets.