What impact will Instagram’s invisible likes have on users?

By August 5, 2019 March 2nd, 2020 Stories

Instagram has recently announced a trial period of hiding like counts on posts. Currently visible, the count tallies up of the number of likes and comments on a post, which is thought to contribute to feelings of low self-esteem in young people.

The trial period is to be rolled out in countries including Australia, Japan, and Italy following a similar test in Canada earlier this year.

The aim of the trial is to eradicate the pressure felt by young people as a direct response to the amount of likes they receive on a post, with Adam Mosseri, Instagram Chief, suggesting that it could encourage people to spend a bit more time connecting with the people they care about.

Likes on posts in your newsfeed will be hidden, but you will still be able to see your own likes and comment counts, which is good information to know for our fellow marketers.

In terms of social media for advertising, it seems that Instagram stays ahead of the curve, with a media engagement rate of 1.60% per post for brands compared to 0.09% per Facebook post.

Understandably, this has raised concerns amongst Instagram influencers who have may have built a career based on their following and interaction across the platform. Following a survey conducted by American social media marketing firm, Paid, influencers had already seen a hit on their engagement rates, with 41% noting lower engagement on brand partnership posts.

It’s likely that the initiative will mean influencers have to provide more quality content. One of our earlier blogs discussed how influencers have become lazy recently with the content they share, but brands will no longer be encouraged by the amount of likes a post generates and will only have the quality of previous posts to base a decision on.

However, until the initiative is rolled out universally and is properly implemented, it’s hard to gauge the long-term effects on influencers and brands by hiding the number of likes on Instagram posts. When compared with the Instagram story that doesn’t incorporate a visible like count, could newsfeed posts be just as well received as the story posts?

It might even be suggested that the initiative could benefit users in the longer term, and may support smaller brands and influencers to get noticed, who may be currently held back by the judgement of their brand based on ‘likes’.

With Instagram voted the most negative social media platform in 2017, we’re impressed that Instagram bosses are keen to change the environment for users on their platform. It’s encouraging that big companies like Instagram are still responding to serious matters like this, and are setting a good example to other companies and more importantly, young people who may be harmed by platforms such as Instagram.


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