No more likes?? Instagram has officially started testing hiding the like count under photos and videos with a few users in Canada.
Followers will still be able to see who liked a photo or video, by tapping through to see the list, but no actual number count will be visible anymore. However, users will be able to see the number of likes on their own Instagram posts.
Are you the chosen one? Unfortunately, there is no way to opt-in or out of the hidden like testing group. This is because Instagram has randomly selected a percentage of the population in Canada to execute their test.
How will this affect users on Instagram?
Hiding likes will fundamentally change the way Instagram works as garnering likes is currently one of the platform’s main features. This is a huge change to how Instagram users’ function. Historically the number of likes a brand/influencer receives on a post is an indication of their popularity and success status on the platform. Now popularity and success will have to be determined using other metrics; most likely post comments.
Instagram’s intention for hiding the like count is to drive users to create more authentic content without focusing on the numbers of likes and the intense competition on likeness or success and to place more emphasis on connecting with other people. This will also eliminate the use of buying likes and using bots to generate unauthentic likes.
Brands will now have a harder time finding influencers without the ability to publicly view an influencer like count; making it harder to gauge community engagement. This could ultimately result in a spending shift from influencer marketing to paid Instagram ads, which could increase the total spend on Facebook.
The Influencer playground is now leveled, where brands need to start looking at other metrics such as reach and impressions to showcase value. The change will also inspire more creative photo or video content now that likes are hidden. This seems to be a step in the right direction for Instagram to drive higher quality content like YouTube.
Businesses will also be impacted by the change. Companies on Instagram will have to be more innovative when analyzing data and get specific about what content is driving the success for their business. Like’s were a quick and easy metric to show users/customers that the content is performing well organically. The change consequently will force businesses to shift focus to look at what is really working.
In closing this change may or may not happen since Instagram is only testing the idea in Canada. But if it were to happen it’s going to be a game changer for everyone on the platform. Influencers, brands and companies will have to change how they view success organically. Social Media agencies will have to adapt quickly to convince stakeholders that organic Instagram still has a place in marketing without “like” analytics.
The only thing I can’t wrap my head around is why test in Canada first? Does Instagram know something, that we don’t!!