Last month, Instagram announced the expansion of their global test in which you will no longer be able to see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to their feed, unless they are your own.

The news has been received with mixed feelings, with not all Insta ‘fundies’ understanding the need for this update. In this blog we highlight the method behind the madness of Instagram hiding likes and what it means for your and your business.

instagram hiding likes

So, what’s the deal with Instagram hiding likes?

Feeling betrayed? Before jumping on the cyber protest bandwagon, you may be quite surprised by the reason behind it all.

According to Instagram, it comes down to the fact that social media is having a negative effect on many user’s mental health and their recent update is an attempt to protect their community from vanity metrics, encouraging users to focus less on likes and more on creating content with meaning. While the purpose of social media was initially to unite and connect people, it has also bought to surface some other nasty and inhumane repercussions.

Many people have become victim of cyber bulling, hate speech and racism. With Instagram being the most popular platform among the younger generation with almost 65% of Gen Z saying they use it every single day, Instagram believes it has now become more important than ever to ensure the safety and security of our youth. Instagram’s chief executive Adam Mosseri explains:

“The idea is to try to depressurise Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.”

why is insta hiding likes

What does this mean for your business?

According to Susan French, CEO of Social Media link, marketers will be affected by Instagram hiding likes in two key ways;’ identifying influential content producers and measuring its effectiveness. “Brands have long ditched using “likes” as the sole means of identifying influencers or for the measurement of a social media campaign. Likes have always sat among a smorgasbord of metrics including comments, shares, followers, click-throughs and ultimately, conversions. While losing likes might be frustrating, it is not catastrophic. “

Essentially, business will need to ask themselves who their brand considers influential. Whoever your business is targeting, whether it be a restaurant targeting potential customers or a new start up… this new feature will force you to build a relationship with your audience as opposed to generating conversions due to popularity.

It has also been suggested that although likes are extremely useful in the early stages of a marketing campaign, often used to gauge the extent of social acceptance of the product or service a business is selling, ‘likes’ are superficial when interpreting a customer’s online behaviour in comparison to the actual sales influence and conversion rate. As marketers, it is essential to ask yourself, does a like tell you whether a customer is ready to buy now? Or perhaps later? All these simple questions cannot be answered by the number of likes you receive.

Looking Ahead

Although we are yet to fully understand the long-term repercussions… whether you like it or not (see what we did there) the digital environment is complex and ever changing, ever heard the saying change is the only constant? Well, marketers need to learn to adapt and navigate the social platforms more transparently and analytically to stay ahead of the game.

Analysing behaviour rather than engagement may just be the key in measuring a business social media strategy.

In the interim, get in touch with a digital marketing agency that understands the opportunity for business to improve the content they create and the interactions they make. Get in touch with our team of experts at FireTap today here.