Instagram Likes: Valuable Or Pointless?
Every so often, Instagram announces testing for a new feature that leaves the social media world buzzing. Some of these new features eventually roll out to the platform, while others fizzle out after the testing stages, but either way they create serious talk in the industry.
One reported update that has the influencer world buzzing: hiding Instagram likes.
Several outlets reported that Instagram is testing hiding likes from feeds, meaning followers won’t be able to see how many times people double-tapped on a photo or video. You will still be able to see how many likes you receive on your posts, but no one else will.
Responses to this proposed change, as is the case with all Instagram updates, have been mixed.
Some see this as a positive, hoping that it will cut down on some of the pressures of social media and comparing your likes to others. Especially for young girls coming of age in the Instagram era, social media has amplified the pressures they face to fit in and the people they compare themselves with, which can lead to developing a negative self image. Removing the likes feature relieves some of the competition that the app creates and allows people to post without fear of not earning enough likes.
This will also let Instagram users post more varied content and share whatever they want without the pressure to get the most likes. Presently, many influencers will refrain from posting certain types of photos on their feeds if they aren’t the types of photos that receive high engagement (aka likes and comments). Often called “filler photos” these pictures can be anything from outfit details to atmospheric shots that typically receive fewer likes than photos of, say, an influencer’s full outfit. Removing likes allows users to post what they want and express their creativity freely.
On the negative side, some users are worried that this will bring down overall engagement on the app. When likes are out of site, are they out of mind as well? Engagement on Instagram has steadily fallen over the past year as followers become more discerning about the content they like and comment on, so hiding like counts entirely may encourage that trend to continue.
The feature has yet to roll out across the platform and may not make it past beta stages, but should Instagram decide to hide likes, expect to see less curated content and the rise of third-party metrics sites like Fohr Card and Creator IQ in the influencer marketing world. Alternate statistics like "reach” and “impressions” become important metrics to study, too.