The treasured social channel of Instagram has had second thoughts to which features are most beneficial to its users. They’ve decided to trial removing “like” figures for users in selected countries across the world.
In short, the new update means that users can see the overall list of who has liked your photo on Instagram, just not the overall numbers. But that’s not the only change…
We’ll quickly update you on the what, when, where and why Instagram is considering the alterations. Additionally, we’ll give our expert opinion on what it may mean for you as a business.
What is the update?
Prior to the update, users could see a running total of how many people have liked a certain Instagram post. This running total is an exact figure.
You can see from the below examples from our client, Clink Hostels and top marketer, Seth Goden that the number of likes and comments the post has received are very specific.
For example, there are 172 likes for the Clink Hostels’ post and 2,316 likes for Seth Goden’s post.
However, the new trial will mean that users will now see a user name “and others”, rather than the number of users who’ve liked the post. See below.
Yet, for the account that’s posted the image, they’ll still be able to view the number of likes their own posts receive. It’ll simply stop their followers from knowing if they got 10 likes or 2,000,000+ likes.
When: July 17-18th 2019
The update was announced today by Instagram, with trusted sources from The BBC, Evening Standard, ITV News and more, spreading the word.
Where: Australia, Japan, Ireland…
Instagram told the BBC that the changes will roll out across countries Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil to start with.
Depending on the success of the new changes, this will roll out across more countries worldwide assuming goals and objectives are met and users are embracing the change.
There’s plenty of reasons speculated around Instagram’s decision to remove the “like” count for users viewing the post. The main fuel to the fire was in-line with their recent push for anti-bullying on the channel: to stop accounts generating a low level of likes, having it affect their mental wellbeing.
Studies suggest this kind of instant feedback on content can boost people’s self-esteem but bring others down if they do not get as many likes.
Reason for change:
Minimise the stress of posting online with users competing over the number of likes their posts receive.
To stop users from worrying about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend more time connecting with people they care about.
Try and remove the feelings of inadequacy in young people. This is because the number of likes is considered a factor in deeming how “liked” a person is in society.
To reduce the pressure of all users but particularly influencers to try and stop any mental pressures/suicides that have previously occurred.
“The goal is to ensure that users feel less judged and to see whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”.
Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy
What it means for you…
There’s lots of speculation around what could happen for people wanting monetary value, lead generation or brand awareness from the change but as of yet, they’re simply speculations.
As a business
For businesses, you shouldn’t see too much change within your social activity. If people like the content you post before, they should still like it post-change. There’s no doubt you might lose some likes from accounts doing so because 200+ other users did, so why not?
Yet, the main user type who is predicted to see a big hit to their account is the “Instagram Influencer”.
As an influencer
The general consensus is that “likes” have become a vanity metric – which we all probably knew already. Despite this, they did help to show us that they were generating high levels of engagement. Now, with the figures disappearing, comments alone aren’t an adequate way to measure the true value to the business.
There’s thought that influencers will have to work a lot harder to prove that they’re bringing value to the brands they partner with which inevitably, could bring more pressure and stress for results.
To conclude, here is a list of our thoughts on Instagram changing their likes feature.
The change isn’t anything to worry about because it’s all new and hasn’t been implemented just yet. Over the next few weeks it’ll become more clear what impacts it’ll have on businesses, influencers and individuals.