Like counts is Now Private on Instagram - What’s the Impact?
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Instagram has officially started its test to hide like counts in Brazil. The test begun in Canada and now has expanded to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. According to an Instagram's spokesperson, the objective is to minimize the stress of posting online and making Instagram a place where people can freely self-express themselves without the pressure of social recognition.
How Brazilians are Reacting to Instagram Hiding Likes?
The test started on July 17, 2019 in Brazil. So far, the majority of the population liked the update. Some are skeptical, thinking that it’s just a marketing move to make people spend more money on the platform. Others are playing with the fact that now they can post anything they want without fear of 'flopar' (Flopar means flopping, which is the term Brazilians use to describe a situation where a social post did not get enough likes and views). To be honest, Brazilians are more acceptable to changes because, at the end of the day, we always find a way to overcome any situation.
The test did not have a negative impact on Brazilian users. There are a few Brazilian Instagrammers posting a print of their posts number of likes.
Another fact is that, in Brazil, Instagram Stories became more popular than the timeline, the number of visualizations was always private in the stories. Therefore, the new Instagram update did not prompt a negative reaction among Brazilians users.
I believe the only thing that it’s annoying is that the young generation no longer can see who likes their crush’s pictures and that's a real bummer for Brazilians Millennials. For real, that’s has been the main subject of all memes so far.
Does Hiding Likes Help Diminish Social Anxiety and Isolation?
From a Brazilian point of view, I believe it does not diminish social anxiety, isolation, and depression. Mostly because, in Brazil, the comments are the main reason for mental distress. People use comments to freely express their hate, racism, and all kind of prejudice.
However, in the longer term, it will help diminish the feeling of competition. Of course, people will continue to buy likes, but I think Instagram will be lighter and diverse. More people will feel free to post whatever they feel like without fearing social judgement.
What Now? How Marketers and Influencers Can Measure Social Media Success?
For social marketing managers, the likes count hiding won’t interfere in their work, however for influencers, it might be a problem since likes counts is an important metric to determine engagement and transactions with brands. In my opinion, real influencers that take their roles seriously should perceive this as an opportunity to showcase their success based on real data and real people interactions. According to an article on Refiney29:
Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, an AI-based influencer market place, said: "Content, not likes, is what’s driving the train. There are several other metrics that can be used to measure the validity and effectiveness of a brand’s campaign. We also look at story engagement, follower growth, and attention metrics like video completion, audio on or off, and valid and viewable impressions. Click-through rates that measure new leads and website traffic are also something that we look at very closely."
Influencers should not concern about Instagram removing likes counts, they should, more than never, invest in being authentic, producing great content, and making real connections with consumers. I believe it actually helps professional influencers stand out! The real ones will see this as an opportunity to showcase their value professionally.
What’s the Probability of Instagram Releasing the Test in the US?
My personal assumption is that Instagram might never test to hide likes counts in the US. The sentiment of social acceptance in the US Market is taken more seriously than in the rest of the world. There are a few US influencers throwing a tantrum before Instagram's test even hit them.
In the social media economy, likes is a form of currency. However, the fact that Instagram is making likes private shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing by the US users.
To close my thoughts, I’ll leave a quote from a comment of video director Ani Acopian to Refinery29:
"Instagram has started to feel like a competition instead of somewhere to go for inspiration," said Acopian. "I think hiding like counts will encourage people to share things they truly care about again instead of things they think other people will like."
Anyways, I can't wait to see other countries' reaction when Instagram release its test in the rest of the world.
Last updated on 07/20/2019.