Since May, Instagram is testing a new feature. One that could seriously affect how brands focus their Digital Marketing strategies and, specifically, their social media plans and their relationship with influencers. We are talking about the hiding of likes on photos and videos.
This new functionality is a pilot test that is being carried out with specific users in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. However, it is expected that it will be implemented in other countries and applied to all the users later next year.
At the F8 2019 conference, Mark Zuckerberg explained: “As you scroll through your feed, there is no count, but you can see who liked a photo or video, you can touch to see [the list] and, if you have time, you can add them yourself.” The user who owns the publication will see the count of likes, but not its followers.
This change represents a massive evolution of how Instagram and its users work. On Instagram, the number of likes is considered a measure of “success” and gives the user certain “status”. The implementation of this new functionality is more of a public action that seeks to alleviate the social pressure associated with “popularity”. Besides, it has been created to help users share more authentic content without getting caught in the competition of likes.
“We want people to be less interested in the amount of ‘likes’ a publication receives and focus more on connecting with other people,” Zuckerberg added.
How your profile will look with this new feature
If you are one of the users selected for the test, you will see a banner on your profile that states: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only you will be able to see the total number of likes on your posts.”
After the implementation, the number of likes won’t appear automatically under your post. Instead, you will have to touch “others” to see the total of likes you got:
At the moment, there is no way to enter the test group or hide your own likes. As long as it remains a test, only a select group is experiencing this “new freedom” within the platform, and it is also part of an initiative to reduce bullying among users.
How will Instagram without likes affect brands?
According to an article by Taylor Loren, Head of Marketing at Later, she says “I think this is a really positive change for the platform. Instagram Stories don’t have any public metrics, and that hasn’t stopped it from exploding in popularity with both users, brands, and influencers.” So it certainly makes sense. On the other hand, the purchase of followers, comments and likes –a popular action a few years ago– has severely affected the engagement of some brands and also the veracity of some of the so-called influencers.
Thanks to the implementation of this new functionality, your brand should focus on being more creative and sharing relevant content. By eliminating the count of likes, what will prevail will be the quality over the quantity. The relevance of your brand will be reflected in the content you publish and how this content affects your engagement, your traffic and, ultimately, your conversions.
Also, the relationship with influencers will be more transparent, and this will make users rethink their interaction with these personalities recommending brands and products. It will no longer be a question of seeing someone promoting a brand for the sake of obtaining hundreds of thousands of likes. Actions that, in the end, do not translate into better results for that brand.
What we can expect is that now, the relationship between users-brands-influencers will be more authentic and based on real interests. It is personalisation applied to social networks. How do you think this change will affect your brand strategy? Share your opinion in the comments.