Every time Instagram announces a new feature or some beta testing, you can bet that it will cause a stir. And that the internet (mostly Twitter, actually) will lose it. Funny how anything Instagram related always ends up being debated on Twitter. This time is no different of course and it is about hiding likes. Is it a good idea however? Will it improve user experience?
As far as I am concerned, I am standing neutral. It can be a good idea, sure. It can also be a terrible idea. Why? Because, as mentioned in an older blog post on Instagram, the main reason why the app isn’t such a good place at the moment, is not Instagram itself. No. The main reason why the app is no longer just as pleasant is because of what users do of it…
…to get ahead of the game.
Let me rephrase. Instagram is partly responsible for what the app has become. But users are to blame just as much… I am afraid, hiding likes could go either way, for that very reason! Let me explain.
Instagram hiding likes is a good idea if…
- Instagram works on their algorithm too. Engagement remains a key criterium, but not the main one. Likes no longer determines whether photos get seen or not.
- Instagram hides likes for everyone. People seeing the content on their feed, as well as those posting it. Otherwise what’s the point?
- Hiding likes pushes people to consider content above popularity when engaging with post. They do not like content because it already got high engagement but because the quality is amazing, the image stunning, the caption relatable, etc.
- Brands do due diligence when scouting influencers. They check growth pace, following and unfollow patterns, quality of comments, quality of content, etc. There are already plenty of tools available to brands to help vetting influencers.
- Brands take into consideration different criteria before deciding to work with an influencer. Follower count will always be one, but it should not be the main or the only one. Others such as content quality, comments, feed consistency, interactions with other users should also be considered, and help gauge whether the audience is truly engaged.
- If the algorithm changes as well, hiding likes might encourage people to become more creative. People might go back to create content that is personal to them, they absolutely love and enjoyed creating, without worrying about whether it’s gonna get a lot of likes.
- If users play fair and square. Why buy likes if no one can see your follower count?
Instagram hiding likes isn’t a good idea if…
- Hiding likes is just targeted at followers, influencers can still see their likes count and are disheartened when seeing low engagement, due to the following point.
- People engage less assuming that it does not matter anymore.
- Brands are lazy. They do not do due diligence on influencers and end up working with influencers with fake followers.
- Brands decide to base worth and collaborations solely on follower counts. Back to square one then. We’re back into the race to growth and higher follower counts, making it all about followers again.
- The later fuels fake followers and bots buying. Hidden like will make it harder to calculate engagement and detect inorganic following.
- Users can’t see likes and likes still do determine whether your photos appears on people’s feed, that might fuel likes buying… that will probably go undetected.
- The algorithm still mostly relies on engagement to make its calculations. People still feel shit about bad engagement, are desperate. Some will buy into dodgy tactics to fix that or just get ahead. Other will see their mental health worsen because, once again, something they spent time creating, is not getting engagement.
I do think hiding likes can go either way. I think hiding like as sole change to the platform can only be a terrible idea. Especially if users can still see their own engagement and that people engage less, assuming likes does not matter anymore.
I think the only way to come this new feature successful is to change how the algorithm works at the same time, i.e. not basing calculations solely on engagement. Otherwise, I do not think it will have any good impact on the app for all the reasons mentioned above.
If hiding likes do indeed go ahead, what it will make of the the app will mainly depend on what people will make of it. Whether they play fair and square… or not.
Shop my outfit
Midi Skirt – Primark
Tee-shirt – H&M
Beaded Bag – Zara
Wedges – 3 Suisses
Watch – ADEXE Watch London*
Pearl Hair Clips – Amazon
Earrings – Nasty Gal
What about you? What do you think about Instagram hiding likes? Is it a good idea? Or is it not? Do you think it will improve user experience? Or not at all?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,
You definitely make some good points. Like you, I remain neutral at this point – I believe that it has the potential to be a good thing depending on how Instagram, brands and influencers adapt, but that remains to be seen… Time will tell.
Love the outfit! I think as you say, there are pros and cons to this. I understand the idea behind it, and that it can be so detrimental to people and mental health when they work really hard on a photo only for it to get minimal likes. that being said, I know personally I’m always proud when a photo of mine does really well, especially as I don’t have a huge follower count, but if brands can’t see that, sadly I imagine a lot will be lazy and just look at followers – I don’t know, it’s hard because it isn’t all about the numbers but if it’s something you’re trying to make a career from… Maybe they should introduce an option where you can switch off number of likes?!
I also completely agree there are pros and cons! Great post x
I’m pretty neutral on this topic too. I think likes are a big reason why brands work with certain influencers because it’s an indicator for them that the content is popular with their audience. However, it’s possible people will buy likes and that creates a disingenuous Instagram experience. I just wish Instagram was more about creativity vs who has likes. Nice read Corinne!
Natonya | https://www.justnatonya.wordpress.com
You definitely make a good argument for both sides – I think hiding likes is good for a younger generation because I know sometimes how many likes my cousin gets is often how she values herself so not being able to compare herself to friends would be a good thing. But I do think the negative is the effect that it will have on influencers and people who use Instagram for their work and livelihood. It’s definitely a double edge coin.
I’m still on the fence about whether Instagram hiding likes is a good idea. I think it’s a great idea for its young audience who seem to base their worth on the number of likes they get (I have a teenage sister so know about this all too well!)
But from a blogging POV I think it could cause an increase in people buying fake followers because brands will have no way of checking if their engagement matches up. It will be inrestering to see what direction it goes!
I have mixed feelings about this. I think it can cause people to buy followers since likes are being hidden. But on the other hand, I do hope that it does cause people to create more authentic and creative posts!
These are really good points and I love how you’ve weighed up the pros and cons. I don’t really use Instagram enough – nor make money from it personally – for it to really matter to me either way. However as a user of Instagram, I like the “like” feature because it allows me to show a creator I like their content if I don’t have time to comment. I wonder how it will impact brand collaborations and those that make money from their Instagrams!
I love how you’ve weighed this up with the pros and cons and you’ve made some brilliant points. I’m all for them hiding likes as I do think that will make it easier for people who struggle with weighing their self worth on social media interaction. However, I totally agree with you that it could be good or bad in terms of how people interact and how brands approach it. I’m very interested to see what happens x
I am also very swayed on the idea of removing likes on Instagram, I do feel like for people it might take the pressure off and be more of a fun was just to post lovely pics but for influencers I think it can be a bad things because it’s already hard to get brands on board if you have less that 100k followers and with this I feel like it might become impossible! X