Instagram, Don’t You Like, Likes Anymore?
Instagram has shocked the world and rocked it to its absolute core… Well maybe not so dramatic, but still, Instagram has done the unthinkable.
It looks like Instagram is going to make Like Counts private for users… everywhere!
In a shocking revelation, Instagram admits and confesses to testing the hiding of public Like Counts. And they’re now planning on rolling the feature out platform-wide.
What It Means
No one will see your likes except you! Only account owners can see how many likes they have.
How awesome is that? Not!
*Silence… Sounds of Instagram influencers fainting*
Users will have to think for themselves before liking something instead of just liking something simply because everybody else likes something… Users will have to think!
Users: “Oh what fresh hell is this! How do I know if I like something if I don’t know who else does?” 😛
No, But Seriously, … What About Measuring Engagement?
One of the biggest concerns, particularly for digital marketing agencies and influencers will be how to measure engagement going forward if like counts are not publicly available. Will people soon be begging for comments instead of likes?
One way around this would be to rely on self-reported screenshots from account owners, but this then raises other problems such as manipulation of the images using Photoshop. Another solution that has been proposed by the digital marketing community is some kind of private URL, partner dashboard or API that creators can share with agencies and agencies can share with their clients, just so that everyone’s in on the secret number… of likes.
But Why… Why on Earth?
Yes, that’s the question the whole digital marketing community has been asking in the wake of this shocking move by Instagram. Well, according to Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, the platform doesn’t mind doing things that are bad for business if it helps people’s well-being and health. Oh… How, charming!
Why is it bad for business? Because businesses may reduce their ad spend if it became less important to boost engagement and be popular! Duh!
There is merit, however, in this explanation, because hiding likes is a huge win for sanity on Instagram. This is because people driven by like counts alone will be discouraged from posting content as frequently. This move may also result in more freedom for creativity and expression as people will be willing to post things they might not otherwise have posted for fear of not receiving enough likes.
It would also help to make so many smaller Instagram accounts feel less ashamed when they look at the tsunami of likes and engagement than larger, more popular accounts get.
All in all, based on this assumption, the move to hide likes to the public may result in a saner Instagram world that allows people to think clearly and express themselves more freely.
A Possibly More Sinister Explanation
It’s also possible that Instagram has become jealous of Instagram influencers. No, not because they get more likes than Instagram but because they’re taking a whole chunk of money for themselves that could otherwise go towards Instagram ads.
Influencers are paid directly by their hirers for their posts and often their costs are decided based on engagement rates generated by the respective influencer. It is reasonable to assume that Instagram is trying to rain on this parade and instead incentivize businesses to spend more on Instagram Ads instead of influencer commissions.
If this is true… Instagram… How could you!
Making Sense of it All
If Instagram ultimately decides to roll out hidden public likes platform-wide, it would be a game-changer and a paradigm shift (sort of) for digital marketing. Agencies and influencers would have to come up with novel ways to keep up engagement and possibly find new ways to ensure that they maintain their visibility.
Influencers could be hardest hit if this rolls out because they rely heavily on visibility and engagement to build their images and create an appeal for brands to partner with them.
The Bad News Never Ends
Let us leave you with this… Even Facebook appears to be testing out something similar! If Facebook also folds and gives in to this quite mad idea of hiding public likes, the world of digital marketing as we know it could be at an end (Only joking… But it will change so drastically that it may become unrecognizable).