The social media giant recently announced that it has rolled out a trial to hide the number of likes on a user’s post. The user still gets to see who have liked their posts by clicking on “and others”, however no other account can see this figure. The change has been implemented in seven countries including Australia.
The reason behind it?
“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” according to Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s Policy Director.
By removing the number of likes, their goal is to also “remove pressure” on its users. According to reports, the test also aims at determining how it will benefit the user experience by making them focus more on sharing content of things they love, rather than acting on the pressure of gaining a certain number of likes.
It’s a fact that social media influences our mental health. A 2018 survey from the Pew Research Centre found that about 40% of teens in the US feel pressure to only post content that had earned a specific number of likes and positive comments on social media platforms.
Considering these findings, Instagram has taken action to help resolve the issue by rolling out a few changes, including:
- a new notification system to combat hate speech
- updates on account disable policies
- a new feature called “Restrict” to prevent bullying
- and now, adding to this list is the “No Likes” test
How will the recent Instagram changes affect Aussie businesses?
The changes won’t have much effect on the way brand and influencer accounts (now called Creator Accounts) access their own data analytics. Instagram has said that analytics tools and other measuring platforms used by businesses are still able to track the number of likes on a post. However, social media marketers who use Instagram as their main platform will need to adapt. It’s no longer just a simple numbers game of “how many likes” and “how many followers”. Instagram strategies for businesses will need to be revised.
Humans are inherently social and follow a herd mentality, so if likes per post is a key metric you report on for your accounts, be prepared to see an overall drop and set new average benchmarks. The logic is simple – when users don’t see likes on a post, they are generally less likely to engage with it themselves.
How do we keep up with the pace of this ever-changing platform?
As a business owner, or a digital marketer, how can you adapt to these changes? Are you currently measuring your Instagram account’s success simply based on the number of likes on your posts? If so, have you considered different ways to measure your success apart from this metric?
This change is likely to stay. But don’t fret! You can generate successful outputs without having to feel pressured on the number of likes you get. Forget everything you know about Instagram post likes. Start paying more attention to your post reach, shares and clicks. These are metrics to identify whether users view your content to be “worthy”, and are key indicators of whether they will continue to take further actions with your brand.
It all boils down to how businesses will rethink the way they analyse data and the kind of content they put out there in order to drive a wider reach to achieve your business goals, and focus more on sharing content that drive sales, boost brand affinity and loyalty, and encourage user engagement in the long term beyond just post likes.
“While it’s a huge change to Instagram as we know it, it’s definitely not unwelcomed and it would serve to filter out a lot of ‘noise’ to ensure quality of content.” says Michelle Chiu, the founder of DOMIN8 Marketing.
“Instagram, social media, and digital marketing in general is a forever changing landscape. As a business owner or marketer, it’s just a matter of taking time to keep up with the latest updates, and being quick to adapt to new techniques and strategies. If your marketing budget allows, it would be helpful to gain insight from industry experts and specialist agencies.”
What do you think about the changes? How has it affected your social media performance so far?
Let us know in the comments below – we’re keen to hear about how it has impacted each brand!