Instagram has gained a lot of popularity. As of January 2019, the photo and video sharing reported over 500 million actively shared daily Instagram Stories on the platform. In June 2018, there were nearly 1 billion monthly active users on the platform, making it much bigger than many other social media platforms including Twitter (who has 68 million) and Pinterest (250 million). However, in late July 2019 Instagram announced that as a test they will be hiding the number of “likes” on the posts. According to sources, the goal of this step is to “remove the pressure” from users. Since the announcement, the decision has been widely criticized by brands and influencers. Let’s look at the reasons why Instagram decided to hide likes: 

  1. Well-being: Instagram was ranked the worst social media platform in terms of its impact on users’ mental health. The recent policy has been rolled out in line with Instagram’s commitment to improving its users’ well-being. The platform wants to make sure that users have only positive experience with the app
  2. Engagement: This policy can also be seen as a move to promote engagement on the app. Research shows that Instagram’s “like” button is tapped 4.2 billion times a day which means a user moves away once he has double tapped on the post. By hiding the number of likes on the post, Instagram is indirectly asking users to comment more often. By doing so the app is also increasing the amount of time a user spends on the app.
  3. Advertising: The new policy does come with a plot twist! Many scholars and brands think that Instagram has removed likes not only because they care about their users, but because they care about their bottom line. From a public relations perspective, this is quite a big change. Influencers, who make money from Instagram without compensating the platform,  will now lose their main metrics and reporting tools. Being the most commonly used promotion vehicle on the platform, they will suffer most from the “no-likes” policy.
  4. Superior Product: By hiding likes from day-to-day users, Instagram has turned their “wellbeing” policy into a premium product for businesses and brands. For commercial business accounts this new policy will not have any effect, and business accounts managers will have access to the same statistics as they did before. This change is likely to help increase advertising revenue for Instagram.

As social media platforms becomes ever more complex to navigate through our team at Midas PR can help you develop social media strategies for your brand. Visit our website today for more information or get in touch with us by email.