'It Feels Juvenile': What Aussie Influencers Think Of Instagram Hiding Their Likes
On Thursday morning it was announced that Instagram will be hiding 'likes' in an effort to encourage users to focus on the content, not how many followers have tapped the little red love heart on their post.
The move is supposed to "remove pressure" on the digital platform's users, with the change being rolled out from today.
While you'll still be able to see your likes, other users will not, and you will no longer be able to view theirs. Video views will also be hidden.
The change won’t affect measurement tools for businesses and creators on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and all likes and engagement metrics will still be available in those tools.
But what happens if you're an influencer and your main source of income is directly tied into how many likes your Instagram amasses? And what if you're a brand who relies on Instagram and the subsequent likes on your post to sell your products?
10 daily spoke to influencers and business founders to find out exactly how the huge move could impact them, either personally, professionally or both. Here's what they had to say:
Lisa Clark, Freelance Content Creator and former 'Big Brother' contestant
Likes are a huge part of Instagram's business model and how they monetise the platform, so it seems like an odd move to make on a full-time basis.
The change won't impact me personally -- I am grateful to be at a place in my life where I do use the platform to share my life, but it doesn't consume me enough that likes make me feel more or less loved/or liked.
I have also only ever used my platform as a 'second' job, living off money earned from Instagram has never been my priority, so what ever I earn from the 'gram is just cream.
Professionally, that might be a little harder to explain to my clients and also to brands -- it shouldn't be an issue but it just means that they will need to use third party metric platforms to see the actual likes moving forward.
Plus, as a business or brand you will be looking for more than just likes anyway (as these can be purchased) when engaging an influencer or content creator.
There are way more metrics for serious businesses and content creators than just likes... It's not the end of the world.
Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald, founders of Shameless podcast
We are surprised that Instagram feels like it needs to mollycoddle adults. Our entire digital landscape has been defined by numbers and metrics for more than a decade.
Before Instagram, it was how many likes your Facebook profile got, and before Facebook, it was how many MySpace friends you had. And guess what? We survived, because whether it's our salaries or KPIs, we ascribe numbers to everything.
I doubt that there are many 30-year-old teachers who feel lesser-than because an influencer got 8,000 likes on a photo of her Gucci belt. It’s hard to see how a change like this, some seven years after Instagram really took off, can undo whatever the platform is trying to undo.
Our habits, our perceptions, our attitude to the app and its photos are already deeply ingrained. From a cultural standpoint, we take huge interest in what people flock to, because what is popular at any given moment says a lot about us, what we value, and who we are.
Hiding those numbers feels like a pretty juvenile way to treat grown adults, and seems like something that would be perfect for users under 18 instead.
Sarah Holloway, co-founder of Matcha Maiden and Matcha Mylkbar
I think it’s quite a positive change to the platform in removing so much pressure from everyone to clock up the numbers.
It can be disheartening sometimes that some accounts can reach over a million followers (often just because of a time advantage and different algorithm conditions earlier on) while others don’t feel that’s ever attainable.
It will be a bit disorientating to start with, but I already feel quite liberated by it. We are all subtly influenced by the response we hope to get when we create content but this way, the mentality can shift back even if only slightly to just creating the content you love.
I think from a self-esteem and motivation perspective too, because we are so reliant and intimately involved in our social media platforms these days, it is a positive move in encouraging people to separate the self-worth and value from numbers on a screen.
It’s much more democratic, like podcasts where the numbers and data are so hidden, so that the focus returns to creating what you love, very exciting times.
Dylan Rivier, founding instructor of Barry's Bootcamp
I think it’s a great idea. Somewhere along the line, Instagram shifted from carefree, casual posts, to carefully curated, well thought out, beautiful creations designed specifically to get likes and comments.
Unfortunately it was also easy for people to purchase followers, likes and comments to effectively fool the consumer into thinking their page or post was stronger than it actually was. To a financial gain most of the time, I might add also.
Taking the focus off the numbers will force businesses to look more closely at the content rather than the analytics -- if they like the look of someone then go with them. Don’t just choose to work with someone simply because it looks good on paper.
I can’t see it having any impact on me at all, apart from maybe bringing some fun back into the Instagram game.
Ali Cavill, Nutrition Coach, Writer and Influencer
I think it will be a positive move for many personal accounts but for business accounts it could potentially have a negative effect. Businesses use a variety of methods to determine product popularity and one of those is like count and engagement.
As an influencer I will still have access to this data, however, businesses will now need to reach out to access this information from me rather than just passively viewing my profile to determine engagement.
Jason Neophytou, founder of lifestyle blog Mr Neo Luxe
I believe not displaying likes is a positive change because it will encourage followers to engage with your content in the form of comments.
As a marketer by day, being able to understand your customer (in this case your followers), you’re able to deliver content that interests them, ensuring they’re engaged and loyal.
I’m fortunate enough to work with many brands and my stats will still be visible to me and shareable with clients who partner with me for paid collaborations.
If anything, this change is providing me with more knowledge and insight into what my audience expects from me so that I'm able to continue delivering it.
What about the brands that represent influencers?
Cyan Ta'eed, co-founder of Milkshake, a new app for Instagrammers, told 10 daily that the social media platform is becoming more aware that they need to create the best platform in order to survive, and removing likes is a great step in that direction.
"I think Instagram at its worst it can feel like a popularity contest which can exacerbate people’s feelings of competitiveness. This decision takes away the ability to quantify the success of something by a number and encourages more meaningful connection," she said.
Yet from the perspective of a person who owns businesses that are on Instagram, Cyan believes it will make it more difficult to quantify the success of their content.
"It’s a forward thinking and strategic move on Instagram's part, and will make it a more positive platform. Long term it will encourage us to make content that is more about communicating and less about likes."
Anthony Richardson, founder of Q-83 the influencer authentication program, told 10 Daily that the shift is an opportunity for influencers to adapt and get better at what they do.
"Hiding likes will help separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ when selecting influencers for a campaign. To date, brands have used followers and likes to determine an influencer’s value," he said.
He said the rise of 'bot farms' and 'fake followers' are a flawed method of assessing how valuable an influencer really is and that is will force those on the channel to find more accurate ways of sourcing data.
"This provides a golden opportunity for influencers with authentic audiences to build long term and lucrative relationships with the brands they support. Conversely it makes it more difficult for ‘fake’ influencers to thrive."
Featured image: Instagram