Instagram is hiding likes all over the world: what should we do now?

A bright sunny day outside. Totally instagramable, you think. Can you imagine how many likes a good picture of it would get? Well, during this week, some Instagram users from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil woke up like this:


The Social Media platform is testing a new “non-feature”: removing the number of likes from each post. The goal, according to the official statement above, is to get followers focusing on what people share, not on how many likes it receives. Instagram also states that only each user will be able to see the number of likes of their own posts. 

Needless to say that this Instagram test is throwing cold water on a lot of users that are used to checking the platform only to see how popular a photo was. The problem is that this sort of behaviour has continuously been associated with mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, poor sleep and FoMO (fear of missing out). 

According to a report published by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH), Social Media use has been described as more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes. RSPH also did a UK-wide survey with 1.479 people aged 14-24, asking them about the positive or negative impact of popular social media platforms on topics related to their mental health. The results have shown that Instagram has the most negative effect on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. This is not the first and will not be the last study showing similar results. Is it enough to change something? I don’t know what you think, but we guess Instagram is listening. 

What about my business? 

It’s not possible to say if the new “non-feature” on Instagram is here to stay or if the platform is only testing it for a while. The feature might be beneficial on personal accounts, but what about the business side? How do we keep track of engagement without the likes on each post? 

It might sound a bit strange, but the number of likes is not really the best measurement for how engaged your audience is. Figures like the time that people spent on an article, reading about a product and a well-calculated engagement rate are better ways to understand your customer behaviour towards your brand. Staring at the number of likes that an image got isn’t a very good way of doing it, and it never has been. Here are some of our recommendations on what you should do: 

  • Get to know your audience: it may sound obvious but it’s not. Understanding what your public wants and how do they relate to your brand is a vital step to create and share quality content on any social media, not only on Instagram. The case of an influencer that had more than 2 million followers and couldn’t sell 36 t-shirts is a great example of that. Her mistake was releasing a line of products that didn’t have anything to do with the things that made her so popular. Lesson learned?
  • Create and share quality content: Instagram is a great tool to showcase beautiful images of your product or how your service can help people. But are you using it correctly? Are you sharing useful information about your company, with good quality photos and detailed information? The key here, again, is not only how pretty the image is, but how it helps your public to connect with you and to understand what your brand offers.
  • Interact!: making your customer feel welcome to your page means more than sharing content that is related to what they are looking for. Answering their queries makes than feel valued by the brand, and that feeling will make them remember you on a good note. Creating pools and asking questions about your products or your industry are good ways to keep an active presence and to boost your popularity. 

Only time will be able to tell if Instagram was right or wrong, and if other Social Media will follow the example. Meanwhile, if you need help measuring your audience engagement or elaborating a strategy that works for your business, why not contact our team and check our solutions? We have a full team in-house at Matrix Internet to help. Contact us today.

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