It’s been just over a month since Instagram removed likes from Australian accounts. According to the Australia and New Zealand director of policy, Mia Garlick, the decision was made to enhance the overall user experience and address concerns that the pursuit of likes negatively impacts the mental health of some users.
The fallout was swift and widespread with many influencers claiming their livelihoods will be ruined. Reaction from users has been mixed. Some believe the decision will have a positive impact on the quality of content being posted, while others don’t think the move has gone far enough because users can still see the number of likes their own posts receive.
Instagram says the decision to hide likes is a trial and they are monitoring how users respond. In the meantime, small businesses may just reap the benefits.
Can I Still See My Instagram Likes?
Yes, you can see the number of likes on your own posts. Other users will see “Liked by a username and others”
If you want to see who has liked someone else’s post, you can click on “others” and a list of users will appear.
There haven’t been any changes made to Instagram analytics, so businesses and influencers will still be able to see how their posts are performing. The follower count of users also remains unchanged.
Instagram Desktop Vs Instagram App
So we can no longer see the likes count on feed posts. That is unless you are on a desktop. If you log into Instagram on a desktop computer, go to a profile and hover over the photos, and you will be able to see how many likes each photo has. The number of likes is also displayed on the individual photo underneath the comments.
How Will Instagram Hiding Likes Help Business?
Generally speaking, Instagram is a popular and effective customer engagement tool for businesses. Consider these statistics from Hootsuite in the US:
However, small businesses often struggle to get noticed when starting out because they don’t have the social proof to persuade and reassure their potential customers. This might explain why there are 25 million business profiles on Instagram but only 2 million monthly advertisers.
With the vast majority of businesses in Australia being small businesses (over nine in 10 according to the Ombudsman), removing the visibility of likes from an ad also removes the reluctance of users to click on ad that has zero likes, increasing engagement, click-through rates and ultimately sales.
Whether or not removing likes was a revenue raising tactic by Instagram remains to be seen, but for now at least it’s good news for small business.