A Farewell to Instagram Likes

Jackie Kollar
August 2, 2019

We’re all victims of Instagram’s continuous updates to algorithm, user interface, and policies. But the app has certainly done a number in their latest test to users in Canada, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, New Zealand, and Australia. Over the course of July, users in these countries were shocked when logging in and finding out Instagram hid their likes. Panic, of course, quickly followed. 

Here’s the skivvy: Instagram claims the test is a push for users to focus on the quality of the content (photos, videos) published to the platform, and to shift focus away from the quantity of likes/views the content receives. And while users are unable to see likes on content published by other accounts, they are still able to privately view the amount of likes on their own content. 


Unless you’re hellbent on Instagram likes, that’s a whole other blog on its own, this update shouldn’t affect you as an average user. So where does this update does become a concern? For any brand or influencer accounts who determine success based on the number of likes and/or views. Without the public metrics, it will become increasingly difficult for these types of accounts to value their account and individual posts. 

The plus side? This results in higher quality content, and forces brands and influencers to work alongside to determine what types of content show results. Imagine, influencers creating quality content and not content just to gain likes, views, and comments? Is this the death of #ThirstTraps? Jokes aside, this shift gives the general public a better experience: 

  1. Say goodbye to bots, fake follows, and fake engagements. This creates a, dare I say, creative atmosphere that Instagram was intended for. Without public vanity metrics, other metrics such as video completion rate and toggling audio will need to be considered.
  2. Influencers and brands need to work in tandem. Farewell to the days of, “here’s 10% off your next purchase” next to a bathing suit shot. Brands will need to vet and work closely with influencers to create content that is creative and thumb-stopping. Something that sells the products and services for more than its likes. 
  3. ROI. Every marketers favorite acronym. (Return on Investment.) Without public likes, there’s going to be a heavy push for transparency, and asks for the influencers to share their analytics or, in a perfect world, ROI to be based on clicks and purchases. 

So what now? Well, nothing at the moment. This is still very much in a testing phase, but if this test results in a larger action, you better believe there will be an even stronger focus on Instagram stories, IGTV and Instagram’s most recent venture, Instagram Shopping. Each of these services provide actionable metrics (clicks, swipes, purchases) and allow for better performance tracking. And the largest benefit of them all, taking the focus off of quantity and shifting towards quality content.

I’m not here for the likes, I’m here for the content, baby.