The Instagram Likes Ban

Instagram’s latest initiative has proven to be a controversial one, with the platform recently announcing the exclusion of like counts on users’ images. If the feature is rolled out to the masses, the public will no longer be able to see a number in relation to how ‘liked’ content is.

Instagram has reportedly taken this action in an attempt to remove the pressures, particularly for the younger generation, associated with social media use and online popularity – the move hopes to address issues including reduced sleep, body image, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri comments “We can’t avoid social comparison. We’re social beings, and competition is part of what gives people drive. But you want to have the right balance, and the numeric attached to the likes is a very public display, as if you have a constant count on your popularity.”

The test has already touched down in other countries including Japan, Italy, Ireland, and Australia. The UK platform is yet to adopt the feature, with no indication as to when this may be rolled out.

So, what does this mean for brands?

Changes will luckily not affect the measurement tools which businesses and creators use on Instagram; the likes count and other engagement metrics will still be accessible – just not made public.

This means likes will still be an important measure of engagement for brands, but they will not be able to compare their performance with competitors. As a result, follower counts will become even more important for benchmarking, and comment volumes will become the best comparative measure of engagement.

It’s also possible that Instagram will offer paid partnership opportunities to the companies behind social media measurement platforms in order to allow them direct access to competitor’s like data. This would mean brands and agencies would still be able to benchmark against competitor’s likes, but at a cost, earning Instagram money for data brands can currently access for free.