Instagram takes away the following tab & like option - do we like it or not?
Updated: Apr 21, 2020
In May 2019, Instagram started testing new features that would hide public like counts on all photos and video posts in several countries all over the world. A big percentage of users from countries including Canada, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Ireland were affected by this change.
No more likes? What changes exactly?
So what changes exactly? - When you scroll through your feed, you won’t see the renowned like counts anymore, your follower’s “hearts” that made Instagram so famous. You, but only you, can still see the count when you tap “others” under your blog post. Your followers will only see ‘XY’ liked your picture and others below your post. They sure can scroll through the list of people who liked it and if they have time they can add them up themselves if they want to know the count of likes.
Now everybody is wondering, how is this change going to affect influencers who make money by posting pictures that receive lots of likes?
And how does this affect influencers? In my opinion, it seems like an improvement for the platform to hide like counts. Therefore, the focus remains on your content, rather than a number, and allows you to maybe post more freely without caring too much which post would perform best. To be honest, is it even healthy to define your content by the likes it gets? Isn’t it enough if you like it yourself?
Obviously, this is a controversial topic. And evidently, this change does have a big impact on influencers.
For one, it possibly makes it more difficult as an influencer to get brand attention and to convince brands to collaborate with you because for some brands, the post engagement is very essential. But honestly, other brands often care more about authenticity than they do about followers or engagements. It’s more important for them to work with influencers who build relationships with their audience than influencers who just have a lot of followers (who don’t really engage with your content).
I also think that influencers who concentrate on very creative, artistic content, and try to be different, could benefit more from this change because brands might start looking at different metrics with more meaning. Therefore, influencers (and users in general) might be more willing to post more artistic content if likes are hidden. One example which supports this argument is a lot of influencers now preferring to post pictures of themselves wearing a cute jacket than posting about different subjects such as architecture or interior. Why? Because the performance is proven to be better when you show your face and body in a picture than subjects like things or buildings. So they tend to only post these subjects in every, let’s say, tenth picture instead of every third. But wouldn’t it be nice to loose this way of thinking and to just start posting things that inspire yourself and maybe show your life in a different way? To be more free?
Instagram deactivated the Following Tab
Another change which Instagram has already implemented is the deactivation of the “Following” tab. This tab, which was first launched in 2011, showed you as a user what content the other users you follow like. It wasn’t only a way to discover new content, but also to see what other people are interested in. Now it’s gone and honestly, I think most people didn’t even notice - me being one of them! Apparently, it wasn’t even very frequently used and for those who did use it, it often bore some unpleasant surprises, especially from people who didn’t know others can see what you like. And sometimes, I believe everybody experienced this once, you see people liking things you didn’t expect them to like or also did not really want to see them liking this kind of content. I guess, it’s for the best and I don’t really see a reason which speaks against this deactivation.