Instagram started rolling out the removal of like counts from posts in July in seven countries; Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. CEO, Adam Mosseri, also announced that the rollout will be extended to the US. The like counts will not be fully removed and users will still be able to see how many likes their own posts have achieved. However, they will no longer be shown to followers or in the public feeds. Likes on Instagram is seen as a form of engagement and the success of posts was measured on the number they achieved. However, it is also a vanity metric and doesn’t always give you accurate figures. Likes on posts could be bots, bought or just be an acknowledgement by a user as they scrolled past it.
There have also been reports that the rollout is heading to the UK. Instagram has now announced that the feature has now rollout globally.
Starting today, we’re expanding our test of private like counts globally. If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own. pic.twitter.com/DztSH0xiq2
— Instagram (@instagram) November 14, 2019
However, there’s no need to panic if the likes are removed as there are other metrics that can provide you with a better understanding of how well your posts are performing.
Reach and Impressions
Reach and impressions are ideal to know when running a brand awareness campaign. With reach, marketers can see the total number of unique users that have seen the post. Whereas impressions show how many times a post has been displayed. Instagram’s post analytics also allows you to dive deeper into the impressions to see the percentage of where your post was seen the most from – hashtags, home, profile, other.
Reach and Impressions on their own will not provide the full story to marketers on how well their posts are doing. They also need to know how well the posts are being received by the users. Your posts could be reaching a large number of users, but if they are just scrolling by, it shows that your content is not resonating with them. Engagement includes likes, shares and comments. Instagram posts might look good with a lot of likes but, as we mentioned earlier, it’s not an accurate measurement. The best kind of engagement posts can receive are comments as they have the potential of creating conversations. Marketers can also look through the comments to see how followers are resonating with the post.
You can find out your audience on the insights page of your Instagram account. Knowing your Instagram audience allows you to see if the content you are creating is resonating with your target audience. If your Instagram’s audience is different from your target audience, you then have an opportunity to change your strategy.
Therefore, instead of worrying about the likes being hidden on posts, marketers should focus on how they can create more engaging content for their followers and create a better experience for them, for example by using other parts of Instagram such as Instagram Stories and Instagram TV. Marketers can then use these other metrics to provide a better understanding of how well their posts are doing. The posts can then hit more KPIs rather than just receiving the most post likes.