In recent months, Instagram has been testing hiding Like counts. The test began in Canada and has since rolled out in six other countries. One of the big reasons Instagram has decided to test this change is the link between mental health and social platforms. Throughout the years of social media progression, mental health issues have greatly increased. The bullying and constant comparison of oneself to others has caused depression and anxiety issues around the world.
Instagram believes this change would refocus the platform on self-expression instead of being a popularity contest. They plan to continue to roll out several new tests of features in hopes that they will make the app a lesser toxic and hateful environment. They also see the change as a way to entice users to post real, authentic content instead of the manicured images that are posted today.
If this in fact rolls out in the U.S. and becomes a permanent change, it will be interesting to see how this will affect the way brands advertise and communicate to their consumers. Currently, a lot of brands base the success of their social campaign on engagement rates in which “Likes” play a big role. Some argue that Likes are misleading and should not determine the success of a campaign. The change in hiding Likes would allow key success metrics to be reevaluated and uncover other ways to determine both brand and campaign success.