Hiding Likes on Instagram has been a controversial topic, with some arguing that it could lead to higher engagement and less pressure on users, while others worry that it could negatively impact brand engagement.
However, Instagram is hoping that with less pressure and scrutiny on likes, there will be a higher volume of posts from users and fewer posts being deleted as a result of low like counts. Read this article to know how to hide likes on Instagram, the pros and cons, and what’s the impacts.
Exploring Instagram’s Hidden Likes Feature
Instagram’s hidden likes feature has been a topic of discussion since it was first introduced. The history of Instagram’s hidden likes feature includes the following key points:
- April 2019: Instagram initiated testing of a feed without likes, responding to concerns about social networks’ impact on mental health. The testing began in select countries.
- Testing and Research: Extensive testing and research were conducted by Instagram to gauge the effects of removing likes on user behavior and well-being. Results indicated minimal impact on both.
- May 2021: After over two years of testing, Instagram announced that likes would remain publicly visible by default. However, users gained the option to disable likes for their entire feed or specific posts.
- Global Rollout: The hidden likes feature was introduced worldwide, empowering users to hide their post like counts. This enhanced user control over the Instagram experience.
- Intentions: Instagram aimed to “depressurize people’s experience” by reducing the focus on like counts and associated pressure and self-consciousness.
- Influencer and Brand Impact: The feature prompted influencers to seek alternative engagement metrics and demonstrate value to brands. Brands had to adapt strategies to emphasize content quality and other metrics beyond likes.
- User Control: Users have the flexibility to hide likes on their posts and customize their interaction with likes across the platform according to their preferences.
When you hide likes on Instagram, the likes on your posts are visible only to you. This means that your followers won’t see the specific number of likes your posts receive, fostering a more private and less pressure-filled environment.
Whether you’re an individual sharing personal moments or a brand building a reputation, hidden likes offer an enhanced sense of privacy. This feature empowers you to communicate with your followers without the distraction of public metrics.
Why is Instagram Giving Users the Option to Hide Likes?
A. Addressing Social Pressure and Mental Health
The quest for likes and validation has given rise to a culture of social comparison that can take a toll on mental health. By allowing users to hide likes, Instagram acknowledges the weight of this issue and strives to alleviate the pressures associated with seeking external affirmation.
B. Focusing on Content Quality and Authenticity
The intrinsic value of content often gets overshadowed by the numbers game. Hiding likes encourages users to concentrate on producing meaningful and authentic posts, shifting the focus from metrics to creativity.
C. Empowering Users to Curate Their Online Experience
Instagram’s move to give users control over the visibility of their likes is a testament to its commitment to creating a user-centric platform. By empowering individuals to mold their experience, Instagram respects the diverse intentions and goals of its users.
Pros and Cons
Hiding Instagram likes refers to the feature that allows users to hide the visible count of likes on their own posts or on posts from other accounts. This means that when someone views a post, they won’t see the number of likes that the post has received.
While this feature can provide some level of privacy and reduce the potential for social comparison, there has been ongoing debate and speculation about how hiding likes might impact the performance of posts on the platform.
Here are some potential arguments for both sides of the debate:
Arguments in Favor of Hiding Likes:
- Reduced Social Pressure: Hiding likes could potentially reduce the pressure on users to chase after high like counts. This might lead to more authentic and meaningful content creation, as users may be less focused on gaining validation through likes.
- Quality Over Quantity: Without the immediate visibility of like counts, users might prioritize the quality and creativity of their posts over simply creating content that they think will generate high like counts.
- Mental Health: By removing the emphasis on likes, Instagram users might experience improved mental well-being by reducing the impact of comparison and feelings of inadequacy that can arise from comparing like counts with those of others.
“The present study demonstrates the utility of online social media as both a discursive space in which individuals with experience of mental disorder may share information and develop understanding, and a medium of feedback to mental health service providers.”Shepherd, A., Sanders, C., Doyle, M., & Shaw, J. (2015). Using social media for support and feedback by mental health service users: thematic analysis of a twitter conversation. BMC Psychiatry, 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-015-0408-y.
Arguments Against Hiding Likes:
- Engagement Metrics: Like counts serve as a quick and easily understandable metric for engagement. Without visible like counts, users might find it more difficult to gauge the popularity or engagement level of a post at a glance.
- Influencer Marketing: Brands and businesses often collaborate with influencers based on their engagement metrics, including like counts. If likes are hidden, it could potentially complicate influencer marketing strategies and negotiations.
- Public Validation: For some users, likes represent a form of public validation and recognition. Hiding like counts might lead to a reduced sense of recognition and reward for their content.
How to Hide Likes on Instagram: Step-by-Step Guide
A. Hide Likes on Your Own Posts
Hide Likes Before Posting
- Before posting a photo, scroll down to the final page where you write your caption and tag accounts.
- Select “Advanced Settings” and turn on “Hide Like and View Counts on This Post”.
Hide Likes After Posting
- Go to the post you want to hide likes on
- Tap the three gray dots in the right-hand corner of the post
- Select “Hide Like Count”
Remember that your own likes will still be visible to you, but your followers won’t see the counts.
B. Hide Likes on Other Accounts
To hide likes on other accounts on Instagram, you can follow these steps:
- Go to your Instagram profile.
- Select the three black lines in the upper right corner.
- Select “Settings and privacy”
- Select “Hide likes”
- Toggle “Hide likes”, then the number of likes in posts and reels from other accounts will be hidden.
Will Hiding Instagram Likes Influence Post Performance?
The question of whether hiding Instagram likes will influence post performance is complex and multifaceted. It involves considering changes in user behavior, engagement dynamics, algorithm adjustments, and psychological effects.
While hiding likes won’t directly affect algorithmic reach, prioritizing quality engagement may indirectly improve your content’s visibility.
The impact will likely vary from user to user and from post to post, making it an ongoing area of exploration and analysis within the realm of social media platforms. This change has the potential to affect various aspects of a post’s performance:
- Engagement: In a traditional setting, users might be more likely to engage with a post that has a high like count, perceiving it as popular and interesting. With likes hidden, users might focus more on other engagement indicators like comments, shares, and saves. Influencers and content creators are keen to understand if these alternative forms of engagement can effectively replace the motivating factor of visible likes.
- User Behavior: The absence of visible likes could alter user behavior. Users might be less influenced by the like count when deciding whether to engage with a post, which could lead to more thoughtful and genuine interactions. However, it could also lead to a decrease in certain forms of engagement if users previously engaged primarily due to high like counts.
- Algorithm Impact: Instagram’s algorithm heavily relies on engagement metrics like likes to determine the visibility of a post in users’ feeds. Hiding likes might necessitate changes in the algorithm’s parameters to prioritize other engagement indicators. This could have a cascading effect on post visibility and reach.
- Content Authenticity: Without the pressure of accumulating likes, content creators might feel more freedom to post authentic content that genuinely interests them. This could lead to higher-quality, more diverse content on the platform.
- Psychological Impact: The psychological impact on users, both influencers and regular users, is an important aspect. For influencers, the removal of likes might reduce the stress and anxiety associated with chasing high like counts. Regular users might find it more relaxing to engage with content without the pressure of contributing to visible like numbers.
Impacts on Influencers
Instagram Influencers often showcase their popularity through visible like counts, which can attract brand collaborations. The removal of likes might prompt influencers to emphasize other aspects of their engagement, such as comments and shares, to demonstrate their influence to potential partners.
Influencers have adapted to this change in various ways:
- Finding New Ways to Measure Success: With likes no longer visible, influencers have had to explore alternative metrics to gauge the success of their campaigns. Metrics like comments, shares, and direct messages have gained importance as indicators of engagement.
- Focusing on Authenticity: Brands now prioritize “authentic” influencers who are true to themselves over traditional engagement metrics like likes. In response, influencers have shifted their focus toward creating genuine content that resonates with their audience.
- Struggling with Reach: Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes engagement when determining the visibility of posts. As likes were a major factor in this algorithm, influencers have observed a decrease in the reach of their content. This decline in reach has posed challenges for influencers who rely on Instagram for their livelihood.
- Reducing Self-Consciousness: The absence of visible likes has alleviated some influencers’ self-consciousness about their posts receiving limited engagement. This shift has allowed them to concentrate on producing content that they personally enjoy, rather than content solely aimed at maximizing likes.
Alternative Metrics to Gauge Engagement
In the absence of visible likes, influencers have turned to various alternative metrics to gauge engagement on Instagram. These metrics include:
- Followers: The number of users who follow an influencer’s account, indicating their reach.
- Comments: The quantity of user-generated comments on an influencer’s posts, reflecting real-time engagement.
- Engagement Rate: A percentage calculated from followers and post views, demonstrating the resonance of an influencer’s content.
- Shares: The count of users who have shared an influencer’s posts with their own followers.
- Direct Messages: The number of users who have sent direct messages to an influencer in response to their posts.
- Audience Quality Score: A comprehensive metric combining engagement rate, authentic engagement, and followers’ reachability to assess an influencer’s audience quality.
These alternative metrics offer influencers insights into their campaign success and value to brands. By focusing on these indicators, influencers can continue to thrive on Instagram, even with the removal of likes.
In conclusion, it is important for you to know how to hide likes on Instagram because it can have positive effects on mental health and can help users focus on the content rather than the popularity of the content. Instagram’s decision to hide likes is part of their strategy to create a more healthy and less competitive environment for users.
But for influencers, it has both positive and negative impacts . While some have struggled with reach and finding new ways to measure success, others have found the removal of likes to be a positive change that has allowed them to focus on authenticity and reduce self-consciousness. As with any change, influencers have had to adapt to the new landscape and find new ways to succeed.
Can Others Still See Mutual Likes on Hidden Posts?
Yes, mutual likes will still be visible to both parties.
Will hidden likes affect how my posts appear on the Explore page?
Hidden likes won’t directly impact Explore page visibility. However, focusing on quality engagement could indirectly contribute to better visibility.
Can I enable hidden likes for some posts and not others?
Unfortunately, hidden likes apply universally to all your posts, both new and existing.
How can businesses leverage hidden likes for better audience engagement?
Businesses can redirect their focus towards genuine interactions and content quality, fostering a stronger bond with their audience.