Bye, Bye Instagram Likes

What this change means for your marketing strategy. 

If you haven’t heard, the latest buzz around Instagram is the removal of post likes in the U.S. Instagram has already tested out the removal of likes in seven countries. 

How is Instagram likes changing?

It’s important to know that likes are not completely disappearing. They will be hidden to followers but users can still see how many likes they’ve received on a post. 

When someone you follow (say…Jane Doe) likes someone else’s photo, it will say “liked by Jane Doe and others” under the post where the likes would normally appear. Users will then be able to click to see a list of accounts who have liked the post, although they won’t be able to see a number that highlights how many people have liked it. 

Here’s what the new design will look like when you’re scrolling Instagram:

Photo From

Why is Instagram removing post likes? 

As most headlines and articles state, the social network is doing this because of mental health reasons. According to Instagram, the change will allow users to focus on the photos and videos and not obsess over how many likes it gets. 

What’s the reaction? 

This new policy has seen its criticism. Many argue that removing public engagement metrics will potentially bring less engagement to businesses and influencers. While others believe this decision is profit-motivated and it will make advertisers scramble to find an audience by buying ads directly from the platform. 

scene from mad men, mad falling down stairs

I agree with a few other articles that believe the “mental health” is just a PR spin and Instagram is really trying to make more money by getting a cut of influencer ad dollars. 

Just think about it. When people like Kylie Jenner get paid a million dollars per paid post or even when micro-influencers get paid $100 per post, Instagram is missing out on that money. This activity is happening on its platform, and Instagram isn’t seeing the direct-to-influencer dollars. Bottom line…changes are being made so the power shifts back to Instagram. 

With the removal of likes, advertisers who want to measure the impact of a campaign will be left with two choices: run Instagram ads and/or pay an influencer. Influencers will have metrics taken away but Instagram ads will have the metrics advertisers need. 

This makes overpaying an influencer a risk while running Instagram ads becomes a safer and more analytical choice.  

Now, this doesn’t mean that influencer marketing is going away anytime soon, but the removal of likes is going to change how advertisers use influencer marketing. And honestly, this change makes sense, so Instagram can shift ad dollars from influencers to their own ad platform. 

animated black and white cat scrolling through Instagram

Likes are a good way to gain more engagement and traffic on a post, it also shows more credibility to other users if there are a bunch of likes on a post, especially a sponsored post, but just because a post has a lot of likes, is it actually bringing in traffic and meeting marketing goals?

As someone in social media marketing, I think this change is going to force businesses to not only be more creative in what content they post but also get more creative in analyzing data and get more specific about what content is actually converting. 

I’d love to know your thoughts on what you think about Instagram hiding likes – do you love it or hate it? Share below in the comments!