But wait, Instagram is hiding likes now. Do they still matter?
The answer is yes, of course. If you’re on Instagram, likes matter as much as ever.
Maybe even more, since some creators are reporting that followers are hitting that heart button less, now that likes are hidden.
(In case you missed it: in April 2019, Instagram started experimenting with not showing the number of likes a post has received (AKA ‘like counts’) in the feeds of Canadian users. In July, Instagram expanded the test to include Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.)
While you can still see how many likes your posts get, you can’t see anyone else’s numbers. The idea is to make the whole experience healthier and less competitive for users. Instagram explained: “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
So how does that affect brands that rely on Instagram success? According to one survey of Canadian Instagram influencers, when asked what the worst thing about the change was, 41% reported that it has resulted in lower engagement. (The runner-up for worst thing: 16% said that the change has confused brands, who are reaching out less.)
On the plus side, 37% of influencers in the same study reported that not seeing other posts’ likes, and not worrying about their own public counts, results in “less pressure” to perform, and opened up their creative flow.
But whether you’re feeling the pinch or feeling the love, likes are still a key measure of success, engagement and reach on Instagram.
Here are the best ways to get people to tap that heart button.