How Will Hiding Instagram Likes Affect Businesses?

As the world enters 2020, it seems as though you and I aren’t the only ones with resolutions for the new year. Towards the end of 2019, Instagram toyed with the idea of making ‘likes’ on the photo-sharing platform invisible to the public. With so much talk in the past few years about anxiety and depression in teens stemming from social media, Instagram is attempting to combat this issue by removing what it assumes is one of the prime suspects: ‘likes.’

Don’t worry, ‘likes’ aren’t going away in their entirety, rather the feature that shows followers how many ‘likes’ a post has. In other words, people can still ‘like’ posts, but the general public will no longer be able to see the specific number of likes a post has—only the individual who created the post. This feature has not yet been introduced to all Instagram users, but companies are already nervous of the affect it may have on their sales and advertising.

Not all businesses may see this as a negative change, but influencers and companies with large social media presences may be the ones who have to shift their approach to advertising. Influencers and brands who rely heavily on social media advertisements, for example, may experience drops in user interaction. It may be more difficult for advertisements to go viral if users cannot see how many likes a post has, and people may be less inclined to engage with a company’s post if they cannot see that a lot of other people have already interacted with it.

While this may be bad for some companies, it could be a saving grace for many others. 2020 may be a turning point for Instagram advertising, where companies—however begrudgingly—accept that they may have to shift their focus from numbers to quality. Rather than hoping for a product to find success in virality, companies may have to emphasize a product’s unique capabilities in order to entice users who will no longer be able to judge a product’s quality based on how many ‘likes’ a post has. It may still be too early to tell exactly how big an impact Instagram’s impeding change will have on businesses with heavy social media presences, but it may not be as bad as you think.