Earlier last month, experimental changes were implemented across all Instagram user accounts in Australia. Among other countries, Australia was chosen for the trial for its rapidly growing, and highly engaged userbase.
In a nutshell, users in Australia will no longer be able to see the number of likes generated by a post, with the intention of taking the pressure off platform users. Under the new trial, the total number of likes on photos and views of videos will no longer be displayed on users’ feeds and profiles.
The Director of Policy for Facebook ANZ, Mia Garlick, is backing up the implementation in Australia with the hope of creating a comfortable safe haven for users to express themselves, without the tension created by the visibility of likes received.
Impact on Businesses and Influencers
Instagram has become a popular social platform that many businesses rely on, both as an online customer engagement tool to build brand awareness and to advertise products. Influencers use Instagram to build a following and monetise their popularity by involving themselves in brand partnerships.
Fortunately, Instagram has stated that the experimental change will have minimal impact on the analytical tools and metrics for business accounts, as the likes, impressions and engagement rate will still be available in the ‘Insights’ tab.
For businesses and influencers, the trial change shifts the focus away from the number of likes and places significance on authentic engagement and conversion. The hiding of likes will put greater emphasis on quality content that resonates with target audiences in order to drive higher engagement. Businesses will be required to invest in building the right content and improving user experience to develop a deeper connection and a more genuine relationship with future customers.
Eliminating the public visibility of likes improves the ability for businesses to gauge and gain genuine customers, as fake likes generated by bots and paid followers are made redundant by the change. This creates a window of opportunity for small-to-medium businesses to compete with established accounts. Especially, by shifting the competition landscape in a way that focuses on generating precise content strategies aimed to deliver the most relevant content, reflective of the audiences’ interests.
Although the permanent implementation of the change has yet to be announced, businesses are encouraged to be prepared to adjust their social media marketing strategies. For help getting started, speak to one of our experts: 1300 655 312 (Australia), 0800 466 585 (NZ).