When Instagram recently revealed it would be removing “like” counts from user posts, it threw a monkey wrench in some comms teams’ influencer strategy, and had many marketers scrambling to figure out a way to quantify their high-priced investments. But even though PR and their comms brethren clearly got hit with a bit of a blindside, what about average users? Do they care?

According to new research from business news and how-to website The Manifest, most people don’t care if Instagram users can see likes. A survey of 502 Americans found that more than half (55 percent) don’t even have an opinion on Instagram’s decision to hide like counts from posts.

Yes, marketers feel the sting of Instagram hiding “like” counts—but do users really care?

“For everyday users, it’ll probably have little impact aside from some egos being hurt,” said Michael Anderson, a marketing specialist at GeoJango Maps, in a news release.

Singer Nicki Minaj, for one, wasn’t thrilled about the news:

Yes, marketers feel the sting of Instagram hiding “like” counts—but do users really care?

One-in-five people support the decision to hide likes on Instagram

Twenty percent of people agree with Instagram’s decision to ditch likes. Supporters of the decision hope that the removal of likes will reduce the self-esteem and anxiety issues that are linked to the validation that likes offer.

“My young adult daughter recently commented that each of her Instagram posts is surrounded by so much angst, that she hardly ever posts anymore,” said Vered DeLeeuw, a healthy food blogger, in the release.

Even some influencers are supportive of the platform’s choice to go like-less. Influencer Amber Faust, for example, says she looks forward to the change. “I miss posting things I love and care about that just don’t bring in the likes that my other photos bring in,” Faust said, in the release. “I think it will bring instagram back to its roots [and] help make the platform more authentic.”

Yes, marketers feel the sting of Instagram hiding “like” counts—but do users really care?

One-in-four people disagree with the decision to hide likes

People who dohave an opinion, however, are more likely to disagree than agree. One-in-four people (25 percent) oppose the decision.

Dissenters express a variety of reasons behind their discontent, including uncertainty about what this means for businesses. They are also skeptical about Instagram’s motivation to keep the focus of the platform more on the content and less about popularity contests.

Yes, marketers feel the sting of Instagram hiding “like” counts—but do users really care?

John Frigo, Influencer Manager at MySupplementStore, questions how this decision will help users’ self-esteem because they’ll still be able to see their own likes. “If you post something and get one like, you’ll still know you got one like, and you can still be depressed about it,” Frigo said, in the release.

However, he doesn’t think that the decision will disrupt the influencer industry much. “Likes were always a poor indicator of an influencer I’d want to work with anyway,” Frigo said. “Comments are a much better sign of engagement.”

Yes, marketers feel the sting of Instagram hiding “like” counts—but do users really care?

Most people aren’t concerned with Instagram’s decision to hide likes

Those who agree with removing likes hope that it will reduce mental health concerns associated with social media.

Those who disagree with removing likes may question why the platform isn’t doing more. People can still face cyberbullying and self-esteem issues from comments and messages.

Most people, however, remain neutral on the decision to hide likes, suggesting that the decision doesn’t have a real impact on their lives.

Read the full survey report here.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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