In early 2019, Facebook and Instagram started testing the forced removal of Likes on all posts.
At that time, an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch, “…we’re running a test in Canada that removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in Feed, Permalink pages and Profile. We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
Instagram expanded on the impact to creators by telling TechCrunch, “We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners.”
Fast-forward to May 26th of this year and Facebook announced that they are officially allowing Facebook & Instagram users to choose to hide public “Likes” counts vs. forcing the decision on all users. Facebook & Instagram found it best to put the decision in the hands of users.
Instagram said, “…we’re giving you the option to hide like counts on all posts in your feed. You’ll also have the option to hide like counts on your own posts, so others can’t see how many likes your posts get. This way, if you like, you can focus on the photos and videos being shared, instead of how many likes posts get.”
Why is this such a big deal? If influencers and creators opt out of sharing their public Like counts en masse, the impact could significantly limit methods of influencer discovery, comparison, measurement, and more.
CreatorIQ hypothesizes that influencers & creators are unlikely to hide their Like counts as they know Likes are a crucial metric that brands evaluate when considering them as a partner candidate. Our data scientists confirmed this – since the ability to conceal Like counts was released in late May, only 3% of creators on average have chosen to hide their Likes. Additionally, our data science team found that the larger the following, the less likely creators are to hide their Like counts:
- Hidden Likes as of July 2021
- 1.7% for Mega
- 2.4% for Macro
- 3.3% for Micro
- 5.1% for Nano
Since only 3% of creators & influencers hide their Like counts, Likes will continue to be available for most programs. However, to be safe and to avoid any potential loss of data, CreatorIQ recommends marketers do the following:
- When working with influencers & creators, ask them to authenticate their accounts whenever possible to ensure full access to their vital metrics.
- When authentication is not possible or required, communicate the need to display Like counts on their posts to ensure this data is visible within technologies like CreatorIQ.
An important, additional detail for your reference:
- CreatorIQ is adjusting our calculation methodology to skip over the posts with hidden Likes, so it won’t artificially drag down Engagement Rates by including a 0. Our Engagement Rate will only be calculated using posts where there are Likes visible.
- As a best practice, we recommend setting your Engagement Rate to a timeframe of 90 days to ensure the most accurate view of historical posts. Limiting the timeframe to 20 days is more of a snapshot of recent activity and could inaccurately skew the results.