Instagram is well known for its iconic heart button.
However, Instagram has taken its user’s feedback on board and changed the way you see Instagram likes on the platform. In hopes of creating a platform where social media users feel comfortable expressing themselves without the pressure of high engagement, Instagram has publicly hidden the number of post likes.
So, if you’re a social media marketer or influencer relying on seeing how many users have liked your posts, you might be wondering what workarounds exist. Not many users know this feature or how to access it, but we’re here to share how Instagram users can still publicly see likes on your posts and your competitor’s Instagram posts.
Let’s take a closer look at how these changes are being rolled out, how they will affect Instagram marketing, and how to see likes on Instagram regardless of what future changes Instagram rolls out.
What changed with Instagram likes in 2022?
Are you wondering, ‘Why can’t I see the number of post likes on Instagram?’.
This change comes down to the fact that Instagram will no longer publicly display the number of likes generated by posts unless the user chooses to make the like count public.
The decision to publicly hide the number of likes is part of the social media platform’s founders’ effort to make Instagram a place where users can focus on the content they share and not on the number of likes they receive. The total like count will only be available to the individual who posted it.
The evolution of likes has changed over the years, and for some, it is hard to keep up. In 2019, the Instagram app trialled removing likes entirely for select users in the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.
Before Instagram publicly hid the number of likes, users could see how many likes a post had generated simply by viewing the image or video in their feed. The decision to hide likes was made to promote a positive, social community. This was first introduced across only a handful of accounts to test the impact of on-platform user experience in 2019 and 2020.
In 2021, Instagram post likes came back in a new form. The like count was displayed differently and showed the posts‘ information beneath the caption with multiple engagements that the image or video has been liked by: “Liked by username and others.”
Removing the public display of Instagram likes meant other users were no longer shown a like count on posts, making it more difficult to track the performance of competitors’ content.
In 2022, Instagram announced it was giving users a new option to choose whether to hide likes on the platform or unhide likes. Now, users have the ability to keep their like counts public or switch them to private.
Why did Instagram decide to hide likes?
Instagram introduced hiding likes publicly as an initiative to create a safer place on the internet. According to Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram), this platform update was designed to create a more welcoming online community on Instagram. The team hoped this change would inspire users to focus on sharing great content, not worry about the number of likes a particular post gets.
Adam announced the change was being made in an effort to improve the mental health of Instagram users. Receiving a low number of likes on an Instagram post has been linked to anxiety in younger users.
The idea was to depressurize Instagram, make it less about competition, and give people more space and freedom to create content, connect with a community, and engage with posts that inspire and uplift them.
After two years of testing the impact of removing public post likes, Instagram found that public removal did not depressurize Instagram to the extent they would have liked. As such, Instagram announced users can choose whether they hide likes on the platform or not.
Is the like count hidden on all Instagram posts?
The short answer is – no, not all like counts will be hidden.
When the Instagram features were first updated to hide likes, creators and influencers said that the like count metric was important for sharing value to brand partners and the removal negatively impacted an influencer‘s average engagement rate.
Since influencers‘ Instagram photos play an important role in creating engaging content on the platforms, Instagram has responded by providing more options to users.
This feature is still being rolled out globally but you will now have the option to either publicly hide or display likes on your own posts when publishing your content. How? Simply by accessing your advanced settings on the Instagram app and opting into publicly displaying likes or hiding them when you publish your content.
What does Instagram look like with hidden likes?
Our beloved heart button is changing. Instead of seeing the number of likes underneath an Instagram post, something we‘re all very familiar with, you will see one Instagram user who has liked your post followed by text: ‘and others‘.
If you‘re interested in displaying your like count to the online community, then luckily, you will still have the option to do so. This option will be displayed when you select to hide the number of likes on your post publicly.
Here are the current measurements that the Instagram app uses to determine how to display the number of likes:
- Below 100 likes: shown as “others”
- Below 1,000 likes: shown as “hundreds of others”
- Below 100,000 likes: shown as “thousands of others”
- Below 1,000,000 likes: displayed as “hundreds of thousands of others”
How do I hide likes on Instagram?
Great question. The new hide-like option on the Instagram app allows you to control whether your Instagram followers or ’Instagram stalkers’ can view your like count. This means you have the power to either hide or unhide likes.
This new feature gives Instagram users more control over their platform use. You can now choose to see like counts on other people‘s posts, and you can also hide like counts on your posts. Not for you? No problem, you can also use the original experience of Instagram.
The incentive is to promote a feel-good experience when using the Facebook Meta family of apps and to give the user more control over the experience.
It is important to be aware that even when a user opts to hide their like display, likes do not disappear altogether. The total like count is hidden publicly, but users can still view who has liked a post by clicking on: ’and others’.
As your scroll through your feed, there will be no like count displayed if you have decided to hide likes and view counts on your Instagram feed. If you click on: ‘and others’, you can see who liked your posts and tap through to see the full list of people who engaged with a post. If you have the time, you can also manually count how many users liked the recent post.
How do I hide likes on my post that is already published?
Step 1: Navigate to the published post you want to hide Instagram likes.
Step 2: Tap the three dots in the top right corner above your post.
Step 3: Tap Hide Like Count.
Step 4: It’s that easy! Where your like count usually lives, it will now say Liked by [x] and others.
How do I turn off likes before publishing my post?
Step 1: Click on your Instagram profile.
Step 2: Tap the menu in the upper right and choose Settings.
Step 3: Hit Privacy.
Step 4: Tap Posts.
Step 5: Hover on the button next to Hide Likes and View Counts. When you are scrolling through your Instagram feed, you will no longer see like counts.
How do I see likes on Instagram again?
If you’re a fan of displaying likes publicly on Instagram, regardless of the Instagram app changes, luckily, you still can. Instagram is focused on bringing the joy of posting back to their platform without the negative effect of competitiveness and judgment.
While other Instagram users can hide their likes publicly, you can still view their like count simply by clicking on: ’and others’ on the selected post.
Instagram is changing the way users view likes to bring back the joy of posting to those who were negatively affected by the competitive implications of publicly displayed engagement numbers.
Instagram users haven’t lost the ability to view their likes, it’s easy to find by heading directly to your Instagram insights, or you can use your Sked Social Analytics to gather a report on your engagement.
Are likes still an important metric to be tracking in 2023?
Let’s be honest. We all love getting likes and double taps on our Instagram posts. Likes have always been a vanity metric on the Instagram app, and while most users chase the number of likes, it is not always an accurate indication of engaging content.
As the platform focuses on rewarding creative content and building a safer community, there are more important metrics to focus on in 2023. These metrics will help you determine your content’s impact on the platform and assist in analyzing which content or influencers impact your business or brand with engagement.
Here are five metrics to keep an eye on in 2023
1. Engagement to Instagram follower ratio
How often have you seen an Instagram account with over a million followers and only a couple hundred post likes? Generally, this indicates an unloyal following or perhaps even paid followers that don’t actively engage with content.
You can work out this metric manually by adding the number of interactions with the post divided by the number of Instagram account followers and then multiplying by 100.
2. Instagram follower growth
This metric is always a vital sign that your content is engaging and attracting organic followers. It is also a good sign that your content is relevant and speaks to your target market. You’re on the right track if you’re seeing consistent follower growth (organically, please!).
3. The number of comments
Comments are a clear indication of a highly engaged follower. It is clear that a user has engaged with your content when they comment on your post.
A like is easy enough to give, but if a follower goes out of their way to like and comment on your post, it’s a strong indication that this is an organic follower and your content is attracting strong engagement.
4. Reach & referral traffic
The reach metric tells you how many people are seeing your content and how many have viewed your post. It confirms that your hashtag usage is supporting your reach volume. If you have a high reach volume, this indicates that the algorithm likes your content and is delivering it to more people.
And referral traffic is also an important metric, demonstrating how much traffic has been driven directly from your social media account. This metric is the traffic referred directly from your social media posts or bio. This can also be recorded in Google Analytics.
5. Instagram Stories
And lastly, Instagram stories – we all love them, and there’s no denying that. Keep an eye on the number of stories replies, story taps back and forward, story exits, and impressions. Reading this data allows you to determine how engaging your content is and will support more profile traffic if you engage a follower on your Instagram stories.
What you need to know about likes on Instagram in 2023
The Instagram display is ever-changing, but in 2023 Instagram is giving users more control over how their Instagram engagement is publicly displayed.
You have the choice of whether or not your Instagram likes and comment count is displayed publicly. You can even update your Instagram feed to hide or unhide likes if you want to just focus on the content. But nothing is permanent, and it’s essential to remember you can still change your display at any time in your settings if you change your mind about viewing likes in your feed.
Keep in mind this year that there are more important metrics than the number of post likes.
Ready to create a data-driven social media strategy? Start a free trial of Sked Social today and tap into advanced Instagram analytics.