One of the more controversial decisions that Instagram has made recently was allowing users to hide the number of likes they receive. The social media platform made this decision to curb the competitiveness of the app and protect the mental health of its users. However, if you use Instagram a help promote yourself and your brand, this update begs an important question:
You can hide likes on Instagram, but should you?
Does hiding likes impact Instagram’s algorithm?
Whenever we talk about Instagram strategies, we need to start with the algorithm.
If you’re not familiar, the Instagram algorithm decides what content gets seen by who. Every time you log onto Instagram, the algorithm is in charge of filling your feed with other people’s posts and determining what you see as you scroll. The algorithm works by looking at your past behavior, making a sweep of all available content, and then evaluating each post to predict how interesting it will be to you. The algorithm then shoots posts that it expects will be the most interesting to you straight to the top of your feed.
If you’re a regular user, this just means you have a more personalized feed. If you’re a creator, brand, or influencer, though, understanding how the algorithm works ensures you’re making content it determines feed-worthy. It’s the difference between walking to your destination versus taking a high-speed train.
The Instagram algorithm ranks content based on factors like:
- Frequency of use
- Session time
In other words, the algorithm takes many different factors into account when deciding to show your content to others, so likes clearly aren’t everything. And if you decide to hide likes on your posts, the algorithm will still use the same factors to find high-quality, personalized content for Instagram users.
However, likes are still the easiest way for you to get a glimpse of how well your posts are performing, what kind of posts they like more than others, etc. In a way, it’s your indicator that the algorithm is picking up on a few of these more subtle factors you can’t observe on your own. By hiding likes, you’re not changing how well your posts are received or how well the algorithm picks it up; you’re merely drawing the curtain on this window into your content’s performance to avoid the impact that has on you personally.
So that being said, should you hide your likes or not?
Is it a good idea to hide your likes?
Now that hiding your likes is an option, it might be worth giving it a try for a little to see how it works. Additionally, your mental health is far more important than social media stats, no matter how influential your account is or you want it to be. So if numbers aren’t a concern to you or if your priorities need to shift to protect your emotional wellbeing, hide those likes!
But if you’re in the latter category, consider coming back once you find yourself in a better headspace. Instagram is an app that’s all about connecting with others and building relationships, after all. As trivial as it may seem at times, seeing who is liking and connecting with other people’s content is a big part of the app’s user experience. Even if you don’t get a lot of likes on your content, it’s not anything to be ashamed of. It’s likely your page just hasn’t been around for long enough, your content needs to be improved, or you need to give it a little more time. Your focus should be on creating quality content, not likes (or trying to hide them).
Growing your Instagram following is like picking up a new hobby or skill; starting out can be intimidating, and it’s easy to compare yourself to people who have been doing it for years. It might seem like a good idea to stop tracking your progress so that you have nothing to compare yourself to. But believe it or not, people (even strangers) enjoy watching you progress over time. It’s much better to share your growth and success with others and allow them to be a part of it than it is to try and hide your progress.
Because just like Instagram’s algorithm, your posts and following are going to continue to progress in the same way for the same reasons, even if you hide the likes that prove it.
For more tips on how you can continue to build your Instagram following, check out “How To Build A Strong Instagram In 2021 And Beyond.”