Written by Clio Goh, Leonard Koh and Benjamin Oi

Is it time to say goodbye to Instagram likes?

In a controversial change, Instagram has begun a test on hiding like counts in countries such as Canada and Australia. More users will soon be given the option to publicly hide the like count on their posts, to encourage Instagrammers to appreciate posts based on merit and not simply how popular they are. 

This test was first rolled out in May in Canada and is now expanding to several other countries. This feature aims to take the social pressure off of users who rely and focus heavily on the number of likes on their posts.

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While users will still be able to see their own like counts, this feature essentially takes away the “vanity” element of post likes as it hides users’ public like counts in the feed, on the web and within profiles. Instagram announced that it wants followers to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

For business or creators, the change hasn’t made much of a difference as their accounts still give them highly detailed metrics, such as number of followers and unfollowers per day. They will still be able to see the number of likes on their own content and track it.

Likes have been integral to Instagram since the beginning. It also served as a validator for content. While this feature might seem like an abrupt and controversial change, test users appear to be loving it.

“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy Mia Garlick said.

Instagram will now be hiding total like counts from posts in Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and New Zealand.

Zero Likes? Who cares!

Instagram’s favourite vanity metric: Likes, becomes the target for Liqueur brand Kahlúa’s new campaign. Kahlúa commissioned Wakefield Research to find out how social media plays into the lives of consumers, and not to anyone’s surprise, likes were important to more than 60% of those who uses social media and a third of them would delete their post in less than a minute if it did not receive any likes. Findings also includes that 90% of millennials finds that living in the moment is important but 50% of them would miss those moments trying to capture them on social media.

So what did Kahlúa, a brand who champions the sentiment that life, and everything in it should be taken less seriously, do? They created and exhibition titled ‘The Zero Likes Given” and is hosted by actress Jackie Cruz (from Orange is the New Black). As it says in the title, the exhibition celebrates images with zero likes, including the oldest zero-liked instagram image (posted in 2010, a day after the platform was launched). Apart from that, Kahlúa also created the #BottomNine website where people from all over the globe can log in their instagram account to generate their nine least liked image.

Through this activation, Kahlúa’s Brand Director Troy Gorczyca hopes to remind one another to focus more on in-the-moment experiences and not through the view of a camera, bringing on the spirit of the brand as to take life - and likes - less seriously.

Facebook launches its 2019 Holiday Marketing guide to aid marketers in holiday season campaign planning

The holiday season might still be some way off, but it is never too early for businesses to start planning their marketing activities for the year end. 

This week, Facebook released a 63 page Holiday Marketing Guide, alongside an interactive data tool with nearly 30 searchable insights to aid marketers to develop their holiday strategy. 

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In addition to global holiday trends that marketers should leverage on, the guide also provides step-by-step campaign phasing guidance and best practices for advertising on Facebook’s platforms.  

This appears to be a very useful resource for brands and marketers to make their own magic. There’s a heap of ways one could dig into the data to improve the strategic plan and possibly the results.