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Instagram’s Testing an Option to Unhide Total Like Counts on Posts

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Could Instagram be set to give users the option to display the total like counts on their posts once again?

According to a new discovery by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram’s currently testing a new option which would enable users to hide or unhide like counts on their posts.

Instagram hide like counts

That would enable users to display their total like counts for each post once again, which Instagram removed for most users back in 2019 as part of an initiative to support audience wellbeing.

The theory, at the time, was that by removing like counts on posts, that would reduce competition over vanity metrics, which would in-turn lessen social comparison, and its associated negative impacts. That’s especially important for a visual-focused platform like Instagram, which is also particularly popular among impressionable young users. 

Instagram hasn’t revealed any specific data on the effectiveness of hidden like counts experiment, but associated research studies have shown that the initiative could be beneficial, based on smaller-scale test scenarios. And Instagram’s stuck with it thus far, so you’d assume it must be showing some positive signs, based on its internal metrics.

But maybe, the findings have also shown that some people still want to show their total like counts, and with like counts providing an indicator of relevance on other platforms (for example, TikTok), that could lead to Instagram giving users the choice as to whether they want the total count displayed on their posts or not.

Paluzzi also notes that users would be able to hide like counts on posts both within the composer when initially posting, and in retrospect, while Instagram’s also looking to add a setting which would enable users to hide like counts on other people’s posts, as displayed within their app. 

It’s hard to say whether this would be a positive or negative move without definitive data on the impacts of the initial test of hiding like counts – which no doubt Instagram would communicate if it were to roll out this new change. But giving people the option does seem like it could still provide similar benefits, while also giving more display metrics to those who choose to show them. 

We’ve asked Instagram for more info on the possible change and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery

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TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery

TikTok’s giving users more room to explain their content, and connect with interested users, with a massive expansion of its video description field.

As you can see in this notification, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, TikTok has expanded the post description field from 300 characters to 2,200 – a 730% increase in the space available to outline your clip.

As explained by TikTok:

“This allows you to express more details about your creations, describing what your videos show, giving you the opportunity to get closer to your audience, generating more engagement while becoming more searchable and better recommended by TikTok to viewers.”

The ‘searchable’ element is the key focus in this respect.

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As we reported recently, TikTok is fast becoming a key search platform for younger audiences, with Google’s VP Prabhakar Raghavan recently noting that:

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

That presents significant opportunity for TikTok, using its highly attuned, personalized, algorithmic approach to refine and showcase relevant search matches, which will increasingly relate to each users’ interests.

That’s how search already functions in the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, with many users now turning to the app for more customized discovery.

As explained by Connie Chan of Andreesen Horowitz:   

“On Douyin, which has been monetizing short-form video search for years, videos are often tagged with the names of stores and other locations, and tapping on these links takes users to in-app pages where they can take advantage of large discount coupons or special bookings.

Chan explains that by using its algorithmic advantages in understanding user behaviors, Douyin is able to highlight more relevant search matches to each user, which improves the discovery process, while also enabling people to take advantage of discounts and other offers in the app.

“Thanks to the algorithms and user behavior on Douyin, the app can push new places to a user that he or she would never have thought to search for. Short video effectively enables the continuous discovery of the best places around you, and it gets better with every swipe as the platform better understands you and your interests.

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TikTok’s now looking to tap into the same.

Last month, TikTok launched a new ‘Nearby’ content feed in testing, which displays content posted by users in your current location.

TikTok 'Nearby' feed

As it’s rolled out more broadly, that’ll enable TikTok to showcase locally relevant updates, based on the content that you engage with in your main ‘For You’ feed – which means that TikTok will be able to highlight more posts from local business, events and locations, that relate to your interests.

The added room for your descriptions will enhance this, with more opportunities for keyword matching, in order to showcase more relevant, local content, which could be a big help in highlighting relevant businesses to interested users. And if it follows the lead of Douyin, that could enable brands to offer discounts and connection options direct in-app, utilizing TikTok’s massive presence to great effect.

And with projections that TikTok will reach 1.5 billion users before the year is outthat could be a huge consideration for businesses.

It’s not there just yet, but based on where Douyin has gone with search, you can see the likely roadmap, which could make TikTok an even more important platform for local brands, directly connecting intent and interest to their offerings.

‘More searchable and better recommended’. This is the key note of focus from TikTok’s announcement, and it’s these elements that could become much bigger points of note for brands moving forward.

These are just the first steps, and it may well be worth considering how building a TikTok presence now could help you capitalize on these trends as they become more significant elements in future.



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