Some users of Instagram will have noticed a big change that has just been rolled out for testing across more markets over the last week. For a portion of instagrammers the number of likes displayed under users’ posts will no longer be visible to their audience.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has announced that they will be rolling out this design feature to six new countries following its initial testing in Canada.

Which countries has hidden likes rolled out to?

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.

Users will still be able to see the number of likes that their posts receive however, it will not be visible to anyone that is viewing the posts.

"We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get" an Instagram spokesperson said.

These changes are likely to have varied reactions, as likes are often used as a measure of popularity. Influencers have put considerable time into growing and nurturing the likes of their content, therefore the removal of a visible like count will ultimately mean that their strategies will also need to change and adapt. For the younger generation it means that the platform will no longer highlight levels of popularity amongst their peers, which is reported to have lead to bullying. However, as the number of likes will still ultimately be visible to the user this measure is not likely to solve this problem.

What does hiding likes mean for influencer marketing?

It means that there will be a heavier focus on content rather than metrics, which is in line with a push from Instagram to create an algorithm based discovery. As a user you will be served the most relevant content rather than the content with the biggest engagement, which is a key strategy of Instagram.

It will also allow more ‘true’ engagement to be visible through comments and shares, leading to better and more authentic connections being made within the platform. This is essential for the long-term health and growth of the platform - it needs to ensure that it fuels creativity and ultimately becomes a place that people want to continue to visit in the coming years.