Instagram Adds Private Story Likes

March 2, 2022

Instagram has added more engagement features, this time providing an easy way for users to engage with Stories content by offering Stories likes. This enables you to ‘like’ any Story in your feed and let the creator know, without having to start up a DM conversation.

How Instagram Private Story Likes work

As head of Instagram Adam Mosseri explained on his account, these likes are private, and will not display in visible like counts. Instead they appear as hearts in your own Stories view, as shown below. Creators will be able to view their Story likes in their Story insights, with a small heart icon added next to the viewers’ name in the view listing.

How Instagram Private Stories work

As a result, your Stories likes will no longer come through as a DM, and you won't be seeing a sudden influx of messages as people react to your Stories. This adds a simple, low-touch way for users to indicate interest in a story – or acknowledge a reaction to their own story – without having to send a new message.

This feature could be useful for increasing Stories engagement, while it might also add another signal for Instagram to use in ranking the Stories in your feed, and highlighting those most likely to be of interest.  

Although Instagram hasn’t yet indicated if this will become a ranking factor, it's easy to assume that with another means of direct insight, Instagram will look to utilise this data to improve user experience.

What Private Story Likes mean for Creators

In addition to more accurately displaying content of interest for viewers, the new feature will also provide a simple means of feedback for creators. With the increasing popularity of video and Stories content, it's important to see how people are responding, and reducing the pressure around DM responses for Stories seems like a helpful step.

It also moves Stories more in line with TikTok-style short video clips, which rely on user engagement signals for both ranking and engagement. Instagram already has this on Reels, and now, Stories viewers will also be able to interact more easily, which could prove to be a valuable shift. If you want more information on the latest updates for Instagram, consider checking our Instagram Marketing Course.

So while it may seem like a fairly minor update, it does indicate yet another move by Instagram to boost user engagement, and continue modelling its new features off the success of TikTok. However, time will tell how Instagram chooses to use the insights it gleans from this update in the future.

The new like for Stories button is being rolled out to all users this month.

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About the author 

Natalya Grabavoy

Natalya Grabavoy is the Social Media/ Product Director of Social Media College, working to develop course material for Australia's leading educator and trainer for social media. Originally from Chicago, she has 7+ years professional experience in marketing and communications, spanning industries such as lifestyle, travel, finance, tech and education. She is most excited about helping brands build their voice and presence through social media strategy, digital and content marketing.

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