Working on a community based marketplace, we want to have icons with counters that represent how many views, likes, and comments were made to the item.

A pretty common thing, yet, everybody seems to handle it differently when it comes to features that were not engaged by users. For example - Zero (0) likes.

There are different approaches to this which I've noticed:

  • Never show (0).
  • Always show (0).
  • Suggest engagement. An example from Facebook - "Be the first to like this".

The argument goes both ways for wether or not hiding/showing (0) will affect the engagement of users with the different items. I guess the best thing would be to test it of-course. But I was wondering if you guys have different approaches to suggest then the ones I listed or if you can share from your own experience.


2 Answers 2


Other alternatives:

  • Place the like button separate from the number of likes. Not a fan as they are completely linked. Vimeo and We Heart It do that:

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  • Only show numbers when there is likes. This solution seems the most sensible. It's not obvious the post have no likes therefore doesn't seem unpopular. Facebook and Dribbble do that.

    enter image description here

I don't have any research but my guess is that 0 would affect engagement as it looks like a negative cue rather then positive.


I like the "Be the first to like this" approach. If you don't have space for that, you can always do something smaller like "Be first".

As Taly suggested, you can always keep them separate. The most important thing is if the user likes it, not how many people like it (that's more important to the poster). So use something like a heart to like it and keep the real number somewhere else.

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