Instagram Marketing

Instagram Aims for Transparency for Users and Brands with New Feature

Today, Instagram rolled out a new feature to select users and brands aimed at providing more transparency into sponsored and paid posts. Differentiating between paid and non-paid posts on influencers’ feeds is not always easy. This new feature allows the Instagram community to clearly see when a celebrity or influencer they follow has been paid to promote content on their page. It also provides added performance tracking benefits for brands and agencies that use the platform.

Transparency Into Paid Content on Instagram

The new feature standardizes how celebrity and influencer paid content appears in users’ feeds with a “Paid partnership with ______” tag on posts and stories. This sponsorship tag appears in the place where an Instagram user would normally see a geotag.

Source: Instagram Business Blog Caption: The new feature prominently places a “Paid partnership with” tag at the top of the post in place of a location geo tag.

Source: Instagram Business Blog
The new feature prominently places a “Paid partnership with” tag at the top of the post in place of a location geo-tag.

This is an excellent start to standardizing the identification of celebrity/influencer paid content on social media which has been an issue for some time. While the FTC currently requires influencers to “clearly and conspicuously disclose” any sponsored post, influencers don’t always adhere to these rules. In fact, the FTC recently mailed out more than 90 warning letters to influential figures who weren’t meeting guidelines, hiding #ad or #sponsorship hashtags beneath the “more” button that appears when post copy exceeds a number of characters or using ambiguous “Thanks [insert brand here]!” to identify paid content. And, who could forget Lord & Taylor’s dress debacle from 2015. It is also worth noting that while this update clearly labels sponsored content, the FTC has yet to comment on or approve of this new method.

A Better Measure of Success 

For brands, this update is providing something else very beneficial: data. Included along with this new feature is the ability for brands and agencies to directly access performance metrics of the paid content posted on the influencer’s page.

Instagram’s official statement says, “When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing. Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”

This is huge for brands and agencies. Traditionally, tracking success with influencer partnerships has been challenging due to a lack of data, insights and easily accessible metrics. Advertising partners often have to reach out to the influencer or their representatives to ask them to provide performance insights. This could lead to communication bottlenecks since celebs/influencers and their reps may not be well-versed in the KPIs that brands and agencies track or simply track different metrics. This new update reduces the opportunity for miscommunication, improves clarity for both consumers and brands and increases the efficiency in executing these kinds of paid promotions.

As of now, this update is only available to a select group of influencers and brands but we expect it to be rolled out platform-wide within the coming weeks if it is deemed successful.

Do you have any questions about this latest Instagram update or how to make the most of your social media strategy? Drop us a line! 

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