JUNE 27, 2017:
In a bid for further transparency following ongoing complaints and reminders from the Federal Trade Commission, Instagram is releasing a new tool to clearly differentiate brand-supported content from non-sponsored posts.
Currently in beta mode amongst influencers and publishers including BuzzFeed, you’ll see the words ‘Paid partnership with [brand name]’ in place of the geotag under the account name, alongside any paid-for content.
Speaking to The Drum, Instagram’s head of global creative platforms, Charles Porch said the company had developed the tool as a ‘first step’ towards increased visibility. But Porch also emphasized that creators should still defer to guidelines and rules from their local associations on the best practice for tagging and flagging content.
Why is this needed?
A new report from marketing firm, Mediakix revealed that 93% of posts promoting a brand from some of Instagram’s most-followed celebrities were not labeled sufficiently in line with FTC guidelines. This is the kind of thing the Kardashians got in big trouble for last year.
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How will this be helpful to creators?
Until now, we’ve had to rely on hashtags like #ad or #spon when promoting brands – and this is not always enough to meet marketing requirements, especially when the rules vary from region to region. In the USA, the FTC demands that ads are signposted, while the legal requirements aren’t always as clearly defined in other markets.
To Matt Donegan of influencer marketing agency Social Circle, something like the partnership tag is beneficial. ‘Audiences are getting more savvier and an increasing number of brands are working with influencers,’ he explains. ‘There’s no space for inauthenticity anymore… In our opinion [the tool is] long overdue.’
Is there any reason to be worried?
There’s some speculation that Instagram might start using the tag in their algorithms – ‘an opportunity to get involved in the space of brands and sponsored content,’ said Collectively’s Alexa Tonner to Glossy – and that this might affect your ranking and/or appearance in feeds. As the tool is still in the test-and-learn phase, we have yet to see whether this is true.
What does the community think?
‘It’s important to remember that people react to the realness of you,’ said fashion blogger Aimee Song in a statement, after using the tag for her recent Volvo partnership. ‘Instagram’s new tagging tool will help show that my take on the [brand] is just that – mine.’
What do you think about the new Instagram partnership tag? Sound off in the comments!
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