Instagram users are flooded with promoted-posts and celebrity endorsements every time they log into the social-media platform. Some of these advertisers and influencers are upfront about their paid-practices, but there are others that fail to inform their followers when they are posting sponsored content. The FCC is cracking down on these shady dealings, and Instagram is hoping to make sponsored content much more transparent for its millions of users. In a blog-post earlier today, Instagram stated that users will start noticing a “Paid partnership with” sub-header on posts and stories. This tool is expected to start rolling-out over the next few weeks, and should make sponsored posts much easier to identify. This label will be used whenever a commercial “relationship” exists between creators and a product or service, and these creators can be celebrities, influences, media sites, or even publishers.
The post went on to read, “The relationships people form on Instagram drive our community and make it so unique. Partnerships between community creators and businesses are an important part of the Instagram experience, and a healthy community should be open and consistent about paid partnerships.” In the past Instagram users were encouraged to use the #AD hashtag, this was supposed to show users when a post was being sponsored or paid-for by a third-party. The FCC wanted more transparency, and little was being done to ensure that influencers and media-outlets were using the hashtag. The post went on to explain, “The new tool will allow a creator to quickly tag the business they have a relationship with. The post or story will appear with a sub-header that reads “Paid partnership with,” followed by a tag to the business partner’s account.”
This new tool will also be beneficial to the paying partner, which means that it might actually be used. The new sponsored posts will allow the creator and business partner to have access to Insights for that post. This is just the kind of information that a third-party client would want to have, and will help a paying client gauge the Return On Investment (ROI) for each post.
Instagram added, “This is the first step in a journey as we learn how the community engages with this new tool – and our focus is on gathering feedback. We’re initially partnering with a small number of creators and businesses and we will make these tools widely available in the coming months along with an official policy and enforcement guidelines.”