REFLECTIONS: Instagram to Make it Clearer When Influencer Posts are Paid Ads (Bloomberg)

SOURCE: Bloomberg Technology

INSTAGRAM TO MAKE IT CLEARER WHEN INFLUENCERS POSTS ARE PAID ADS

Just when you thought your #ad was enough, Instagram is experimenting a new way for influencers and brands to make their partnerships more apparent. As new features are developed, how does this effect your business?

What You Need to Know:

  • The U.S Federal Trade Commission watches Instagram and their influencers like a hawk when it comes to #sponsored.
  • Major companies have been fined for breaking FTC laws such as Warner Brothers.
  • This feature has not yet rolled out to everyone on Instagram, and it is unclear if this will make #ad obsolete.
instagram-influencer-paid-sponsorships-partnerships

“As we’ve said before, it’s more prudent for everyone to be upfront about their stake in a story. Followers won’t care if you’re up front, but they’re sure to care if they start to feel “sold” to, or even worse, “lied” to."

Photo Courtesy of David's Been Here

 

The Rest

Instagram has now enabled chosen brands and influencers to be able to put a link at the top of the post that says, “Paid Sponsorship with…”. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t be alarmed as it will be rolling out to all Instagram users eventually. This move comes after the FTC put their foot down on influencers on Instagram about not being transparent about their sponsorships. If you’re unfamiliar with what is required from the FTC, we wrote a piece on all the necessary steps they’ve laid out here.

This update might be more beneficial for companies as it is developed. Audiences can more clearly see what brand is connected and might improve click through rates for their sponsored posts. While the downside might be that the image begins to look more like common ads that are seen on the app- which users have been accustomed to ignoring. It’s unclear if this will satisfy the FTC and users will no longer have to hashtag the advertisements or if Instagram will make this mandatory for all partnerships.

“As we’ve said before, it’s more prudent for everyone to be upfront about their stake in a story. Followers won’t care if you’re up front, but they’re sure to care if they start to feel “sold” to, or even worse, “lied” to." Kyle Hjelmeseth, founder of God & Beauty, adds. "We applaud Instagram’s bold step to clearing up advertising confusion, making the work of our influencer / creative team actually cleaner, and more responsive to our clients’ needs, while staying on the right side of the FTC.”

Moral of the Story

Don’t incorporate this into your contracts just yet, as this isn’t 100% final for all of Instagram. Right now, Instagram has made it clear they are testing out this strategy and fine tuning it before the final roll out is done. There is so much that hasn’t been discussed with this new update, and there is more information to come in the next few months. For now keep up with the usual FTC rules and regulations until there is a green light from them that this fulfills their laws.  

Little Tip from the Top

“Our goal is to get a ton of feedback,” said Charles Porch, head of global creative programs at Instagram. “It’s all about transparency within the community.”

Creating transparency is important for any campaign, especially for legal reasons. As Instagram gets more feedback on this new update, it is bound to change and morph into hopefully a very useful tool. But until then, look for ways to follow the guidelines instead of skirting them.