Instagram’s latest update is intended to tackle one of the platform’s biggest problems: lack of transparency. It's become increasingly difficult to distinguish sponsored Instagram posts. This issue became more high profile earlier this year after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mailed warning letters to influencers, brands, and celebrities whose posts failed to properly disclose deals.
The new Instagram tools will benefit influencers and their audiences alike. It simplifies the disclosure process and introduces some much-needed clarity. “As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it's important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content,” Instagram wrote in a blog post with the news. Indeed, a recent report from Mediakix found influencer marketing on the app is a £1 billion industry.
Here’s how the new feature works: If an an influencer is posting sponsored content, they should select “Advanced Settings” along the bottom of the caption screen. These advanced settings, where you can turn off comments for a post, will have a new “Branded Content” section that says “Tag Business Partner.” When an influencer chooses that option, the partner’s name will be added where a location tag normally shows up. The same goes for a sponsored post in an Instagram Story.
As an Instagram user, you'll be able to easily identify a sponsored post because you’ll see the “Paid partnership with [brand]” directly below the influencer’s username.
Influencers who use the partnership tag get an added bonus: Access to metrics showing how well the sponsored posts are performing. Plus, the brands they work with will be able to see metrics through Facebook Insights.
The tools will be rolling out over the coming weeks. For now, you'll need to keep scanning captions for #sponsored in order to figure out if a post is branded.