Instagram seems to be rolling out new features with every fortnight, but this latest may be one of its most important for both businesses and consumers, even if it’s not one of the most exciting. What does it pertain to? It’s about stealth advertising. Essentially, Instagram has a truth-in-advertising problem, where users can upload posts which are actually sponsored content but aren’t disclosed as such. If you’re a photographer with a healthy following you may be committing these sins also, and the FTC has taken note.
A company called MediaKix has conducted its own research, as has the FTC, to come to the conclusion that by far and away the vast majority of sponsored posts are going incorrectly labeled, or not labeled at all. This means you could be being sold to without knowing, or flat out being lied to. The FTC has sent notices to over 90 IG influencers and celebs/brands already with warnings, as it found that of the top 50 on IG only 7% of their collective posts were actually in compliance. That’s a big deal, especially when influencer marketing on Instagram alone was valued at over $1 billion dollars a year.
Instagram has making an effort to be more transparent when it comes to sponsored content on a whole, but much of it still falls on the individual user, so IG is now making it easier to classify and making it much clearer to users to see when something is paid content. Actually, it goes further than that, because how it’s set up means content creators and partnered businesses can easily disclose what they’re doing and engagement and metrics can be checked by both. Here’s how it works:
In the coming weeks, you’ll start to see a new “Paid partnership with” tag on posts and stories. This feature will help creators more clearly communicate to their followers when they are working in partnership with a business.
Not only is this level of transparency beneficial for our community, but it also gives creators and businesses the ability to track and share insights around a partnered post.
Tagging and Insights Made Easy
Using a new “Paid partnership with” tag in organic content posts and Instagram Stories, creators and businesses will now be able to quickly disclose their partnerships easier than ever before, maintaining authenticity across the board.
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.
You can find out more here, but at least the takeaway here is that sponsored posts will be clearer, and that it appears FTC crackdown on those who violate is getting stiffer. They may be more easily able to put that pressure on a single company (Instagram, as it’s the platform) and thus IG may be the one to be stricter with ends users.