Instagram found itself in some hot water recently. A study by Mediakix found that 93% of Instagram’s top 50 celebrities have violated the FTC Guidelines in regard to sponsorship disclosures. This week, they released a new feature that attempts to make things right. The new sponsored post disclaimer tool allows influencers to easily tag posts as sponsored and to highlight the brands who have commissioned them. In a blog post, the company said “A healthy community should be open and consistent about paid partnerships.”
This latest update is not widely available yet and is only available to some business accounts. In the coming weeks, the feature will be released more generally. “During this initial stage we want to educate and gather feedback from our community and launch partners,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email to WIRED. “After this feedback period we will unveil a policy that will include enforcement.”
The new branded content section is available from “Advanced Settings”, the same place where influencers can turn off comments for a post. Within the branded content section, influencers will be given an option to “Tag a Business Partner”. That business partner’s name will appear where the location of a photo is usually displayed, with the same being true for sponsored Instagram stories.
As more influencers and businesses adapt to this new tool, users will see less and less of the #ad or #sponsored in Instagram captions. The feature is designed to make it easier for influencers to tag business partners and easier for their followers to understand if a post is sponsored.
While Instagram does not currently have a way to enforce that influencers and brands use this new tool, users who do will receive an added bonus – access to additional metrics on how the post is performing. The sponsoring brand will be able to see these post metrics through their Facebook insights.
As predicted, 2017 is the year of disclosures and FTC compliance and this is a move by Instagram that is welcomed by many influencers and brands. Instagrammers have no need to worry, the focus on disclosures is a mark that the industry is here to stay. Those of us who have been around Influencer Marketing for a while remember when the FTC started to crack down on bloggers in 2010/ 2011. And influencer marketing on blogs is still big business today.