Users can now tag brands they are working with in their post, and this tag will appear under the location. This enables influencers to be clear and transparent with their followers as #ad and #spon can easily be missed when they are placed at the end of a long caption. The Advertising Standards Authority recently announced they would treat influencers with 30,000 or more social followers in the same way they would treat celebrities, this is to ensure that the public is aware when products or services have been promoted.
Essentially, it’s a brand paying to promote another users post. Let’s use Topshop as an example as they regularly run these types of paid-for promotions. Instead of just paying an influencer to wear one of their products and post on their Instagram account, they can then also promote the image itself as an advert with their own budget to increase its reach.
For businesses: You are in complete control of the advert (note you can’t edit the original post), so you can allocate the budget, set up the target audience and easily increase your spend if needed. You also have access to all the advert data, so you can analyse its performance against other influencers or products.
For influencers: Having ‘sponsored’ or ‘paid partnership’ stated right under your Instagram handle will make it more apparent to your followers that the post is promoted. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are cracking down on influencers not being abundantly clear when a piece is sponsored, so this can only help retain trust.
For businesses: You’ll need to click on ‘business’ in settings. Click through to ‘branded content’ and then you can either switch ‘require approvals’ on or off. If you switch require approvals on, you’ll then need to manually add in any influencer handles you’d like to work with. To do this you’ll see ‘approved accounts’ appear after you switch the toggle on. Simply search for the user via their handle and select. If the influencer you’re looking for is not coming up, it’s likely because they need to give you permission to promote their content (see below).
Once done you’ll need to go into Ads Manager and pick your objective as you would with a regular advert and then choose Instagram as the placement. (At the time of writing this article you cannot run branded content adverts on Facebook). Click through onto ‘use an existing post’ and you should see all branded content there, just select the one you need. Click on the branded content tab, then on the post you selected again, then you will then see a preview of your advert. As usual you’ll need to wait for Facebook to approve your advert before it goes live on Instagram.
For influencers: By partnering with a business, you give that business permission to turn your posts into an advert. For a new post just upload your photo or video as usual, after writing your caption scroll down and click on ‘advanced settings’ and then switch on ‘allow business partner to promote’ and click done. If it’s an old post that a brand would like to promote, simply click the three dots in the top right corner to edit the post. Where you would normally pop in the location you’ll also see ‘add partner’ and you simply tag the brand there. If they’re not coming up it’s likely because they have ‘require approvals’ switched on and haven’t cited you as a partner, so you’ll need to let them know that they will need to update their settings. Like when you set up a new post, you’ll then just need to click through to advance settings and switch on ‘allow business partner to promote’.
Key information: Prior to launching the advert the influencer will be able to edit the post, but once an advert has gone live they will no longer be able to do so and the post then cannot be deleted. Even after the promotion has ended influencers will not be able to delete the post, unless the brand deletes the advert first. Brands should have a good relationship with the influencers they work with and this should all be outlined in the terms and conditions of the contract prior to going live with a campaign.
Also note that influencers will be notified in the Instagram app when a brand has sponsored one of their posts, but currently will not be notified when the advert ends.
Instagram said “We hope this update will add value by strengthening the collaboration between businesses and creators. We also hope to improve the experience between creators, businesses and people – who will be able to discover more brands they may be interested in and shop with the creators they love.”
There doesn’t seem to be any major disadvantages at present. Perhaps users will become frustrated at having even more sponsored content showing up in their feeds and sponsored posts will also now appear on the explore pages. Or we may find that having promoted content that is clearly marked may have a negative effect on click-through rates or sales, but only time will tell.