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Instagram Paid Partnership Feature 101

If you have been looking around your Instagram app on your phone, there is a chance that you would have noticed a new paid partnership feature on Instagram. This feature works hand in hand with the new Instagram Algorithm that has was launched to improve your experience as their valued user. You can read all about it on our Instagram Feed Algorithm Explained article.

What is the New Paid Partnership Feature All About?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been taking a lot of new ways to deal with all the influencers and businesses that violate its requirements. To avoid and eliminate the risk that may come with creating sponsored posts through Instagram Marketing, Instagram has launched a new paid partnership feature.

Instagram did a test run of the new feature by releasing it to a small group of influencers and businesses in June 2017 and later on, they expanded the feature to a bigger audience in September 2017. When things seem to be working out extremely well, Instagram made the feature available to all accounts that have high levels of engagement. Meaning that this feature is accessible to users who are doing well in the new Instagram Algorithm. 

This right here got some Instagram Marketing experts reaching for a social media marketing guide. 

What else do you need to know regarding the usage of the new Instagram Marketing tool, the new paid partnership feature and what are the reasons why this may still not be an effective way to satisfy the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission.

Reasons Why the new Instagram Paid Partnership Feature is a Substantial Tool

Brands have found a new way to reach Instagram audiences efficiently. They have found out that an influencer-based advertisement is an effective Instagram Marketing strategy. In turn, an influencer-driven marketing became the biggest and most popular way to send the brand message to the audiences.

Brands partner with influencers to boost the launch of their sponsored content campaigns. Through the popularity of the influencers and the Instagram Algorithm system, businesses can reach into a gold mine of potential clients and customers.

From the perspective of an Instagram user, Instagram Marketing through influencers is convenient since they get to know more about new products and services from the accounts they already follow. They get to learn about new launches and promos by just browsing through the app with no extra steps whatsoever.

This resulted in the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to start taking violations of its Endorsement Guides more sternly. As a matter of fact, the FTC began sending warning letters to 21 Instagram influencers, including Lindsay Lohan and Naomi Campbell last month.

This is the reason why Instagram created the new paid partnership feature; to avoid this kind of scenario and to bring a much more substantial transparency and consistency to sponsored content.

What Does the new Instagram New Paid Partnership Feature Do Exactly?

All apps create new features and improvements to ensure that both the business side and the user side of their community are all happy and taken care off. With these goals in mind, an Instagram Marketing tool has been created to do the following:

  1. Assist the influencers in disclosing whether a post regarding any products or services is sponsored.
  2. Aid the business in gathering information and statistics on how their sponsored content campaigns are performing with the Instagram Algorithm in play.

The new Instagram Paid Partnership feature allows the influencers to be transparent regarding their content. This encourages them to clearly state whether a post is sponsored by making options like adding that information through an Instagram tag available.

When an influencer tags a post, their followers will see “Paid partnership with [business partner]“ right under their username, above the image, or the area where you would normally see the post’s location.

This does not only work on posts, this function is also available for Instagram Stories, wherein the tag will appear on top of the story right below the influencer’s username.

Tagging the business on paid partnership posts allows them to be able to see the reach and engagement, such as likes and comments, of the posts on their Facebook Page Insights. While for Instagram stories, the tagged brands will have 14 days to see the performance of their posts. They will be able to see metrics like reach, taps forward, taps backwards, replies, and exits within this 14-day period.

If the businesses wish to, they can have the option to turn on the “Partner Approval” setting. This gives the brand the power to approve or disapprove any sponsored content partnerships before an influencer’s tagged post is published so they can ensure that their Instagram Marketing materials are all topnotch.

Is the New Instagram Paid Partnership Feature Compliant of the FTC Guides?

This is the part where you would be needing a social media marketing guide. It gets quite confusing at this point.

Instagram has been trying to create an impression that this feature is a great way to bring transparency and consistency to sponsored content for brands that are utilizing Instagram Marketing, but the Federal Trade Commission does not agree entirely to this.

The FTC has updated its Endorsement Guides recently, wherein the commission discusses the issue of built-in platform disclosure, much like the one Instagram launched, stating that they don’t always meet the Federal Trade Commission’s requirements.

The Federal Trade Commission is concerned as to where the disclosure is located or placed one these Instagram Marketing materials. Since it is placed above the Instagram post, the FTC takes issue that it may not get the attention of the viewers. Aside from that, the FTC states that simply flagging that a post contains sponsored content might not be sufficient if the post mentions a lot of different brands, but does not mention which of the brands, products or services were paid.

The Federal Trade Commission is trying to point out that at the end of the day, the responsibility for clearly stating and disclosing the sponsorship of a material still belongs to the influencer and the business, and not on the platform in which they are posted.

This does not mean that the new Instagram Paid Partnership feature is completely useless.

It is true that the simple act of tagging a business with the new Instagram Marketing feature may not sufficiently meet the Federal Trade Commission’s requirements stated on the guideline, which means that an influencer would still have to state and disclose any partnerships they may have in their Instagram caption, but the feature still offers a lot of great insights and amazing benefits, and is surely a step forward in the right direction.

To give an example, businesses did not have any tools to monitor the performance of their sponsored Instagram Marketing campaigns before, but now, they can keep a close watch of the success of their sponsored posts with intricate metrics.e

The new Instagram paid partnership feature allows business to collect more data to help them make better decisions during the planning stage of their Instagram Marketing campaigns. Brands can determine which influencer is more effective for their products and/or services and they are able to estimate what ROI they can expect.

The influencers can also benefit from being able to collect this kind of data. Influencers can make informed decisions when they are optimizing their sponsored posts or when they are finding new opportunities with a new business partner.

How to Use Instagram’s Paid Partnership Feature

Right now, the new Instagram Paid Partnership feature is made accessible to a select number of celebrities, influencers, public figures, publishers, and businesses. There is still no clear information on when this Instagram Marketing tool be available to the rest of the general public, but according to a recent Medium article by Eduardo Morales, who is also known for running the Instagram account: @pinlordon, Eduardo received an in-app notification when he was accepted to try out the new feature.

How to Get Started With Instagram Paid Partnerships as a Business

The first and vital step is to be granted access to the feature as a business, you would want to begin by turning the partner approvals setting on.

  1. You will have to go to “Options” and scroll down to the new “Branded Content Approvals” section.
  2. The next step is to toggle the “Require Approvals” button to on.

Once you have done this, whenever an influencer requests to create sponsored content for your account you would have to tap “Approved Accounts” immediately below the “Require Approval” button.

Here you can approve accounts to create sponsored Instagram Marketing content for you.

Once an influencer has been approved and accepted, with the help of the Instagram paid partnership feature, you will receive a notification via Facebook and Instagram whenever they tag you in their posts. While you will receive a notification via Instagram Direct if you are tagged in their Instagram story.

There will be times that you would like your tag to be removed; there are two ways to do this:

  1. The first option is to use the Business Manager on your Facebook page. For you to be able to remove a tag, you are able to select either the posts tab or Stories tab, and then click on the downward arrow next to the influencer’s Instagram handle, and click the “Remove Tag” button.
  1. The second option is to remove the tag within Instagram. In this case, all you have to do is click the ellipsis button on the right-hand side above the post and select the “Remove Me From Post” option. For Instagram Stories, the ellipsis button will be in the bottom right-hand corner.

How Do You Access Your Paid Partnership Insights as a Business

When your sponsored Instagram Marketing content campaign is activated and live, you will have access to your insight into the “Branded Content” tab in your Facebook Page Insights. You will be able to see your Stories insight there as well, but, you would only have a 14-day period to see the metrics and statistics.

You can also check on your paid partnership insights with Facebook’s Business Manager in the “Branded Content” tab under “Measure and Report.”

How to Get Started With Paid Partnerships as an Influencer

The first step is to be granted access to the feature as an influencer, you can immediately begin tagging businesses in your sponsored posts.

  1. If you are posting a regular Instagram post, you can start by selecting “Advanced Settings” on the last page of the new post creation flow. If you are posting the content on Instagram Stories, simply tap the “link” button at the top of the screen.
  1. In both cases, you should be able to see a new “Branded Content” section. Select the “Tag Business Partner” button.
  1. In this area, you should be able to search for the business you want to tag in your post or story. If the business requires approval first, once you have selected them, they will appear below in a “Require Approvals” section.
  1. Once the business approves you, you’ll find them under the “Branded Content” section in “Advanced Settings.” Tapping on their name will add them to your post or story.

Updates to Instagram’s Paid Partnership Feature 

In November 2017, there has been an expanded accessibility of the paid partnership feature. Instagram has added new capabilities to improve the Instagram Marketing experience as well.

Some of the new features include in-app notification for influencers whenever Instagram’s system finds content that is not compliant with their policy. The influencer will be notified through the Instagram app and will have the option to tag a business.

Simply put, these notifications are intended to make it easier to use the “Paid Partnership with” tag and educate the community on Instagram’s branded content.

Instagram also stated on the future of the feature, stating that they aim to offer more flexibility to influencers and businesses that use the tool. “Over time, our goal is to make it simple for all Instagrammers to identify commercial relationships on Instagram.”

While it is true that the new Instagram Marketing feature, Paid Partnership feature, does not satisfy the FTC’s rules, it is undeniable that it is still a great addition to Instagram for both influencers and brands.

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