IT’s no secret celebrity influencers on Instagram may, in some of their carefully crafted posts, be trying to sell you something – it’s just hard to tell when it actually happens.
Instagram, however, is removing that anonymity. It is looking to change how users interact with sponsored content by introducing a label that would push creators and influencers to be transparent about their commercial partnerships.
The tool will allow creators to tag the businesses they are working with, which will automatically include a subheader—“Paid partnership with…”—notifying users a post is commercially sponsored.
According to Recode, marketing firm Mediakix reported 93 percent of sponsored posts do not definitively inform users they are essentially staring at an ad. In a blog post, Instagram clarified they decided to roll out the feature to a select group of creators and businesses to gather feedback on the effectiveness of such a policy.
“Partnerships between community creators and businesses are an important part of the Instagram experience, and a healthy community should be open and consistent about paid partnerships,” the blog post said.
“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.”
In return for including the sponsored label, creators and influencers will gain access to Instagram’s Insights, which will provide them with valuable data on the effectiveness of their posts so they can create and share content more easily with their followers.
This latest feature comes hot on the heels of news that the US trade regulator had released more than 90 letters to influencers stating their posts should “clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands.” There has also been a series of scandals whereby celebrities and influencers have not been forward with their commercial relationships, thus thrusting them in the middle of a global conversation about the need for transparency.