Yesterday, Instagram launched a new tool that could help a growing problem on the Facebook-owned app: distinguishing sponsored ads on Instagram posted by a social media influencer. The new tool will feature a paid partnership label below the influencer’s username in the spot where you would normally tag your location.
Up until now, to determine what a sponsored ad on Instagram was, you had to scan the post descriptions for hashtags like #ad or #spon. According to The New York Times, there are no “hard and fast rules” from either the FTC or Instagram about paid ads. Since there are no hard rules, it becomes easy to break ones that are already in place. In fact, 93 percent of top celebrity paid social media ads violate FTC rules. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, also recently cracked down on social influencers on the app by sending out letters in April to creators and marketers, stating that it must be clear when a post is sponsored or paid for.
The new feature will be located in “Advanced Settings” under “Branded Content.” When an influencer goes to post a sponsored ad, they will need to go to that section and select “Tag Business Partner” and the partner’s name will automatically show up in the post. This tool was first tested out earlier this year in February, but Instagram declined to make a comment until now about it.
A bonus feature of this new paid sponsorship tool is that Instagram is adding analytics for both the brand and the social media influencer to track. The brand will be able to see the reach and engagement metrics through the Facebook Page manager and influencers can access it directly through the app.
As of now, the tool is not being enforced yet. Instagram is in the process of informing influencers and putting together feedback on the new feature before it becomes law. There will be a small group of influencers that have access to the tool to test it out and all users can expect to start using it within the coming months. Until then, you’ll just have to keep looking through captions for those #ad and #spon hashtags.