Will IG's 'Paid Partnership' Kill Authenticity?
Brand Transparency via sponsored advertising
Instagram is a great platform to form relationships through their 700M+ extremely unique users, forming a place where users come together through their interests and passions. This enables a great partnership between creators and businesses to get celebrities and publishers to endorse their products through their organic audiences.
In 2016 Facebook introduced a sponsored content system, now Instagram are debuting a new tool to enable celebrity endorsements to attach “Paid partnership with” tags to each post. They are rolling out this new feature to allow users to know when a post is sponsored. Making it easier to determine if a celebrity has been paid to sponsor an advert, maintaining authenticity across the whole platform.
Often celebrities do not disclose their posts to be paid advertising, and through launching this tool it will be the first step in ensuring full transparency of paid partnerships within Instagram. The Federal Trade Commision require users on social media to disclose their relationships with brands when their posts are related to promoting their products, but often celebrities do not disclose that the post is paid for.
This new tag will appear below the subscriber’s username above the image. Creators who use the tag will have access to see their metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will be able to see all engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights, allowing them to view how many people have viewed the post, and for how long they engaged with it for. This new feature will allow brands to understand further which endorsers have the best engagement statistics and which products work best with the audience on this platform.
One of the first users to explore this new feature is Aimee Song (@songofstyle).
“@songofstyle is about sharing my experiences with people and hopefully bringing them inspiration, whether in travel, fashion, or other areas of lifestyle...When working with brands like Volvo, it’s important to remember that people react to the realness of you, so Instagram’s new tagging tool will help show that my take on the XC90 is just that – mine.”
Are influencers the new brands?
Influencer marketing is ultimately based on the economy of trust between brand and consumer. So, will introducing the “Paid partnership with” tag increase the trust or tarnish the way the consumer can relate to the influencer? Whenever I see celebrities promoting new teeth whitening or slimming tea products on Instagram I would assume that these are paid for advertisements, and because of this I find it difficult to be sold on the products authenticity. Once a post includes information telling the user these are definitley paid for, I think this will decrease any likelihood of users believing these celebrities use the products themselves.
Authenticity is important, as consumers we want to know the endorser is living and breathing that brand to influence our personal decisions to purchase. Most influencers have an established personal brand identity themselves, so it is important that the values they hold can also be represented through the brand. Mass marketing is becoming difficult for brands, thanks to the platforms on social media content can be exposed to users on a large scale. Through working with influencers, brands adopt a valuable approach for their marketing strategies which can appeal to consumers at a personal level.
Will this form of advertising continue to grow? Let's watch the Instagram space!