Instagram is creating a standardized format that should make it clearer to everyone when a post has been paid for by an advertiser.
These aren’t for ads that businesses buy directly from Instagram, but rather for influencer marketing, where brands pay celebrities and other users with a significant online following to promote their products. It’s an area that every big tech and media company seems interested in, but it’s also creating questions around disclosure and transparency.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to more than 90 influencers reminding them that they need to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose when their posts are sponsored. That means they shouldn’t hide the disclosure under the “more” button, or use ambiguous language like “Thanks, [Sponsor Name Here]!”
Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch told me that most influencers and advertisers are looking for a clear, straightforward way to make these disclosures.
“People are building amazing businesses on Instagram all over the world, at all sorts of scale,” Porch said. And those users are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”