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Instagram’s New Branded Content Tagging Feature

October 27, 2017
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Lately, we’ve seen the Instagram app take the leap from a photo sharing platform to an advanced business tool for brands and influencers alike. Through Instagram, brands and creators are able to promote themselves, grow a following, and ultimately make a living doing what they love. Because of this, advertisements, sponsored posts, and branded content are flooding Instagram’s feed and while this may be beneficial to the brands involved, Instagram has made it clear that they want to keep sponsored content and authentic content separate.

Both Instagram and Facebook pride themselves in being a user-friendly, non-salesy social media platform and do their best to abide by traditional advertising rules.

Because of this, Instagram is stepping up its game and rolling out some new rules for any branded Instagram story and influencer post. Rules that if you’re an influencer, brand, or digital marketing agency you’ll want to take note of.

Related: How Can Instagram Stories Benefit Your Brand?

While these tools are directly designed to help Instagram users tell the difference between authentic and branded content, they are also extremely beneficial to businesses. It’s no doubt that Instagram’s new tools were designed with brands and creators in mind and they have features that are bound to change the advertising game.

As of now, in order to abide by Facebook’s advertising rules, Instagram has requested that Influencers use the hashtag #ad #sponsored or #spon on any Instagram post that they are compensated for.

Not only does this rule protect influencers from taxes, but it also accomplishes Instagrams goal of separating ads from original content.

It’s no secret that many influencers aren’t in love with this rule as they feel it diminishes the value of their content as well as their credibility.

Before, when an influencer shared a product it seemed natural and authentic and their Instagram followers trusted the things they said. Now, even if the influencer is fond of a product, when they share the Instagram post with the hashtag #ad, oftentimes their audience doesn’t respond as well and believes that they are only endorsing the product because they are being compensated.


So What’s The New Tool?

Let me start by saying brands are going to love it! Basically, Instagram is kicking #ad to the curb and has come up with a way to abide by Facebook’s advertising rules and offer creators and brands something in return. Now, using the new Instagram branded content tool an influencer has the ability to tag a brand in a sponsored post with a “Paid partnership with…” label appearing above their photo. This new branded content tag shows that the influencer is in a commercial relationship with the business partner that’s mentioned, and that they were compensated in some way for the post.

Okay, so why would creators and brands prefer this method over #ad? Here’s why –  Not only does the new tag help sponsored posts look more professional and less spam-like, but it also simplifies the approval process between businesses and creators. What was before a long email chain back and forth between the two parties, has now been simplified into the tap of a button. And that’s not the only way it benefits both parties!

By turning on partner approvals, brands can approve any sponsored or influencer marketing post once published allowing their tag to appear in the post. This approval process helps maintain brand quality and grants the brand access to the Instagram posts insights! Reach and engagement metrics along with other analytics are shared directly with the brand, allowing them to see these numbers on their Facebook page manager.

Related: Mastering the Art of Instagram Influencer Marketing

These insights will help brands assure that they’re getting their money’s worth and determine which influencers are most effective in their space. Metrics can be seen for both tagged photos and stories, meaning that brands now have access to information such as, reach, taps forward, taps backward, replies and exits. While the data on regular feed posts last forever, insight on stories will only last 14 days.

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Okay, I Love It. So How Do I Set It Up?

As of now, Instagram is choosing the brands and influencers it rolls these new tools out to first. However, if you have a business account there is a good chance that Instagram has already offered this feature to you, and if they haven’t, rest assured it will be available soon!

Once approved to use this tool, follow this easy process to set it up!

Tagging Brands in Photos

  • Select a photo like usual. Add a caption and any effects or filters you’d like then hit the next button.
  • Once you’ve hit the next button you’re taken to a screen where you have the option to tag people, add a location, share to another social platform, or choose advanced settings. Tap advanced settings and then tap business partner.
  • Once tapping the business partner option, search for the business you’d like to tag and select them to have them show up in your post.

Tagging Brands in Stories

  • Starting from your Instagram feed, select the camera icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen to begin your story.
  • Once you’ve taken the photo or video, tap the link icon in the top right-hand section of the screen.
  • Next, the option to tag a business partner will appear in which you can then search for the business you’d like to select. Once selected the picture will then be tagged with “paid partnership with” when people view your story.

Both creators and businesses can require approval before being tagged in a branded content post, giving everyone full access to what they want their name and brand on.

To Set up Partner Approval

  • First, go to your Instagram settings and select business settings.
  • Under business settings tap “Branded content approvals”. Now you can either select the creators you’d like to approve or turn on the “require approval” toggle which will assure that you’ll be contacted each time you are tagged in a post.

How to View Insights From an Approved Influencer’s Post

  • Go to your Facebook page and click on the insights tab.
  • Once you’re in the insights tab, find the section where it says branded content and choose the influencers post which you’d like to view.
  • From there you’ll be able to view insights in real time.
If you’re viewing from the business manager the process is a little different.
  • First, you’ll want to go to the business manager and find the section that says measure and report.
  • From measure and report click on branded content to view all of your insights.

Another noteworthy thing about this new Instagram feature is that as a brand and creator you can control who tags you in posts AND remove your brand from any tagged brand content ad. Remove your brand from tagged content will take your brand name off of the post, however, the post will remain on Instagram and you will no longer have access to the post insights.

Now, What Does This Mean For Marketing?

So does this new feature mean the end of hashtags like #ad and #spon? Not exactly. We have to remember that Instagram has just rolled out this feature, and like all new tools, not all the bugs are worked out right away.

As a brand and content creator, it’s important to talk with your team to make sure you are legally covered when posting content.

It is safe to say though, that this new branded content tool is a huge step in reducing the confusion between a sponsored post and authentic Instagram posts and will provide marketers with even more powerful information to support their advertising efforts.


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