Instagram gets new paid post label after study finds most posts are mislabeled

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After the Federal Trade Commission warned Instagram influencers that their paid posts were not being properly labeled, Instagram is making it easier to spot sponsored posts. On Wednesday, Instagram announced a new tag for easily (and clearly) labeling sponsored posts.

Instagram users will spot a new “Paid partnership with” tag under the username on sponsored posts as the feature rolls out over the next few weeks. The tag is designed for clarity, Instagram says, making it easy for users to see that a post was sponsored without reading through a long list of hashtags to find out if that post was paid for.

But, there is something in it for Instagram users sharing the sponsored posts too. Posts labeled with the popular tag will have shared metrics to see how the image performed. With the tag, both the original user and the brand sponsoring the post will have access to data on how both posts and stories performed. Instagram influencers will continue to see the metrics inside Instagram Insights, while brands paying for the sponsorship will have access to metrics from Instagram’s parent company, Facebook Page Insights.

“Using a new ‘Paid partnership with’ tag in organic content posts and Instagram Stories, creators and businesses will now be able to quickly disclose their partnerships easier than ever before, maintaining authenticity across the board,” Instagram wrote in the blog post announcing the feature.

While businesses can advertise directly on Facebook, paying an Instagram user with a big following to shoot and share a photo of a product or service has become a popular social media marketing strategy.  A recent study of the top 50 Instagram influencers, however, showed only about seven percent appeared to follow the FTC guidelines, which require a label such as #sponsored, #ad or “sponsored by” to appear close to the post and not buried at the end of a long list of hashtags. The update continues to keep Instagram influencer marketing separate from creating a campaign with Instagram itself, but is designed to make those sponsored posts more transparent.

Instagram says an official policy about sponsored posts and enforcing the labels will be coming in the next few months.