How bold a step it is to scrutiny one’s own style of marketing? Bold enough we say!
There is no denial to the fact that Instagram lacks transparency when it comes to celebrity endorsements! And it has finally decided to address “this” elephant in the room.
Remember the post of Selena Gomez on Instagram, holding a can of Coke adorning the lyrics of her own song? The post not only garnered a whopping 4.1 million likes but also upscaled the sale of this international brand by leaps and bounds.
The post was a win-win for the promoter and the brand. Probably the cheers came louder from Coca Cola’s marketing department for such huge benefits. It can be quoted as one of the best examples of ripples created by celebrities or ‘Instafamous’ people through brand endorsements.
So where do the consumers lie in all this? Bluntly at loss.
The consumers being captivated by the sentiments of being a fan of someone as famous as Selena, trying to follow the footsteps in the hope of being as them, are often at the receiving end, eventually using the product or service!
A lot of Instagram influencers are paid to promote advertisers’ products. The promotion is done in a way that the viewers tend to believe the person actually using the product/service. This often misguides the consumer.
In order to curb such situation, Instagram has asked these users, a large number of them being famous people or media associations, to state a “paid partnership” label on posts that they’re being compensated to share and promote. The label or tag won’t be a giant display but will sure be hard to miss.
Why Declaring Sponsored Matter For Instagram?
All social media platforms clearly differentiate between the paid ads and the regular one. Instagram is no exception and hence will also have to be in compliance with certain guidelines set by various trade commissions such as FTC. Recently FTC sent letters to more than 90 influential Instagrammers to remind them of declaring their relationship with a brand which is being showcased in their shared posts if any.
“If Instagram wants to help identify paid ads on its platform, it should create a system that makes advertisements clear to all users and is compliant with the FTC’s policy. Otherwise, Instagram is enabling deceptive influencer marketing,” the FTC officials said.
Instagram has recently seen a sharp rise in promotions. According to reports, more than 93% of such promoted posts are not disclosed of being sponsored.
The Sponsored Instagram Posts
Influencers will now be required to tag their sponsored ads with #Ad or #Sponsored. The sponsored posts will have a “Paid partnership with…” label at the top.
Mentioning anything vague like #sp will not be enough. The ad tags should not be buried at the end of a long caption. Tagging the brand or “thanks @BRAND” won’t also be considered as the disclosure of the endorsed status.
As of now, the feature is being rolled out only to a handful of influencers to gather feedback. As per Instagram officials, the next phase will include creating policies for strict enforcement of the rule.
What If An Influencer Decided To Ignore Tags?
Nothing much as far as the account is concerned. But after the initial phase of the rollout, Instagram has plans to have some official policy and guidelines. We are assuming that it would include some form of punishment for those failing to disclose the exact nature of their brand relationship.
Points To Ponder On
- How will Instagram ensure the enforcement
- Identifying whether there is any paid contract or not
- Will the rollout be enough to create transparency
- How severe the punishments will be for defaulters
- The effect it is going to create on Instagram marketing
It will be interesting to see how the filter obsessed Instagram would head towards transparency and wins the desired laurels!
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