Influencers VS Instagram: All You Need To Know About The New Stricter Partnership Rules

Influencers are no doubt thriving online. This new career path for many is extremely popular – which explains why many marketers have adapted their strategies to tailor to this new way of advertising.

However, influencer marketing is not quite so straightforward. There are strict rules whereby influencers need to state if it is a paid partnership. 

In this article we will outline what a commercial partnership is, the rules, why violation occurs and Instagram’s new plan to tackle this problem…

  1. What is a commercial partnership?

A commercial partnership is when an influencer works with a brand to promote their product. It is visible to the public as it is tagged “paid partnership with…”*. 

When an influencer works with a brand to promote their product they may have received money, discounts or free products depending on the following of the influencer.

Influencers can choose which brands they would like to partner with. The brands need to suit their style, vision, outlook and many other variables. 

  1. Rules of commercial partnerships

When it comes to paid partnerships transparency is key.

It is the platform’s responsibility that consumers are being told the truth, which is why the Federal Trades Commission’s (FTC) guidelines have become stricter in how they work.*

According to a study before the change, “more than 90% of influencer and celebrity endorsements were in violation of those guidelines”*.

So, why do some influencers violate these rules?

  1. Violation of these rules

Many consumers are now aware that influencers earn most of their money through paid partnerships. Whilst this may seem obvious, some online users don’t understand that without paid partnerships this new career path wouldn’t be an option, but rather just a side hobby. 

Yet, if a post has #AD on it, they tend to receive less engagement. But why?

Consumers may have many reasons to not like a post with this garish acronym on. One reason may be that they simply do not trust that the influencer is being genuine with their opinions when advertising specific brands or products. 

The fact is, consumers need to support and celebrate when influencers promote paid partnerships. 

It comes down to trusting the influencers you follow and believing that they will only promote brands they genuinely like.

  1. Influencers breaking the rules

The lack of engagement with influencers’ branded content runs the risk that these companies may not choose to work with them again and at the end of the day, brands want to see results. 

This is why many influencers have gone about their paid partnerships differently. 

According to a recent study** more than three quarters of influencer promotions on Instagram write the #ad disclosure not in the main caption but rather at the end.

So at first glance, their audience wouldn’t associate the post being a paid partnership until they expand the caption and read more, which many people don’t do when scrolling at a fast rate. 

  1. What are Instagram’s plans to tackle the rule breaking?

Recently, Instagram has announced its new plans*** to ensure that paid partnerships are being displayed in the correct format.

One of the ways is where a prompt will appear which the influencers will need to respond to. This will include the question if they have received incentives to publish the sponsored post.

Another way is utilising the Instagram algorithm. The platform is in the process of refining the algorithm so it can pinpoint posts which include advertising, which would then send an alert to the business stating their rules on promoting this specific type of posts.

The question is, will these rules work? 

Do you engage with promoted partnership posts?