Last November, Instagram joined Facebook in prioritizing the enforcement of full disclosure of branded content, rolling out a tool that uses technology and human reviews to flag sponsored posts in-app. You might have noticed your favorite influencers are no longer using the “#ad” and are switching to a more obvious “Paid partnership with ‘blank’” in place of where a location would typically be.
So, why all the fuss? Didn’t we already know Kim Kardashian doesn’t really believe in the power of SugarBearHair gummies?
Last April, the FTC cracked down on some of the highest paid influencers on social media, sending over 90 educational letters to highlight their regulations surrounding branded content. Shortly after that, Instagram took its first steps to develop a built-in disclosure tool to better highlight branded content going forward. Although the FTC placed the responsibility of disclosure in the influencers’ court, Facebook and Instagram have taken additional measures to prevent influencers from breaking these laws.
Ambiguous hashtags are out the door – full disclosure is the new Instagram trend. This raises the question of “how can we as advertisers continue to leverage the powerful voices of social media influencers, but also stay in line with FTC standards?” Now, more than ever, we must be experts on the formalities of social media advertising and stay on top of the rules as they continue to evolve.
In addition to changes in the disclosure of branded content, you might have also noticed changes in live video notifications and auto-play + sound videos. As an AdWeek article from December pointed out, in-house management of social platforms will continue to become more robust in scope. There is sure to be another outpouring of new tools from platforms in 2018 and digital agencies need to stay ahead of the game. We must utilize new features to keep creating engaging content, but we also must act as regulators to make sure the influencers we work with are adhering to FTC standards.
The FTC may doubt that social platforms can create sufficient tools to enforce their rules, but Instagram has proven they’re willing to hold their influencers to high standards. We too, as advertisers, must meet these high standards because social media influencers aren’t going anywhere. Beyonce can keep making $1M per sponsored post, but Instagram is going to make sure she, and all the profiting Instagram models, play by the rules.