Instagram Marketing – the sponsorship veil is lifted

14 September, 2017
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Instagram has followed Facebook in increasing transparency for sponsored posts. Its new policy for branded content aims to make sure users can easily identify sponsored content on the social media app.

Moving on from “#sp”

Transparency for influencers comes in many forms.

The previous requirement for influencers who uploaded sponsored posts on Instagram was to include either #sp or #ad in the caption of each post. The goal was to ensure that sponsored content was easily identifiable. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) rules stated that if an influencer receives samples or payment for the post and the advertiser exerts control over the content, the post would be an advertisement and shouldn’t be hidden alongside independent content – for more detail, see our blog from last year –

The new requirements

The new Instagram policy imposes a new requirement on influencers. When an influencer creates a post, if that post is sponsored, the influencer must tag the brand during the post creation process (provided the business has an Instagram business profile). “Paid partnership with [business partner]” will be added to the top of the post making it immediately clear to viewers that the post is sponsored and by which brand. See here for the examples provided by Instagram –

What’s in it for advertisers?

In return for this declaration of sponsorship by the influencer, brands will be given access to a new tool. The tool will enable the brand to view engagement statistics for each sponsored post including the reach, tap forward and taps backward. Interestingly, the brand can remove the tag from the post but at the cost of being unable to assess the engagement statistics. Previously, it had been difficult for brands to quantify the benefit of influencer marketing – this tool may give them greater visibility and allow for better customer targeting and selection of influencers.

The future?

It will be interesting to see how followers of influencers will respond to the new clearer sponsorship. Brands will need to be actively involved in deciding whether to keep or remove the tag depending on the product, the influencer and the value they see in the engagement statistics. Instagram have stated they will look to enforce non-compliance but given the scale of influencer marketing on Instagram, how effective they can be at this remains to be seen.

For more information on advertising and influencers, please contact Harry Partridge at or on +44 (0)1732 224 092

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