Instagram is Getting More Involved In Influencer Marketing

— June 16, 2017

How the new tools will impact your Instagram influencer marketing


Instagram is once again making headlines in the influencer marketing industry with the announcement of new features to help brands and influencers execute and measure their paid partnerships on the platform. Instagram is considered the top network for influencer marketing so any update to the platform is significant, especially when it directly relates to how brands activate influencer campaigns.

The new tools enable brands to clearly mark influencer posts with a “paid partnership” badge of sorts. This feature will be similar to the “Sponsored” designation you see on Instagram’s current Promoted Posts, that indicates clearly at the top of the post that it is not just organic content. Posts with this designation will also gain access to similar analytics currently offered with Sponsored Posts on Instagram. This simplified and obvious disclosure along with the inclusion of the analytics are boons to the influencer marketing industry. But brands will need to understand how they’ll be impacted by the new tools in order to maximize their effectiveness.

Influencer marketing content is obviously effective, there are plenty of reports to support that. The analytics capabilities that come with these new tools will make it easier for influencers to show the specific effectiveness of the content they’re sharing.

Many marketers and influencers are still confused about the FTC guidelines and how to make sure their content is compliant. These new tools will help both parties create a simpler and more streamlined path to disclosure, which will also benefit consumers.

Some marketers may be wondering if this will cause a drop in engagement on their influencers’ posts. We don’t foresee any potential drop in engagement for these “Paid Partnership” posts compared to other properly disclosed influencer posts. As long as the content is aligned with that influencer’s audience expectations, fits with their lifestyle and posting style, then it should still resonate with their followers.

What will be interesting to see here is how involved Instagram’s role in facilitating those partnerships becomes. Will creators become another ad unit within the Facebook ad platform? Will Instagram begin to broker partnerships between influencers and brands? If so, there may be an influencer marketing agency acquisition in Instagram’s future. There is a lot of work that goes into a successful influencer campaign from the social strategy and persona development, to the recruiting, scheduling and management influencer content… these campaigns are much more labor intensive than a typical Instagram ad buy. So how will Instagram handle those tasks? And how will marketers respond?

One piece Instagram will need to address is influencer discovery. There has been a lot of commentary lately on the use of marketplaces and their lack of authenticity. If Instagram is going to get into the world of facilitating influencer programs, this would be another major hit to the influencer marketplace space. Influencer marketplaces tend to create “pay-to-play” relationships between brands and influencers. This can lead to spammy, disingenuous and less-than-ideal content. We don’t recommend this kind of activation. So if anything comes from Instagram’s involvement in influencer marketing, we hope it continues to push in the direction of authentic engagements that build trust between the brand, influencer, and consumer.

This move by Instagram would also likely increase the frequency, importance, and priority of influencers in the overall marketing mix. Marketers are already said to be investing more in influencer marketing in 2017, this would only further increase that investment. And as Instagram gets itself more involved in the influencer space, these influencer programs will continue to become more commonplace and high profile. This creates an even greater need for marketers to partner with experienced agencies to build the right programs for the right audiences. Nobody wants to have a FYRE on their hands….

As a savvy marketer, you need to stay on top of these developments as they relate to your influencer marketing strategy. We expect this to be a big benefit to the influencer marketing space and one that will requirement more involvement from experienced influencer marketing partners.

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Author: Alex Ditty

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