#SocialSpeak: How is the influencer transparency tool serving businesses and brands?

January 3, 2018

Everyday millions of people use Instagram to express themselves, connect with others, and with their passions. Businesses and creators find Instagram as a wide platform in which they are able to attract their audience and build a relationship with them, by tapping into their passions and interests. One way to connect with audiences is through partnering with influencers and publishers who market these businesses brands.

In June 2017, Instagram introduced a new tool to increase the transparency of sponsored content, which we covered in October. Now that it’s been a few months since the update has come out, and we have enough information to be able to assess the viability of such a tool, we’re bringing you all the deets on influencer transparency to help you decide how to utilize this new marketing aspect.  

Feedback from businesses and Creators

A test by Instagram revealed that businesses and creators value this new marketing dynamic, allowing them to expand their access and create new and exciting partnerships. To improve on this transparency, Instagram will soon be launching “Partner Approvals”, giving businesses the option to approve influencer tagged posts, thus improving the viability of the ad and the safety of the brand’s marketability.

Does this new tool follow the FTC’s Guides?

In Its recent update of guides, the FTC discussed that the issue of built-in platform disclosure, do not always meet its requirements, giving the easily missed placement of the disclosure as an example. They also mentioned that this tool may not be sufficient if a post has multiple brands, or if not all of the mentions were paid. However, this does not deny the fact that this tool is a step heading in the right direction. For instance, businesses will be able to monitor the success of their Instagram campaigns and make better decisions on who to partner with.

One element Instagram hasn’t taken from Facebook

Instagram is looking forward to enforcing policies that ensure the adherence to this new process. However, contrary to Facebook, Instagram has not added the incentive of providing an increased reach based on the tagged partners. Facebook’s algorithm uses tags to increase the probability of the content shown to people interested in the page. This increases posts reach, which motivates brands to use the tagging tool.

The case in the UAE

Omar Butti, the executive director of innovation at the Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC), mentions that an increase in transparency in posts and in content is already on the rise. This is mainly a result of the non-responsiveness to unobvious posts from viewers. Butti claims no interventions from the DFTC itself to increase transparency and stresses on the importance of events like VIDXB to raise awareness on the importance of increasing transparency.

Starting in 2018, Fiona Robertson, an entertainment and media attorney at Al Tamimi & Co., expects an increase in the implementation of regulations, which may be similar to those in the United States. She also expects that more notice will be given to major influencers on the social media prior to any change in transparency procedure.

According to Robertson, the regulation’s main benefit is for the consumer, rather than for the brand or the influencer. The key goal is to ensure no or less confusion for the consumer.