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Influencer Marketing’s Newest Game Changer: Instagram Paid Partnership

Back in June, Instagram released a small but very meaningful update with its platform – specifically for Influencer Marketers.

The “Paid Partnership with” tag has recently been rolling out to more and more Instagram users, taking the place of the late #ad tags.

Many marketers considered this small detail is a big game-changer. Specifically for Influencer Generated Content (IGC) marketing.

The Reason Behind Instagram Paid Partnerships…

You may or may not be aware of the crises raised on celebrities just this April. Regardless, as social media influencers, these branded posts received a considerable amount of attention.

To most viewers, the line between being an influencer and an advertiser can only be so thin to notice. Some were dubbed as “misleading” and “impostorous” for not identifying that these were paid products commissioned to be posted.

These nonlabelled Instagram posts were always followed by consumer complaints. And their number one reason to file it? It’s breaching of consumer rights.

Instagram has been completely quiet about the whole issue… until the Paid Partnership rolled out.

Note: Not all Paid Partnership tags are paid advertisement.

Meaning all Paid Partnership tag will only reach organic content unless actually paid for.

Here’s what a “Paid Partnership with” tag looks like:
Instagram Paid Partnership
Paid Partnership tag example from Instagram.

Instagram is well known for influencer marketing. At first glance, everything seems good for users, influencers, and brands. It appears that Instagram has been listening to the issues around it and swiped the optional “#ad” tag problem with its paid partnership label.

Let’s break down the details further. This is what Paid Partnership means for:

  • The Community

With all the heat Instagram has been taking prior to its influencer marketing department, this will be the first time the social media giant will act upon it.

“Community Means Clarity,” Instagram claims.

Taken from their own words: Transparency matters. This will be their first step to ensure marketing transparency across the platform and avoid potential lawsuits from industry bodies.

  • The Marketers

As a consolation to marketers, the Paid Partnership tag will arrive with the metrics of post insights. The reach and engagement will also be accessible to business partners through Facebook Page Insights.

Everything sounds good, but let’s dig deeper… Is it really about prioritizing its community… OR expanding its ad revenue?

Probably a mix of both… with roughly a 40% pro-community and 60% on its ad revenue.

Social Media and Influencer Marketing continue to skyrocket.

75% of Instagram users are expected to take action after an advertising post.

59% of micro-influencers agree that Instagram is the most effective social media platform to engage with their audience.

Influencer Marketing is being well on its way. Hence, their efforts to normalise it with Paid Partnership.

Limited Organic Reach?

Not only is it about transparency. Instagram can begin charging well for Paid Partnership tags.

Remember: Paid Partnerships are still free with organic reach.

What marketers fear now is how much can Instagram limit the reach of the organic Paid Partnership posts.

The Paid Partnership = Limited Organic Reach controversy is designed so marketers would “voluntarily” pick the money from their wallets and boost each post… just as how Facebook adjusted its algorithm to meet its marketing (as we all know, Facebook has long acquired Instagram).

Nowadays, Facebook is encouraging marketers to look at their fan bases as a way to make paid advertising more effective rather than using it as a free broadcast channel. Additionally, Facebook says you should assume organic reach will eventually arrive at zero. So, if you really want to reach your target audience on Facebook, you’ll need to supplement your organic efforts with some paid advertising.Hubspot

To some digital marketers and influencers’ concern, being “verified” could mean being flagged for low organic reach.

Instagram Paid Partnership-1
Paid Partnership tag example of BuzzFeed Tasty and Instagram.

Producing The Content

Good news is, Instagram continues to be a for consumers by consumers advertising platform.

Paid Partnership legitimises influencer’s content marketing – much to our benefit.

The real question remains: can brands keep up?

Brands typically produce a handful or billboards that run for the entire year’s calendar. This won’t cut it as Social Media is a very fast pacing medium. Marketers and creatives will need to produce more viable content that will only run effectively for about a week.

Ethical Marketing through Instagram Paid Partnerships

While the Paid Partnership tag hasn’t reached all mobile devices, our sources say that the confusion over what it does and doesn’t require continues to persist.

Instagram’s first pitch may sound great but many influences are still disoriented without the Federal Trade Commission’s guideline.

Ambassadors are confused as to how they would handle a situation of wanting to share a personal review or invitation over a brand. Should the Paid Partnership tag always be present? What if it was of free content that influencers genuinely want to share?

And while Instagram originally designed this update as a sufficient disclosure tag to all sponsored post, the FTC announced that the Paid Partnership is still not considered as a proper disclosure statement.

So maybe it’s better to just release a clear disclosure copy alongside the Paid Partnership tag.


Consumers got the transparency they’ve long fought for.

Influencer Marketing becomes more established and secure; meaning more commissions for both ambassadors and marketers.

Marketers, somehow, still get instant access on their content insights while waiting for the FTC’s official guideline for Paid Partnership.

The best thing out of the Paid Partnership update is Influencer Marketing’s authentication. As I’ve said, this is a game-changer and a big leap to promote Influencer Marketing.

The most that we can say is: the future for Influencer Marketing looks promising.