Instagram had been starting to step up its game in ensuring a safe environment for its community. The feature was first introduced in June this year to some of the businesses in the platform, though it became available gradually as months pass by. The move is also in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) efforts to stop violators.
FTC’s Endorsement Guides basically aims transparency between businesses and the consumers. Aside from this, the agency hoped that there would be less dishonesty in advertising. It also promotes the honest and accurate marketing, which is to be fair, just what consumers need. It is, after all, the right of the consumers to know if they are being sold by someone who was paid by the company.
As for Instagram users, it is very important to know if influencers were paid by brands to promote the product. This is because these influencers, who have a huge following, affect how other users decide on products and brands. FTC claims that it is essential as well to know the relationship between the endorser and the brand. For example, a brand is being promoted by its owner’s cousin. The relationship should be disclosed to the concerned consumer.
Because there had been many violations in the photo-sharing app, the FTC had sent many letters to Instagram users warning them of the violations they had done. Twenty-one influencers, “Mean Girls” actress Lindsay Lohan and model Naomi Campbell was among which, were given the letter.
The letter contained the Instagram post, including the photo of the brand or product and the caption, that allegedly violated the bureau’s guidelines. The letter would also explain to the influencer about the marketing dos and don’ts. It would also lecture the receiver of the FTC’s mandate, which is to protect the consumer by laying out their rights. After all, the brands owe their consumers and audience the truth.
This is why Instagram had been promoting their new feature, the paid partnership tool. This will help keep the community a healthy environment for users and marketers alike. And this should be highlighted because the social media platform recently celebrated a milestone. It announced that there had been 200 million advertisers using it. With this big numbers, a lot of consumers are relying on them.
The channel aims to promote transparency to its community, especially that the app had been a nesting place of influencers. Influencers are users with an enormous fan base, which usually share the ideals with the influencer. They are usually resorted to when brands feel that they need a little push on the engagement or awareness. Asking for help to influencers is also an easy and low-cost way to help your brand grow.
With its new paid partnership feature, businesses will have a chance to gain insights as well. This new feature would allow the influencers to tag the brand who sponsored the content in a post. Brands will also have access to insights like the reach, likes, and comments on the posts they were tagged into. This new feature can also be used in Instagram Stories, where viewers and followers are able to see the contents for 24 hours. The tags appear just below the name of the endorser.
With all of the efforts of Instagram, is it in line with the FTC’s rules? Not precisely. The agency revealed that features, such as the Paid Partnership tool, that help disclose some basic information about the endorser on the platforms are not in accordance with FTC’s requirements. More importantly, the agency said that the feature would not guarantee an effective revelation of the connection between the influencer and the brand.
FTC as well mentioned that the location of the disclosure should be placed in a location which cannot be overlooked. The placement of the tags was underlined and the agency noted that these should be placed where the viewers can easily see them. The bureau also said that the way onlookers view the screenplay a major role in the positioning of the disclosure.
The FTC also had explained that the disclosure above the photo would likely not get the viewers’ attention. True enough, a busy person would just look at the photo and not look to what the details are about. Also, where the brand’s name will appear is also the part where the location of the content was taken, and people usually would not take the time to look at this part.
The FTC also discussed that the placement of the disclosure at a video’s lower part could not easily grab attention as well. The bureau also requires platforms to use fonts which can be read and deciphered easily, paired with the background that will make the words stand out. This is so users who might have eye problems might easily understand what brands are trying to say.
Aside from this, the FTC said that it is important that the platform uses concise, clear, and easy to understand words. Lay man’s terms should always be used to avoid different interpretations from different people. The least that the consumers need is the confusion of the disclosure.
The FTC, in a nutshell, stressed that the responsibility lies with the influencers and the businesses, and not on the social media channel. The brands have the obligation to provide the truth and honest marketing to its consumers while influencers have the responsibility to disclose his or her connection with the brand as well. After all, the influencers owe it to their followers who believe in them.
Though this might be the case for Instagram, its efforts should highly be lauded. Transparency is a pressing issue in marketing and the need for it arises as technology further develops. This step by Instagram is a big help to consumers who are the end of these products. The audience deserves the truth about the products. Seeking and influencer’s help is not a bad idea as well, but brands must make sure that their partners know that they need to disclose their connection to the viewers.
Date: September 18, 2018 / Categories: Marketing, / Author: Rich Drees