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Instagram’s latest offering, ‘branded content ads’ will allow brands to promote branded content created by influencers, in the same way they can currently do with ads.
Still in its testing phase, an Instagram product management lead, Ashley Yuki, announced the development earlier this week.
Whether they follow them or not, this update would allow Instagram users to see influencer content in their feed, labelled with the paid partnership tag. This could amplify high-performing branded content, pushing its reach far beyond just the influencer’s followers. It also provides a superior option to brands simply re-gramming influencer content, allowing the content to live within its original context, with the origin and caption unchanged.
The update seems to go hand-in-hand with the paid partnership tag which Instagram will roll out to all brands, influencers and publishers. This will mean more formal partnerships and as a result, further transparency to the industry.
The biggest impact I predict however, is the way this will change perspective around influencers. Post exposure will no longer be their sole responsibility. Brands will have an active role in making it seen. This will shift the focus from the size of an influencer’s following to the quality of their content. By empowering brands to quickly and easily amplify the content themselves, an influencer’s value pivots to their talents and ability to create thumb-stopping, engaging content.
Through the ever-expanding influencer community, brands will have access to talented and innovative photographers, stylists, illustrators, videographers and more, who can create mobile-first, bespoke content for them at a competitive rate.
It’s likely to push the standards even higher too. As brands make use of this new option, users will see even more influencer content in their feed and creators will have to work even harder to stand out.
This will shift the focus from the size of an influencer’s following to the quality of their content.
Diverting focus from influencer’s audiences could ease highly-publicised concerns around fake followers. However Yuki insisted that tackling inauthenticity was still a big priority for the platform. Highlighting the initiative announced in November, she reiterated machine learning was being used to identify inauthentic likes, follows and comments.
With Gen Z consuming content at an even faster rate than their millennial predecessors, the need for an always on approach has never been more apparent. This, combined with the commitment to personalised, targeted advertising makes content that is effective both in cost and ROI a necessity. Influencer generated content provides exactly that, fuel for the ‘always on’ marketing mission. This update from Instagram could be another step to using it even more efficiently.