Instagram wants more people to share when they’re being paid to post.
The Facebook-owned app announced Tuesday it will expand its official branded content program. Now, more users will have access to the “Paid partnership with” tag the company released to a handful of creators back in June. The company declined to share a total number but said it is the same group that has access to Instagram analytics.
Instagram is also improving how it communicates with users when it believes they’re violating the branded content policy. The same group of creators now will receive an in-app notification if their content is flagged by Instagram’s system as branded but not disclosed. They’ll be reminded to use the official tool to tag a business.
These updates are a part of Instagram’s extremely slow move to formalize branded content on the platform after years of scrutiny. Still, there are still no hard and fast rules on how and what to post. The “Paid partnership” tag is not available to everyone nor are the creators who have access required to use it.
“In terms of how long it’s taken us to get here, we wanted to be very careful about it,” Charles Porch, creative program director at Instagram, told Mashable in June.
How does a creator get access to Instagram’s branded content tag and analytics? It’s difficult to say.
Users must have a certain level of engagement with their posts and stories, according to an Instagram spokesperson. When asked if Instagram considers bots and fake followers, the spokesperson said engagement is only one factor they consider. Creators are also hand-selected based on the amount of branded content they already have shared.
The goal is to eventually “make it simple” for every Instagram user to identify sponsored posts, according to Instagram’s blog post on the update.
The new system has been beneficial for some creators. For example, businesses can require its paid partners to use the tool and benefit by receiving analytics.
“With the branded content tag, I’m able to be fully transparent about my commercial relationships on Instagram and that transparency extends to the businesses that I partner with in the form of analytics,” Xenia Tchoumi (@xenia) said in a statement.
Of course, Instagram is still testing.