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Instagram Branded Content: Transparency for Paid Collaborations

Instagram branded content

Hashtags like #ad or #spon will be soon disappear from Instagram. That’s because Instagram announced its new branded content feature in August 2017, which means that influencers can now tag paid collaborations with brands more clearly. This is a big step towards more transparency on Instagram, which has become a profitable income source for influencers on one side and a big marketing channel for brands on the other.

More Transparency on Instagram & Facebook

The importance of transparency on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook is clearly increasing.

Facebook had already released a branded content tool in 2017. Now in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the Facebook newsfeed will be overhauled, to prioritise “meaningful social interactions” from friends and family over brand and business content. This doesn’t necessarily spell bad news for brands. With a shift to content from profiles that users trust and engage in, this could in fact boost the impact of some influencer collaborations on Facebook. Regardless of of the outcome, it indicates that social networks are prioritising engagement and transparency as influencer marketing continues to dominate social media.

Instagram states “community means clarity”. The most important part of an influencer’s role is to keep the trust of their followers. This means that transparency is crucial for influencers and brands to maintain credibility amongst their audience. The Instagram branded content tool is another step in helping users to better identify organic content from sponsored content.

Source: Instagram

New Instagram Feature to Fight Fake Engagement and Followers

Living in times where buying followers and likes seems as normal as grocery shopping, it is time for a change for the brand side as well. The new branded content feature shows brands the performance of posts they are tagged in. This way content creators who rely on fake followers won’t have a chance to keep up this illusion anymore. Brands will be able to measure the success of their campaigns and the budget spent. See the detailed brands view in the Instagram article.

How it Works

When adding a new post to your feed you can add your collaboration partner in the advanced settings section.

Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram

Branded Content in Instagram Stories

Sponsored content appears in feeds and in stories, so the Instagram branded content tool can be used for both. A little note on top of the screen will say “Paid Partnership with..”

Source: Instagram


As influencer-brand collaborations increase, transparency has become a priority for social media platforms. The Instagram branded content tool is possibly the first in a number of changes that the social media platform will introduce to help its users get clarity on the content they are seeing. But that doesn’t mean influencers or brands should fear it. Influencer marketing is now a central part of social media, and users not only accept it, but often welcome it. The new tools help both influencers and brands to create authentic content that support their goals, while giving their audience content that they can trust.

Have you used the Instagram branded content tool? How do you feel about the changes that social media platforms are making? Tell us in the comments! Want to learn more about how Instagram works behind the scenes? Check out this post on the Instagram algorithm.


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  • The tool is in the first phase of its rollout. It is available to a selection of users and once enough feedback has been collected, it is expected that this new feature will be extended to more users.