Finally, The Future Of Influencer Marketing Is Here

Branded content and paid partnership tags

Influencer marketing is finally being properly and formerly recognized on Instagram.

For a long time, brands, influencers and users have been frustrating over the blurring of line between sponsored and organic post. This has severely affected brands’ marketing strategy and reputation as well as content creators’ authenticity.


Influencer marketing has huge potential and is definitely here to stay but the relationship between brands and influencers, in particular, the paid relationship has to be carefully handled with. Endorsement deals have always been a hot topic of debate and even the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has stepped in to regulate.

In the past, influencers used to tag brand accounts in the image itself. However, the same method applies to both sponsored and organic posts for all accounts on Instagram and this made it difficult to distinguish the authenticity of the post.

Also, some influencers have experimented with the use of hashtags (#ad, #sponsored, #collaboration) to indicate the relationship with brands but not all influencers follow and the hashtags can sometimes “disappear” within the caption.

About: Paid Partnership Tags

To bring transparency and consistency to Branded Content for creators (celebrities, influencers, public figures, publishers) and business partners, Instagram rolled out the first test of paid partnership tags in August.


Paid partnership tags takes over the position of geo-tag (location), directly under the username. The tag is simple and direct, formerly disclosing the remunerated relationship that the influencer holds with the brand. These tags can be used in Instagram stories, imagery and video posts.

Different from sponsored ads, these posts are comes directly from the influencer and are shown to all followers of the influencer himself/herself. While ads allow brands to reach pre-determined group of audience, paid partnership tags rely on influencers’ own original network to engage users while maintaining a truthful and authentic relationship.

@davidbeckham with @kentandcurwen

“Certain accounts can mention a business partner when they share branded content as a post in feed or in a story. This means that they have a commercial relationship with the business partner that’s mentioned, and that they were compensated in some way for the post. People will see Paid partnership with… above these posts.” – Instagram

@songofstyle with @volvocarusa

“@songofstyle is about sharing my experiences with people and hopefully bringing them inspiration, whether in travel, fashion, or other areas of lifestyle…When working with brands like Volvo, it’s important to remember that people react to the realness of you, so Instagram’s new tagging tool will help show that my take on the XC90 is just that – mine.” – Aimee Song

Here are some examples of influencers who are using the paid partnership tags recently. As Instagram rolls out the feature to more accounts, we can expect to see more of such content in the future.

@newyorkcity with @visitzurich
@imjennim with @innisfreeUSA

To find out how paid partnership tags work in detail (for brands and content creators), read up here! While some rejoice over the clarity, some may find that the tags are too “obvious” and may dilute the quality of the content.

For the latter, we beg to differ.

The extra clarity not only gives audience more certainty in the content, it gives added assurance and credits to both the brands and influencers who co-created the post seen. Now, the task is on brands and influencers to better understand their audience and continuously improve the quality of their content.

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