November 24, 2020: Instagram launches Guides and reveals updates to its Branded Content features.
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Instagram Launches Guides
Instagram launched a new feature called “Guides,” which allows creators to share tips, resources and other longer-form content in a dedicated tab on their profiles.
Give me the deets.
Although Instagram initially launched the beta of the feature back in May, it was only for a select group of creators and it was primarily geared towards sharing content focused on mental health and well-being. Now, Instagram has made the format available for all users and has expanded Guides to include other types of content as well, including Products, Places and Posts.
It’s no secret that Instagram wants to become brands’, creators’ and consumers’ one-stop shop. Most recently, we’ve seen this with the platform’s addition of a slew of new e-commerce features and now, we’re now seeing Instagram make the case for why content always reigns supreme.
Adding a blog-like feature for long-form content on its platform certainly is a step in the right direction to becoming a one-stop shop. Up until now, there was no way for creators (or brands) to share longer-form content on Instagram which, when considering just how revenue-obsessed Instagram is, seems like a missed opportunity on Instagram’s part. Longer-form content = literally more space for sponsored content and more ways to discover (and shop) for products.
Also, this update is huge for affiliate marketing — especially at the start of the holiday season. We’ve already seen creators use Guides to share holiday gift guides, which we all know creators and marketers love to sprinkle some affiliate codes into (it’s all about that attribution).
We’re calling it now — very soon, Guides will be something brands use consistently. It’s likely that Instagram will take the same approach as it did with IGTV, adding in monetization once user adoption is there.
Not Unrelated: Instagram Reveals Updates to Branded Content
Instagram revealed several new updates related to Branded Content on its platform:
- The rollout of the Branded Content Tag on Reels
- The start of testing that tag on Instagram Live
- Several Branded Content Ads updates:
- The ability for brands to create Branded Content Ads with creators’ content without the creator having to post it organically first (read: influencer content as ads only)
- Location, hashtags and @mentions can now be included in Branded Content Ads on Stories.
- Ability for brands to promote branded content posts with product tags (coming soon, according to Instagram)
- Ability to set age limit minimums for branded content feed posts.
What does this mean for the influencer marketing industry?
We’d tell you ourselves, but Ian Borthwick, the Senior Director of Influencer Marketing at SeatGeek says it best: “Short-term, these moves are a win for creators and brands. Long-term, Instagram is increasing [itself] as a gatekeeper to [the] $10 billion influencer marketing industry, which should scare both creators and brands.” Bothwick also mentioned that the updates kind of view “influencers as just a handle to run ads through, which may further reduce trust between [the] influencer and their audience.” He’s keeping it reeeeeel.
Tis’ the season (or should we say year) for creator monetization. At the most basic level, the new tags mean that creators will partner with more brands and, in turn, actually generate revenue from their Reels content. Instagram’s M.O.? Provide just enough incentive for creators to use Reels to stop them from going to TikTok. We’re calling it wishful thinking on Instagram’s part.
And we may all be seeing more Branded Content Ads featuring our favorite influencers in our feed. With the ability for brands to use influencers’ content as ads without the organic post first may be a boon for influencers’ wallets and their ability to monetize — all without the appearance of having too many #sponsored posts in their feeds.