July 7, 2021: There are BIG changes in the world of influencer marketing so no time to waste, let’s jump in!

In today’s edition: 

  • TikTok removes 7 Million underage accounts
  • NCAA athletes are the new influencers
  • Instagram is rebranding itself

TikTok Cracks Down on App Policies

The Story

TikTok has removed 7 million accounts and updated its Branded Content Policy.

Account Removal 

In an effort to crack down on TikTok’s community guidelines, over 7 million accounts belonging to children under 13 have been deleted. In total, TikTok removed 11.1 million accounts that were violating the app’s guidelines (which includes those suspected of being under the age guidelines). 

In the United States, internet sites are required to have parental permission before data of children 13 years old or under can be collected (thanks to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). However, that doesn’t stop kids from lying about their age and creating social media accounts. It makes sense that TikTok is cracking down — in 2019 it had to pay the U.S. Federal Trade Commission a record $5.7 million fine for unlawfully collecting underage data.

What’s this about Branded Content?

What is branded content, you ask? Branded content ads allow advertisers to scale the influencer’s content by increasing its reach and frequency to a larger, targeted audience regardless of if they follow the creator’s or advertiser’s account. 

So, why should I care? Well, if you’re in a globally prohibited industry such as alcohol, dating apps, financial services, or political content, then you cannot promote via branded content on TikTok (see the expanded list of affected industries here).

Now what??

TikTok is trying to find additional solutions to allow their brands to advertise the way they prefer. One way to work alongside these expanded guidelines is to activate influencer content as an ad posted directly from the brand account, with the necessary age targeting in place. This update comes right before the rollout of 3 minute videos on the app.


TikTok taking their age restrictions and branded content more seriously can have a large effect on the brands advertising on the platform. If your product targets that 13 and under demographic, you’ll have to think twice about where you’re spending your marketing budget. If your brand is a globally prohibited industry, it’s time to get creative and find new ways to advertise. Prohibited brands should make sure to work closely with creators to generate content that can best be posted via the brand’s TikTok account.

Want to learn more about how your brand can advertise via other forms of branded content? Check out our guide to branded content on Instagram here

NCAA Allows for NIL Profit

The Story

Brands flock to endorse student athletes as the NCAA overturned rules forbidding college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). 

Tell me more
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard that starting on July 1st, NCAA college athletes now have the ability to to profit from their NIL. This shift allows potentially 460,000 NCAA student-athletes to sign sponsorship deals or other paid opportunities. 

Let the profit-making begin 

Brands of all types have expressed their excitement at the prospect of working with these athletes. For example, Unilever has committed to spending $5 million over the next five years, signing marketing deals with college athletes to promote Degree deodorant. David Portnoy has launched Barstool Athletics (that currently has 164k followers just a few days after launching), with hundreds of students already signing an endorsement deal with the brand.


This shift is huge for the influencer marketing industry as it allows brands to not only activate new types of influential figures, but also people that may better appeal to their target audience. Allowing students to profit off of their NIL is especially beneficial to athletes from financially-challenged backgrounds, with many feeling the NCAA wasn’t doing enough to support their players. These athletes arguably play the same amount as professional athletes, but are expected to do schoolwork on top of training with no compensation. This change is a win for college athletes everywhere and brands should recognize the opportunity that comes with activating these public figures. 

Instagram is No Longer a Photo Sharing App

The Story

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, described the future of Instagram where it’s “no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app.”

What’s going to change?

Instagram is going to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube — A.K.A. an even larger emphasis on IGTV and Reels. Instagram is going to test making video more immersive by offering a full-screen experience.

Mosseri explains that Instagram is now going to be a general entertainment app that is driven by algorithms and videos, with a focus on creators, video, shopping and messaging. Users will eventually be able to select topics of interest that will enhance their experience on the app.


Instagram is notorious for copying other platforms. Stories, AR selfie filters, and disappearing photo/video stories are all features copied from Snapchat. More recently, they have created Reels as a direct copycat of TikTok. Instagram obviously isn’t the only platform trying to ride the coattails of TikTok’s success. Our only concern is that Instagram made a name for itself as the premier photo-sharing app. Will users lean into this change?


A Bank for the Creator Economy, Karat Financial Raises $26M in Series A Funding

Influencers In Norway Will Legally Have To Disclose Their Photoshopped Images

TikTok Will Enable All Users Make Longer Videos