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Instagram’s Reels Changes How Branded Content Ads Work

Adriana Lee
·2 min read

The evolution of Reels continues, as the photo- and video-sharing network revealed Friday that a new tag for branded content has landed on Instagram’s short-video service.

According to an Instagram spokeswoman, the update was designed with creators in mind. In a bid to boost transparency, the new process allows them to clearly disclose sponsored content, while giving them greater control to more easily approve or pause ads published from their account.

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“Creators push culture forward and signal what’s next, which is why people are increasingly turning to them for inspiration,” explained Justin Osofsky, chief operating officer of Instagram. “Branded content is a powerful tool for creators and businesses, and these updates will help them get more out of the content they’re creating together.

“This will continue to be an area of focus for us as we build out a suite of monetization tools that support creators’ various needs and ambitions,” he said.

The update launched on Reels on Friday, and it may expand to other parts of the platform, as a test for the branded content tag on Instagram Live will begin in the coming weeks.

The tags are part of a new workflow that makes the creation of branded content ads more straightforward.

For businesses, that means they will no longer have to wait for creators to share organic posts on Instagram first. They also have a new ability now to promote branded content posts with product tags, where they couldn’t previously. The new format will begin testing in the coming months.

The social media company explained its motivation on its blog: “More and more, people are shopping directly from the creators they love on Instagram,” the company wrote. “This new ad format is another way brands can provide a seamless shopping experience on Instagram.”

Instagram is also instituting a change that brings new tappable elements for branded content ads in Stories, which will include @mentions, location and hashtags.