Instagram Affiliate: finally putting the creator first?

By Ed East.

Streaming virtually from Facebook and Instagram’s first-ever Creator Week, Mark Zuckerberg proudly announced last week that the platforms will be rolling out new monetisation functionalities to further allow creators to earn commission from purchases driven by their influence.

In an unprecedented move for the social media giant, one of these features is a ‘native affiliate tool‘, launched so that creators are fairly compensated for sales driven by product promotions or brand partnerships. Sellers will be able to set their own commission rate, and affiliate posts will be signposted, so that followers are aware their purchases will support the creator in some way.

It was only a matter of time before Instagram capitalised on this bespoke model, and it is clearly pushing hard to be the platform of choice for content creators. Seeing bigger platforms leading the way in putting the creator first is hugely promising – it makes an important statement that creators should be correctly remunerated for their creative work and recognises the legitimacy of influencer marketing.

What we often see in the industry is that influencer marketing comes second versus traditional media, and some brands struggle to understand the value of it. Affiliate marketing is also often seen as an add-on, but when executed correctly can be such an effective sales driver. With Instagram’s bespoke affiliate program marrying the two, brands will have a refined approach at their disposal to trace and attribute their investment into influencer activity. They’ll be able to do this by directly tracking sales.

Historically, tracking ROI from influencers has been possible – examples include using trackable links through stories to measure conversion, and direct sales reporting through using creator content in paid social ads. However, despite these functionalities some brands have still been hesitant to engage, opting for traditional marketing avenues instead. Instagram’s newest tool will make ROI attribution even easier and more effective – it’ll be an exciting time for the industry, working with brand partners to figure out the most successful way to implement influencer affiliate marketing on Instagram.

It’s imperative to keep in mind that an increasing number of influencers make a full-time living through content creation and brand partnerships. It’s only fair they’re correctly financially rewarded and incentivised for their outputs and seen as real sales drivers.

Instagram has announced the tool will be available in-feed, suggesting that smaller creators will have access to the programme too, making it hugely accessible.

This could change the game for how influencer ‘value’ is perceived – another potential gamechanger for the industry.

Ed East is CEO and co-founder of global creative influencer marketing agency, Billion Dollar Boy.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

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