What is Instagram's new Affiliate Commerce Program and Branded Content Partnerships?

BRIGADE BRIGADE, is an independent, woman-owned branding and design agency providing distinct creative solutions that re-energize tired brands and help savvy marketing teams take on the leaders in the category.

Instagram has grown over the years to become more than just a platform to post pictures of your dog (although, we’re not complaining if you still do.) 

The app has transformed into a space for creators, influencers, and brands to not only grow their audience but also monetize it. Instagram continuously tries to make their platform the most convenient and useful tool for anyone who uses the app—essentially eliminating the barrier to entry. Instagram’s latest push is a new channel called “Branded Content Partnerships,” where creators, influencers, and brands can find and connect with each other more seamlessly—allowing them to build off each other’s influence with partnerships or collaborations.  

The new channel offers users a more organized alternative to DMs (Direct Messages). Content creators and brands get an influx of messages—some are valuable inquiries, others are not. Because of this, successful influencers are typically left sifting through hundreds (or thousands) of DMs to make sure that no partnership or business opportunity is lost. As part of the new feature, users have access to a new folder dedicated exclusively to brand partnerships. This allows creators and brands to easily locate and respond to messages (without a pricey social media manager).

This new channel could help even the playing field between creators, influencers, and big brands—who often have a larger social media budget, or entire management teams.

It also makes it easier for big brands to find the right influencers and creators to partner with. Brand teams can use the new feature to set filters such as age, follower count, gender, and more when searching for potential partners. Brand teams are also able to narrow in on creators from a huge pool, all within the app. 

As for creators and influencers, they have the option of adding brands they want to work with to their “preferred brands list.” This information is fed into the algorithm, giving them a better chance of those brand teams considering them for upcoming partnerships. Brands will see that certain people already have an interest in working with them, increasing the likelihood of creating a brand partnership. 

Instagram is also exploring more direct ways for creators to earn money. The platform introduced a new Affiliate Commerce Program that aims to help creators earn commission when their posts successfully convert a sale for a brand they promote. In addition, a new label feature will appear on sponsored posts that notifies users that their purchase will directly help the creator. 

Instagram is also finding more ways to help small business owners on Instagram by adding features the make it easier for users to purchase items directly on the app — through the ‘shop’ tab.

A lot of these new features are still in the testing stage, so only a select few have access and are helping to troubleshoot.

Overall, these new features mark a major shift for Instagram towards an e-commerce platform. Not only is the app becoming a one-stop shop for consumers, it’s also becoming a networking platform for independent influencers and creators to connect and collaborate with brands—forming more mutually-beneficial partnerships. 


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