Influencer Marketing

Instagram Tests New Partnership Features to Connect Brands and Creators


By Monique Thomas

Published November 7, 2021

4 minute read

Could this change the future of influencer marketing as we know it?

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This just in: Instagram’s testing new features to help brands and creators connect on the platform – a huge move that could shake up the influencer marketing landscape as we know it.

From a dedicated “partnership messages” inbox to a tool for creators to curate a list of ideal partners, we’re covering all the details below.

What are Instagram’s New Content Partnership Features?

Earlier this year, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Adam Mosseri shared during an Instagram Live their plans to “help creators make a living over the long run.” 

One of the features included a “branded content marketplace.” 

Similar to TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, it would position Instagram as a one-stop shop for influencers to find brands to work with, and vice versa. 

And now it’s here (or is at least being tested):

As said in a recent press release, “We’re introducing a suite of new tools that help creators and brands connect and collaborate on Instagram through brand partnerships, commerce and more.”

Here’s every new branded content partnership we know about so far:

1. Partnership Messages 

It goes down in the DMs, as they say. Creators (and brands) are often on the receiving end of direct messages on Instagram – from questions about a product to inquiries to work together.  

With such an influx of messages, it’s easy to miss a potential opportunity to partner with the perfect brand. 

Instagram’s looking to fix that: “We’re debuting a new folder within Instagram DMs exclusively for partnership messages.” 

This way, brands and creators will be able to easily find priority messages, connect with each other, and collaborate on future campaigns.

Brands will also be able to filter through the creator’s details (using Instagram data), like their follower count, location, gender, and age range. 

While this feature is still in its testing stage – available to a small group of US-based creators – it speaks to how Instagram plans to build their marketplace. 

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2. Data-driven Influencer Search

According to Instagram, brands will be able to use data and unique filters to discover and select the best creators for their campaigns. They can then “organize shortlists to easily manage multiple campaigns.” 

This is a major advantage for brands as they’ll be able to review verified data for a huge pool of potential creators – all directly in Instagram.

Instagram has not officially confirmed what filters will be available, but reports suggest they will include follower count, age, gender, and location. Instagram will reportedly also provide categories such as suggested creators.  

This feature is currently being tested with a number of US-based brands, so if you don’t have it yet – hang tight!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a guaranteed way to check a creator partner’s Instagram statistics, ask them to generate a verified Performance Report with Later:  

You'll be able to see every important metric, directly pulled from their Instagram account.

3. Preferred Brand Partners List 

This new feature puts creators in the driver’s seat: they can add brands they’re interested in working with to a “preferred brands list.” 

This way, they’ll be given priority when participating brands are searching for potential collaborators. 

Think of it as putting your name at the top of the VIP list, and telling a brand right away that you want to work with them. 

NOTE: This feature is also being tested with a small group of US-based creators at the moment.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Influencer Partnerships?

With the introduction of these new features, Instagram’s making a statement to creators, brands, and influencer marketing agencies alike.

Could the reliance on agencies decrease if everything from discoverability to collaboration can be done all within the app?

That remains to be seen. But what we do know is Instagram plans to continue developing their space in the influencer marketing realm. 

And we predict they’ll soon be a full-fledged global marketplace for partnerships: “As we continue testing and refining these features, we are excited to roll them out to more creators and brands in the future.” 

We’ll keep an eye on how this develops – stay tuned. 

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