Paid Partnership Labels and What They Mean for Brands and Influencers

October 16, 2023
By   Amanda Perry
Category   Social Media

As the creator economy continues to grow, it is important for both brands and creators to be familiar with Instagram's Paid Partnership tag and how it works. Let’s take a look at the benefits of this feature as well as the step-by-step instructions to properly tag sponsored posts.

Instagram first introduced paid partnership tags in 2017, mainly to offer additional transparency for brands and influencers when it came to disclosing paid and gifted posts. Initially, the feature was released to limited accounts but has since expanded and is now available for all creator and business accounts, no matter their size, if they follow Instagram’s community guidelines and branded content policies.

The paid partner feature has continued to expand over the years and offers numerous benefits for both content creators, brands, and consumers. With influencer marketing becoming a “must-have” in the marketing mix and more brands using creators for paid content, learning how to use Instagram’s paid partnership tag from both the brand and influencer side is necessary. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the paid partnership label, what it can be used for, and how brands and influencers can set it up. 

How do you know when a post is a Paid Partnership?

When an influencer shares a post that they have been compensated for in some way, they must add the Paid Partnership tag to the post. The tag appears at the top of the image or story where the area/location is typically tagged and will include the sponsoring brand if the brand has approved the creator as a paid partner.  

Do you need to tag a brand as a paid partner?

According to Instagram’s branded content policy, all sponsored content must be tagged as a paid partnership, or the influencer account may be restricted for breach of Instagram’s branded content policies. Sponsored content includes content where there was a monetary payment, or a product/service was gifted. 

Influencers must tag all posts they have received compensation for whether or not the sponsoring brand approves their account as a branded partner. If the brand hasn’t approved the post, it still shows as a Paid Partnership without a brand being indicated. 

Who can use a Paid Partnership label?

Both business and creator accounts have access to the paid partnership label. However, there are several required steps as a one-time setup. 

From the brand side, the account must be listed as a business account on Instagram, and the brand will need to enable branded content tools on its account. The brand will then need to approve creator accounts either manually, automatically, or by approving individual accounts prior to the creator posting.  

Influencers and creators can access the ability to tag brands as paid partners if they have either a creator or business account and have enabled branded content tools on their accounts. Any account, no matter the size, can upgrade to creator status, giving the account access to upgraded and additional features from Instagram. 

To be eligible for branded content tools, an Instagram account must be in good standing with Instagram and comply with Instagram’s Community Guidelines, content monetization policies, and branded content policies. 

What are the benefits of tagging a post as branded content?

There are several benefits for both creators and brands when posts are tagged as paid partnerships. 

The most immediate and critical benefit is to ensure that the post meets the requirements set out in Instagram’s branded content policy regarding sponsored posts and to keep your account in good standing. If you’re looking to monetize your account or if you’re a brand, you definitely want to stay on Instagram’s good side. 

The paid partner tag also adds an additional layer of transparency when it comes to thoroughly disclosing a post as sponsored. All Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations for disclosing a paid post must also be fully met, but a Paid Partnership label tag clearly displayed on a post introduces an extra level of honesty when disclosing sponsored content for both brands and creators. 

The paid partnership label offers major benefits to brands. When a brand is tagged as a paid partner on an influencer’s post, the brand can then view the performance data of the post, streamlining the data collection process. 

Also, when an influencer has toggled on “allow a business partner to promote,” the tagged brand can boost the post as a paid social ad. This allows brands to utilize UGC content to increase reach, improve targeting, add data measuring, and enable frictionless shopping. 

Creators also benefit from using the paid partnership label. When visible on sponsored posts, it builds credibility for the creator with other brands in the same space and shows that the creator is open to working with businesses.  

Additionally, when a brand boosts a sponsored organic post, it provides a growth opportunity for the creator, increasing exposure, impressions, and engagement. A sponsored boosted branded post also allows creators to prove their worth to the brand (and other brands) and build credibility in the industry with new audiences. 

How do you tag a post as a paid partnership?

Setting up the paid partnership tag on a post requires several steps from both the creator and the brand and requires a bit of setup if using the feature for the very first time.

It should be the responsibility of both the creator and brand to ensure the post is properly set up as a paid partnership label. That way, everyone follows Instagram’s policies and remains fully transparent. Brands should be familiar with the process from both sides as they may need to walk smaller and/or new creators through the process. 

The first step is to ensure the creator’s account is listed as either a creator or business account on Instagram. If it’s not, transition the account. Any account of any size can upgrade to a creator account and access the branded content tools for free. 

How to switch a personal account to a creator account:

  • In the Instagram app, go to Menu from your profile page (the three lines at the top right corner)
  • Go to Settings and Privacy
  • Scroll down and tap on “Account type and tools”
  • Tap on “Switch to a Professional Account”
  • Follow the prompts to update your account

Once an account has been upgraded to a creator/business account, the owner will then need to enable the branded content tools. 

How to enable branded content tools:

  • In the Instagram app, go to Menu from your profile page (the three lines at the top right corner)
  • Go to Settings and Privacy
  • Tap on “Creator tools and controls”
  • Tap on “Branded content”
  • Tap on “Set up branded content tools”
  • Tap on “Enable” will show as “Done” when completed
  • Branded content status should show as “Eligible” when finalized

 How to initiate a partnership for paid partnership labels:

The paid partnership can either be initiated by the creator or the brand. The creator can request approval of the paid partnership label when they publish the post, and the brand can either have automatic approvals set up, or manually approve the influencer, or the brand can approve the creator as a paid partner prior to the post going live. 

Brands will need to either set up automatic approvals or approve each influencer within the brand content tools feature on Instagram. 

How to approve creators for the paid partnership label:

  • In the IG app, go to Menu from your profile page (the three lines at the top right corner)
  • Go to Settings and Privacy
  • Tap on “Business tools and controls”
  • Tap on “Branded content”
  • Either:
    • Toggle off “Manually approve content creators” for automatic approval
    • Tap “Approve content creators” and tap “Approve” for creators requesting approval OR search and find creators and tap “Approve” 

How to add a paid partnership label when publishing a post:

Creators can add paid partnership labels to posts, Reels and Stories. When a creator adds a brand partner to their content, and they have not yet been approved as a paid partner by the brand, a request will be sent to the brand. One thing to note—your branded content will have the paid partnership label without the brand partner’s name if they haven’t approved you yet.

Once approved, the brand name will appear on your content. If the brand denies your request, the paid partnership label will be removed from your content. If this happens, you may want to check that you have tagged the correct brand and reach out to them to resolve any issues. Once the content has been published, the brand partner will receive a notification.

How to publish a post with a branded content tag:

When you publish your post or reel:

When you publish your story:

  • Select the tag button at the top of the story creation screen  
  • Tap “Add paid partnership label”
  • Search for the brand’s Instagram account
  • Toggle on “Allow Business Partner to promote”.

How to add a branded content tag to an already published post:

If you’ve already published a feed post or Reel, you can add the partnership label afterward:

  • Tap the three dots on your post, and click “edit”
  • Tap “Partnership label & ads” OR “Edit” and “Add paid partnership label” under your handle 
  • Toggle “Add paid partnership label” on
  • Tap “Add brand partner” and search for the brand’s Instagram account
  • Toggle on “Allow Business Partner to promote”

If you’ve already published a story, you can add the partnership label afterward:

  • Tap on the three dots at the base of your story 
  • Select “Partnership label & ads”
  • Tap “Add brand partner” and search for the brands Instagram account
  • Toggle on “Allow Business Partner to promote”

Tracking post insights from Paid Partnership post

Once tagged as a paid partner, brands can access post and Story insights to track results. 

Post insights can be viewed through:

  • Professional notifications: Posts you’ve been tagged in will show up here
  • Visiting the post: Visit the post or Story on the creator’s account and click “View insights” located under the post. Story insights must be viewed while still active. 

Access to the paid partnership label on Instagram has changed the way creators and brands work together, and it has added numerous benefits for all parties. As consumers turn to social media more to make purchasing decisions, the paid partnership label allows brands and creators to remain transparent regarding sponsored posts and when working together to achieve social media goals.




paid partnership


Amanda Perry

Amanda is the Influencer Marketing Specialist at Reshift Media, where she strategizes and manages influencer marketing campaigns for various brands. She has worked in the influencer industry for the last 5 years, planning and executing influencer campaigns across many industries and brands.

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