When you get Penalized for doing things right.

Instagram ads

Advertising to people without saying it’s advertising to me is just a No Go.

Another article written by my mum ( she is a stickler for rules) 

This is an article I have wanted to write for a long time but wasn’t really sure how to, however I feel like the time has come to talk about my bugbear on Instagram and that is the use of the word ad, or should I say lack of it. I have found myself really wanting to name and shame accounts out loud and very publicly and the ex-police officer in me is so desperate to start policing and dishing out fines, even though it is not my job. Yes I know I need to get a life and surely I have better things to do, but advertising to people without saying its advertising to me is just a no go; at best it’s just an oversight and at worst is downright deceiving and unethical.

I think my hatred is fueled this month by a combination of things.  Firstly, Bronte asked her audience what they thought of ads and while most were supportive, some were downright rude and horrible, some even saying that if they like a picture and realise it’s an ad, they go back and unlike it! How petty, if you can consume content for free but don’t like it when the person may be getting paid? Shame on you! This got me thinking about how much content they were engaging with when they didn’t know it was an advertisement.

I then started to look at some of the highly engaged accounts that are growing quickly. In some of these accounts, out of the top twelve pictures only two were not something that should be labelled as an ad! Yet people were still engaging, mainly because in the bookish community people are used to seeing these types of posts not labelled as ads, so we think that is OK – it is not.

Secondly, Bronte got sent something to put on her feed. It wasn’t paid but the company was asking us to talk about the release date of something and use a specific hashtag, therefore making it an ad. Out of all the influencers sent the same items, Bronte was the only one who labelled this as an ad, which it clearly was.


So when Bookstagrammers promote book clubs with their codes, these should be labelled as an ad; when you are sent something in exchange for a post, it’s an ad.

I honestly don’t know what is so hard to understand.

We all know that anything with ad doesn’t get so much engagement which is fair enough, but the fact that those labelling things correctly are penalized by their followers while those that are going around not labelling things as ads are not doesn’t sit well with me.

I would go so far as to say it’s actually dishonest and deceiving, but maybe I’m just a stickler for rules, maybe I’m getting cross about something I shouldn’t be. But by their very nature don’t influencers have an obligation to do the right thing?

So before you don’t engage with an influencer because they have done the right thing and put ad in front of something, think about all the ones you are engaging with who are clearly advertising something but not putting anything. I don’t understand why deception is being rewarded and honesty is taking the hit.

And as a disclaimer in the past there are things we haven’t labelled correctly, but since getting clear on the rules we have always done our best to label everything accordingly. You can read more information here 

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