With any regulated commodity, marketers must mind the advertising guidelines set forth by the Federal Trade Commission and respective industry trade associations. In the US, digital marketers are held to a “71.6% rule”, which requires at least that percentage of a targeted audience be of legal drinking age.

And, as youth safety online continues to be an area for oversight—with companies like Juul getting a major slap on the hand in 2018, and TikTok recently enforcing stricter gifting guidelines for its young community—Instagram is stepping in with a much-needed update.

Now, users will be asked to input their birthday when creating a new account. The new age verification is a step in the right direction for measuring audience age and will help alcohol brands market on the platform with greater safety and precision thanks to additional audience targeting and exclusion possibilities.

While this is a great first step in fostering more accurate age data, there are no public plans to address age verification for existing users. Collectively will be following the evolution of age standards on the platform and keep our clients and community informed of future changes.

How the feature will affect alcohol campaigns with Collectively?

When it comes to alcohol campaigns and influencer casting, our goal has always been to understand—with as much precision as the platforms and tools allow—the exact age makeup of an influencer's audience to ensure it meets the 71.6% percent standard. With the new Instagram age requirement, we’ll see evolution in the following areas:

  • Even more precision. We focus primarily on first-party demographics data via authentication (audience age information that comes directly from Instagram). With the new age requirement, first-party data will be more precise. To date, Instagram age data has been based on their massive data collection efforts vs. reliable self-reported information. Now, the numbers we see will take both approaches into account.
  • Influencer control. The new feature will reportedly allow users to block minors from seeing certain content they create. Restricting alcohol content to minors will allow creators to take extra measures to ensure only age-appropriate followers see their alcohol campaign content.
  • Workflow efficiencies. We partner with leading technology companies in our field who are constantly evolving their tools to meet industry needs and standards. Our partners have new tools on their roadmap (launching early 2019) to streamline vetting for LDA compliance with an even quicker, more efficient workflow that's powered by Instagram age data.

Beyond spirits campaigns…

Alcohol isn’t the only category to benefit from age verification. Brands aiming to reach specific age groups will pinpoint those segments with greater accuracy. Whether trying to connect with Gen Z communities or more mature consumers, birthday verification will aid in targeting efforts across the board.

Collectively welcomes this new feature and we’re only left wondering why it took so long for Instagram to roll it out. After all, Facebook and Twitter have long since required age verification for users. As Instagram evolves as a platform and sees increased spend from brands in all categories, it’s about time it took steps to understand their user base with more accuracy—especially in light of the success spirits brands have had using social media and influencers.

Keep reading…

Tech Crunch / The Verge / Reuters / Adweek / Vox / TikTok