Instagram Rolls Out Under-18 Advertising Limitations

While Instagram's rolling out under-18 advertising limitations is a good thing for privacy concerns of young people, it will impact many businesses. Learn more about what is being changed and how to make sure you're following new restrictions.

Instagram has announced a set of new guidelines for both users under the age of 16 to 18 (depending on your country) and those advertising to this age group. The under 18 regulations include:

  • Those under the age of 16 (18 in some countries) will have their profiles private by default.
  • Preventing accounts who have shown suspicious behaviour from contacting underage accounts.
  • Limiting how advertisers can target underage audiences.

The aim of Instagram rolling out under-18 advertising limitations and other regulations is to create a safer, more private environment for younger, more vulnerable members of their community.

“Creating an experience on Instagram that’s safe and private for young people, but also fun comes with competing challenges. We want them to easily make new friends and keep up with their family, but we don’t want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers,” the platform said in a statement on their blog.

While improved privacy is always a good thing, for businesses relying on marketing their age-appropriate products and services to those under 18 — such as driving schools, toys manufacturers and universities — it may come as a concern.

Changes Coming to Instagram for Users Under the Age of 18 

1. Under 16s will have their accounts defaulted to private. 

From this week, anyone under the age of 16 (or 18 in some countries) will have their Instagram profile defaulted to private if they create an account. For those who already have an account, Instagram will send them notifications of the benefits of a private account for the age group and give them the option to change from public to private.

Instagram said their research showed eight out of ten ‘young’ people already accepted a private default setting when they created their account and reported preferring it this way.

A private account on Instagram hides your post from anyone who is not in your following list.

How old do you have to be to have an Instagram account? 

Instagram’s current minimum age requirement for creating a profile is 13 years old. However, there is currently no age verification process for Instagram at this point in time.

2. Suspicious accounts will not be able to contact underage users. 

In Instagram’s blog announcement of the under 18 regulations, they announced the use of new technology to allow them to block users who have shown suspicious behaviour from contacting underage users.

An example of an account with suspicious behaviour includes accounts of those over 18 which have been blocked or reported by a young person.

The suspicious user would not be able to see young people’s accounts in their Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested for You’. However, they will still be able to search directly for young people with usernames but will not be able to follow them. They would also not be able to see comments from young people on other people’s posts, nor leave comments on a young person’s post.

This particular feature will be rolled out in Australia, France, Japan and the US and UK, with more to follow.

Using the over-18 blocking feature on Instagram, along with the default privacy setting, is hoped to decrease the number of complaints filed against inappropriate behavior on the app.

However, business accounts should be cautious of using any automated software that may lead them to be impacted by the new technology. This includes automated following software that may increase the chance of being reported. These types of social media programs are not recommended and may lead to you being banned from the platform but are still widely used.

3. Advertisers will be limited to how they can advertise to under 18s.

Within the next few weeks, advertisers anywhere in the world advertising on Facebook, Instagram and/or Messenger will only be able to target users under the age of 18 by their age, sex and location. Instagram rolling out under-18 advertising limitations mean businesses will no longer be able to target young users by their interests or activities.

Targeting users by their interests or activities helps advertisers pinpoint who will be more interested in ads, helping increase their return on investment. However, Instagram advised they received information by their youth advocates that young people are not equipped enough to make decision based on advertising like those over the age of 18, so should not be targeted as such.

When an underage user turns 18, they will be notified of their exposure to interest and activity-based advertising targeting and how to control their ad experience.

For advertisers who target ads on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger by interest or activities, you may need to adopt a brand awareness campaign over a conversion-goal campaign. For those who have already noticed the effects of the iOS 14.5 update on their advertising, it may mean having to readjust your entire social media strategy.

What to Do If Instagram’s New Under-18 Limitations Impact Your Results 

For businesses who market to under 18s, these new regulations may impact your results. This will mean learning how to best target your ads to reach the right people, which may be time you simply don’t have. It may even mean wasting money while you work out how to do so.

If you do find your results have been impacted by Instagram’s roll out of advertising limitations to under 18s, please get in touch. Even if you’d rather be safe than sorry and ensure you meet Instagram’s advertising guidelines, we’re here to help.

Contact Localsearch via our contact page, Facebook page or by calling 1300 360 867.

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