Branded content should be top of mind for social media professionals right now. With influencer marketing spend expected to rise to $15 billion by 2022—an increase of +87.5% compared to 2019—marketers have more options than ever for influencer collaborations. In the last year, branded content ads have become a seamless solution for paid in-feed and story campaigns. Build trust with your audience and convert more consumers by capitalizing on the power of influencer creative. Marketers can not only leverage an influencer’s expertise in social-first content creation, but their credibility with audiences as well. Let’s walk through how to do it.
Branded content is a type of social media partnership where a creator or publisher produces an Instagram or Facebook post and shares it to their profile in exchange for products or payment from a business. The business typically sends guidelines to the partner for what to include in the creative, but they’re ultimately responsible for the final product. A branded content ad is when creators give businesses permission to promote these posts, putting further spend behind it to reach an even larger audience. Creators can also publish branded content ads, and the duplicate content won’t be visible on their profiles.
Branded content ads can be created in Facebook Ads Manager, or through your Instagram business account settings. First, give the creator permission to tag your brand in their branded content. Go to your settings page and select “Business”, then “Branded Content”. Toggle the “Require Approvals” button on if it isn’t already (this will be toggled on by default). Select “Approved Accounts,” then search and select the handle of your partner to grant them permission to tag your brand. This also allows partners to promote these posts as ads.
On the flipside, creators can select “Allow Business Partner to Promote” when they share a piece of organic content and tag your profile. Static, video, carousel posts, and Stories can all be promoted as branded content ads. After your ad goes live, you can access all the ad reporting metrics you need in Ads Manager. For organic Instagram branded content, insights can be viewed in Brand Collabs Manager (accessed from Facebook Pages Settings).
Though posting branded content is a quick and easy social advertising solution for brands and creators, both parties must comply with Facebook’s branded content policies. First and foremost, when there’s an exchange of value between a creator or publisher and a business, those businesses must be tagged in the post that creator or publisher shares. It’s important to keep audiences aware that they’re seeing sponsored content.
There are also strict rules about pre, mid, and post-roll ads in video and audio content, as well as banner ads, title cards, and length of cards. You can read more about those on Facebook’s branded content policy page. In essence, make sure you and your partners comply with any laws and regulations, and provide all necessary disclosures to your audience when you use Facebook and Instagram for commercial content.
Partnerships are already crucial for social media marketing, especially taking into account that 65% of consumers follow their favorite influencers on Instagram. Branded content ads take partnerships a step further, giving brands the benefit of relevant reach that extends beyond the creator’s followers.
According to Vickie Segar founder of influencer-marketing firm Village, influencer partnerships are an excellent way for brands to strike the right tone in a time when content is constantly scrutinized: "Brands are being very sensitive not to be tone-deaf at this time. When you're working with influencers, they take every product and they put it into context." In other words, it’s a means to advertise without your audience feeling advertised to.
Creators also have strong incentive to participate in branded content collaborations. This type of partnership gives them control over what they post organically and how they monetize it, while also enjoying the increased engagement that comes with ad activity. They have sole access to the organic data while allowing brands to share the post and get paid insights without duplicating the content. It’s a win-win.