On the 4th of June Instagram announced a brand new advertising format called “branded content ads”. These new ads allow advertisers to promote organic branded posts made by influencers, which is going to have huge implications on the influencer industry.
What are branded content ads
Allow us to translate the Silicon Valley buzzwords to English.
Simply put: Companies can now pay to promote posts by influencers that feature their products to targeted audiences.
Branded content posts are posts by influencers that feature or showcase a brand or product. In such a case, the content creator must tag the business that is paying them in order to maintain transparency about the nature of the post. Until the introduction of branded content ads, those kind of posts were entirely organic. Branded content ads will also be marked with a “Paid partnership with XXX” disclaimer to make it clear that a brand is paying for the distribution.
The new feature is Instagram’s answer to companies’ requests to integrate branded content posts into their advertising strategies. In other words, companies were asking for a way to help influencers reach new potential customers beyond their existing follower base.
By introducing the branded content ads, Instagram allows businesses to spread their stories through creators thus reaching new audiences while measuring the actual impact of their ads.
Branded content ads have been tested by fashion brands like “Old Navy” and will be available through Facebook’s Ads Manager in the coming weeks. They will work similarly to the “post engagement” objective you might already be familiar with. What makes this type of ad so ground-breaking is, that this feature is not meant for companies to promote their own posts but to give more visibility to influencers who advertise the company´s product or service. Integrating this format into the ecosystem allows brands to use the entire arsenal of targeting possibilities to show influencer posts to specific target audiences as well as measuring and optimizing these ads.
How to use branded content ads for advertisers
Advertisers are going to find a new option in their business settings called “Require Approvals”. This option allows them to approve partner accounts if the partner opted to “allows business partner to promote”. The company can now proceed to create organic branded Instagram ads and advertisers will see a new campaign objective in their Ads Manager called “Brand Awareness Objective (BAO)”. The rest of the set-up process is no different than a regular Instagram advertising campaign. On the ad-level, advertisers now only need to “Use existing post”, select the branded content posts they want to advertise and voilà.
Once the ad is up and running advertisers can use the regular reporting metrics of the Ads Manager to track and optimize performance.
How to give permission as Creators
Creators prepare their content just as they would normally but before publishing the content they need to select “advanced settings” and tag the business partner. Then, under the “Brand advertising” they must select “allow business partner to promote” and tap “Done”.
You can also give permission for partners to promote existing posts by editing the post and following the same steps as above.
Once these steps are completed, your business partner has the option to promote your post.
Please note that once your business partner starts promoting your post, you cannot edit or delete it until the promotion is over or deleted by the advertiser.
If you’d like more detailed information about how to set up branded content ads, you can find it here.
Influencer marketing is here to stay and Instagram is taking active measures to monetize it by making it more reliable and more attractive for companies. The release of this feature is a clear statement by Instagram about where the company is headed and how they see their platform in the future. Until now, the power of an influencer was determined by their reach and follower-base which is about to change significantly. The future will show if this was a visionary move or a Facebook-type mistake that is going to influence user experience for the worse. One way or another, the real winner is going to be Instagram who finally found a way to monetize influencers and benefit from the phenomenon they created.