Instagram’s New Branded Content Expansion
Brands and creators may have noticed that Instagram’s Branded Content feature has been rolled out to a wider range of businesses and creators. While the feature is not a new one, Facebook’s dedication to authenticity and transparency has caused the parent company to more heavily enforce its paid partnership policy.
What Is Instagram Branded Content?
The Branded Content tool clearly indicates when there is a relationship between the creator and business they are promoting. These relationships include an exchange of value, most commonly when the creator is paid by the brand to promote their product or service. With this feature, posts and Stories that are tagged as branded content will have “Paid partnerships with [business partner]” in the header.
Business partners will have access to a “Branded Content” tab in their Facebook Insights which will allow them to see organic insights from these posts. For Stories, insights including reach, taps forward and backwards, replies and exits, will last for 14 days. For posts, insights will last indefinitely.
You can view the full policy here.
In the coming weeks, Instagram has shared that they will begin enforcing branded content that is not properly tagged. Insights from Instagram’s alpha test from the initial roll-out of Branded Content found that users value transparency.
In order to comply with the policy, when a creator endorses or advertises a business they have a relationship with on a platform, they should use the Branded Content tool to tag the featured third party product, brand, or business partner in addition to their FTC complaint disclosures. For a step-by-step guide to tagging a brand, viewing insights, and more, check out Instagram’s help center.
Please note that, branded content that promotes goods such as tobacco, weapons, or vaping will not be allowed. And Instagram has hinted that there will be “special restrictions” put in place for alcohol and diet promotions. We suspect additions to this policy will be announced in early 2020.
Benefits of Branded Content
Access to Insights
Because Instagram has begun hiding likes, access to insights will be even more crucial for businesses. Brand partnerships are typically based on engagements, so removing likes may require brands to place more importance on other metrics, such as comment sentiment, quality of content, or number of saves.
However, by encouraging creators to tag sponsored content with the Branded Content tool, you will guarantee that you continue to have access to performance metrics of all of your campaign posts despities Instagram’s changes on the front end.
While tagging post as Branded Content does not replace FTC disclosures, it gives users another clear indication that there is a preexisting relationship between a creator and the business they are promoting – creating trust between all parties. Many brands and influencers may avoid disclosing sponsored posts in fear of coming off as inauthentic and losing engagement with their audience. However, there is no correlation between identifying sponsored posts and a decrease in engagement. In fact, disclosed posts actually improve engagement.
An addition to the Branded Content feature called Partner Approvals gives businesses the option to approve their creator partners in advance before they are tagged in a post. This gives brand more control of the campaigns and relationships with creators.