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Instagram’s Branded Content tool: A complete marketer’s guide

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Vamp’s ultimate guide for brands using Instagram’s new ad option that will supercharge your influencer marketing results.

 

Marketers are dedicating more money towards influencers every year. In fact, 57% have said they’re planning to increase their influencer-collaborations budget in 2020. This escalating trend isn’t just brands jumping on the band wagon – influencer marketing is proving to be successful. 80% of the marketers we surveyed said influencer-generated assets performed the same or better than brand-created assets, and 61% of 18 to 34 year olds have, at some point, been swayed in their decision-making by digital influencers.

Brands still want more. They want to know they’re reaching the right people, that their content is engaging and is earning them ROI. The problem is, that while the amount of brands investing in influencer marketing is increasing, only 18% of marketers say they are able to integrate their results into overall digital marketing ROI calculations.

This is why we believe more marketers should be paying attention to Instagram’s Branded Content tool – the platform’s latest offering to boost reach, improve targeting, aid measurement and enable frictionless social shopping.

The evolution of the Paid Partnership tag

 

In 2017, Instagram introduced the Paid Partnership tag to its platform. This was something influencers could add to the top of their Instagram post or Story, to let their followers know they were taking part in a paid collaboration with that brand. There were two aims here – to bring greater transparency to sponsored content and to improve consistency.

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Then last year, Instagram turned it up a notch. For brands and influencers that were using the Paid Partnership tag, they offered a new service, Branded Content ads. This allows you to turn influencer posts, tagged as a Paid Partnership, into ads. Brands can now easily amplify branded content beyond a creator’s organic following, straight from the creators who posted it. The best way to look at it is an influencer marketing add on, that will take your campaign results to the next level.

Branded Content ads look a little different to normal Instagram ads. Normal ads say ‘sponsored’ and looks as though it’s from the Brand. Whereas the Branded Content ad feels more native. Instead of the brand’s, you see the influencer’s handle and profile picture, so the user has that same ‘influencer marketing experience’ that a creator is sharing something with you. Of course it still says sponsored and there is the Paid Partnership tag in the caption, which lets the user know that this is in fact an ad they are being targeted with, so transparency remains intact.

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The benefits of Branded Content for your brand

 

Why would marketers invest in Branded Content? Firstly, there’s reach. If a brand invests in Branded Content they – understandably – want people to be able to experience it. Branded Content ads can scale a creator’s post to reach users beyond their following. While influencer marketing relies on organic reach, Branded Content extends beyond that and gets your brand into the feeds of people who don’t follow that particular influencer.

Then there’s targeting. As a brand, you’ll have a target audience in mind – their age, gender, and geography – and so it’s unlikely an influencer’s following will match that identically. This means content may only be reaching part of its intended audience, limiting the ability to achieve your goals. Branded Content ads can be targeted with precision, helping to reach more of the people that matter to you. With this option, brands are free to choose influencers who create the very best content, without being preoccupied by their reach.

Finally, thanks to shoppable tags, it enables a frictionless shopping experience. The rise of mobile and social commerce is changing the way people shop. If a user sees something they like, they want to tap and buy, without being redirected. Branded Content ads give brands the opportunity to seamlessly turn a browser into a buyer in a matter of clicks. The majority of influencers can’t make their posts shoppable just yet. But Branded Content ads take that same engaging, relatable content and make it entirely shoppable.

You may find the Branded Content process to be more manual than other, more established ad options. But there are things you can do to streamline the process:

Set a transparent brief

 

When briefing influencers, be sure to let them know you intend to use the Paid Partnership and Branded Content options, so they know what’s happening from the get go. This will ensure that crucial steps in the early days of the campaign go smoothly. For example, if you intend to boost Instagram Stories, they’ll need to be free from gifs and hashtags.

Learn from organic performance

 

If you’re running an influencer campaign first, use the influencer’s organic post performance to learn which pieces of content are the highest-performing and worthy of boosting. While it’s not a fool proof system – as different influencers will have different engagement rates – a high-performing piece of content could hint what will resonate better in the Branded Content phase.

Have a clear goal in mind

 

Branded Content is perfect for driving conversions, whether that’s boosting sales or app downloads. When setting out the objectives for your campaign, think business metrics over vanity metrics (like engagement), so you can measure its impact and ROAS effectively.

Streamline your Ads Manager

 

Upload your influencer list to your Facebook Ads Manager before they create content. That way, when the influencer tags you as their business partner, you won’t need to manually approve them.

Instagram views Branded Content ads as art meeting science – your influencers are the artists and the targeting mechanisms behind the tool is the scientist. Experiment this new Instagram feature during your next influencer marketing campaign and watch your results sky rocket.

 

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