Branded content utilizes content as a way to promote or advertise for a brand. Branded content can represent a variety of marketing materials ranging from white papers, online YouTube videos, blog posts, and Instagram photos. Today, branded content is everywhere. The rise of social media and influencer marketing has made it impossible for brands to avoid branded content. Moreover, the recent FTC crackdown on branded content has revealed many related consumer issues such as transparency.
Increased attention to branded content has led brands and advertising platforms, especially social media websites, to be more cognizant of ethical consumer advertising practices, especially in influencer marketing. Specifically, brands and their partners need to include proper disclosure techniques. Facebook, in particular, has revamped its website and advertising tools for brands and their partners to give marketers a tool for their branded content.
Facebook defines branded content as content that features a third party product, brand, or sponsor typically posted by media companies, celebrities, or other influencers (Facebook). Further, Facebook will only allow verified Pages and Profiles to use the branded content tool. Branded content on Facebook spans across photos, videos, links, text, instant articles, 360 video, and live video.
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To use the branded content tool, a verified Page (business, company, or organization) or Profile, (an influencer or other public figure) can tag a product, brand, or sponsor within a post. The post will display a “with” tag in a Newsfeed, connecting a Page or Profile to a sponsor. Even more, Facebook’s tool allows marketers to view performance insights such as reach and engagement (Facebook).
Brands will be able to use this tool to safely and ethically post branded content with partners on Facebook in a standard format, while also avoiding possible FTC violations. Facebook’s disclosure policy on branded content also coincides with its expectations on what branded content should represent. Because branded content more promotional in nature is less engaging, Facebook prohibits overly promotional executions of branded content (including pre-roll advertisements within a video or banner ads within content) (Facebook). These stipulations combined with clear disclosure in Facebook’s branded content tool is meant to ensure that published branded content has integrity and is consumable.
For more information from Facebook on its branded content tool, policy, and updates, please reference the following:
The rapid growth of branded content coincides with the rise of influencer marketing over the past year. Influencer marketing has been found by brands to be extremely effective for several reasons. Not only do social media influencers provide brands with a viable audience, engagement, and reach, an influencer’s voice can often lend relevance and an authentic tone to branded content. Even more, brands can use an influencer’s existing story and identity to build its own identity.
However, in order to publish branded content by influencers, brands will need to abide by disclosure laws enforced by the FTC. Some fear that disclosing branded content compromises content authenticity by revealing its purpose as an advertisement. After all, an influencer’s innate opinion, is the reason why audiences look to them for advice. However, studies have found that disclosing ads after a headline will actually increase CTR on native mobile content (Econsultancy).
Accordingly, Facebook can be an ideal platform for brands to work with influencers on sponsored content. By providing a tool and format for brands to disclose partnerships, brands can leverage branded content without raising legal concern or discontent from audiences. Finally, Facebook can be a versatile platform for marketers looking to create branded content in a variety of different formats, whether videos, text posts, or livestreaming.
Branded content is being used on Facebook by a diverse range of brands. Brands are partnering with influencers spanning from individual social media stars, blog outlets, and media companies. Below are examples of Facebook’s verified Pages and Profiles that have used the branded content tool.
Austin Evans, a famous tech YouTuber, partnered with Toyota USA at the North American Auto Show in a photo post to show audiences that Toyota is present in the NASCAR world. As required, Evans used #ad to clarify his relationship with Toyota.
Mind Body Green, a lifestyle media brand, created branded content with Target to show that Target could be a destination for shoppers looking to live a clean, healthy lifestyle. The post contained the requisite hashtag #sponsored to notify audiences that the content was paid for by Target.
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The Zoe Report, an online fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog, worked with Welleco, a green supplement using the branded content tool and gave Welleco access to its thousands of followers.