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  • Robyn Murray

How to use Instagram's Branded Content tool

Guide to using Instagram Branded Content ads

We recently wrote about influencer marketing and how bloggers and brands work together on blog content. Now, let's take that a step further and chat about how bloggers and brands work together on Instagram as Instagram rolls out an expansion on their branded content tool.

Instagram is a major platform for both creators and brands with a total of 1.1 billion people using the app each month. Instagram provides a platform for both creators and brands to be inspired, tap into their audiences and build community. By working together on Instagram, brands and creators are both able to benefit from the relationship by reaching a new audience, building trust and solidifying their status.

With so many partnerships and collaboration taking place on the app Instagram have created a Branded Content tool to make it easier for viewers to know when content by creators are in partnership with a brand. This tool allows creators to tag the brand they are collaborating within a bar above the photograph which states “Paid partnership with [brand partner]” or below their name in Instagram stories (Pictured below).

SongofStyle using instagram's Branded Content tool

Alongside this feature the tool now allows both the creator and the brand to view the insights for the post. This is beneficial as it allows the creator to view how their post has been viewed and whether their followers have enjoyed the style of content. For brands it provides an extra layer to the partnership wherein they can view how successful the creator has been in promoting the brand and the brand’s products. This information will be available for Instagram stories for a total of 14-days and will provide the following metrics: reach, taps, forward, taps backwards, replies and exits. With many brands becoming more aware of influencer marketing fraud and fake likes, this extra transparency will be key.

When a business is tagged in a post as a partner by a creator, they are notified by Facebook notification, Instagram notification and if it is on an Instagram story they will be notified by direct message. However, the tool gives businesses an option to approve the creators they wish to work with.

Upon launch the default setting for Partner Approval will be switched off, so creators will be able to easily tag the businesses they are partnering with. They can turn this on and off at any time throughout campaigns. These businesses must have business accounts for this to work, however, as only business accounts show up when creators search for business to tag in their partnership. The businesses also have the availability to opt out of campaigns once they are live and remove the tag.

To turn on approvals, head to settings, then business, and branded content approvals. Toggle to 'on' to manually approve partners.

How to use the Branded Content tool as an influencer

As a creator you can use this feature by going into advanced settings when uploading a post to Instagram, clicking on “tag business partner” and searching for the Instagram account of the brand you are collaborating with. To use the feature on Instagram stories you click to add a link and use the option to tag a business partner and again, search for the Instagram account of the brand you are collaborating with. This feature is being rolled out, so not everyone has it yet: don't worry if you can't see it.

As a brand this feature is permanently switched on, however you can go into business settings and switch “require approval” on. This then allows you to choose the accounts you give approval to tag you as a partner in content. To do this you go into your business settings and click on the accounts you’d like to give permission. Once all accounts are approved your “approval tray” then appears as empty.

To view the insights of these posts the creator can see this on the Instagram app, however for businesses the insights are available on Facebook. By clicking on the insights tab when on the brand’s linked Facebook account and going into “branded content”. All the information is then provided including the owner, published date, type of content, reach, engagement and whether the creator promoted this post.

Instagram branded content insights

This can also be accessed through business manager by clicking on the menu in the top left corner and going into “branded content” which features in the “measure & report” section of the drop-down menu.

This feature works perfectly in creating transparency and trust within the influencer marketing territory. By making this tool available to influencers and creators of all levels it works well in promoting the impact of influencer marketing while also providing security for those working with brands by conforming to the ASA rules at all times. We wonder if after a successful run it will become available on other social media platforms...

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