Instagram is rolling out branded content ads to all advertisers, making it possible for brands to create ads using organic posts from the influencers they have relationships with. The company said the branded content ads will be available to all advertisers over the coming weeks, and branded content ads for Stories will roll out over the coming months.
Before brands can use influencer posts as ads, the content creator must grant their business partners (the brands they have relationships with) access to promote their posts. Once the creator — or influencer — has done this via their Advanced Settings page, brands will see the influencer’s posts in the Ads Manager under “Existing Posts” and can run the content as an ad within the Instagram newsfeed or Stories format.
Why we should care
Influencer marketing is growing exponentially. A recent report from Socialbakers revealed Instagram influencers are posting 150% more sponsored content since last year. Meanwhile, an Ipsos study commissioned by Facebook found that 68% of daily Instagram users reported they use the app to interact with creators.
As more creators deliver branded content and more users flock to see what their favorite influencers are sharing, it’s only natural for brands to get in on the buzz. Making it easy for advertisers to create ads from influencer posts saves the time and creative efforts on the advertiser’s part — and, obviously, helps Instagram’s bottom line as brands will have more ad options available with influencers doing the heavy lifting of pulling together creative for an ad.
“Promoting content directly from an influencer’s handle inherently gives the post more authenticity than coming from a brand handle,” said Old Navy’s VP of brand communications Liat Weingarten, “We’re seeing significantly higher engagement rates using this strategy.”
When a brand elects to use an influencer post as an ad, the post will include “Paid partnership” language that lists the brand’s name on the post.
Instagram first confirmed it was testing branded content ads in March, but had only made the ad format available to select advertisers at the time.
Eight-nine percent of marketers reported influencer marketing ROI is comparable or better than other marketing channels, according to a MediaKix’s 2019 Influencer Marketing survey. Two-thirds of the marketer surveyed said they were increasing their influencer marketing budgets this year.
Recently, Instagram has tested removing “Like” counts from posts — a move influencer marketing agencies say will result in more high-quality content from influencers.