Influencer marketing continues to become an increasingly important part of many brand’s marketing strategy. So brand’s need to ensure they are leveraging these content creators to drive maximum performance. You may have a strong influencer programme in place… but have you considered incorporating these creators into your paid strategy?
In this blog post I will discuss everything you need to know about including influencers in your advertising strategy via something called branded content ads.
What are branded content ads?
Branded content ads are essentially ‘paid partnership’ posts between a brand and instagram creator. These ads are leveraged to reach wider audiences outside of the brand’s and the creator’s following. They are ads that appear through the creator’s page, published by the creator. However they can be controlled and optimised through the brand’s ads manager.
Why use branded content ads?
These types of ads allow brands to drive their campaign messaging through the creator, rather than the brand themselves. This helps the ads to appear more at home within the feed of Instagram.
According to instagram ‘68% of people say they come to Instagram to interact with creators’. This is important to keep in mind as branded content ads can appeal to these audiences within the platform; this is because they appear more authentic and give brand messaging credibility (as they’re driven through a creator’s voice).
How do branded content ads perform?
One thing to bear in mind is that branded content ads do tend to be expensive – so if you can only afford to push £30 a day into them then I probably wouldn’t bother. I have found that these type of ads generally have much higher CPCs and CPMs than other ads. This might not seem very cost effective, but they do have a big effect on re-marketing performance.
It’s also important to remember the credibility that these ads can help to drive. They help to reach upper funnel consumers and drive awareness of your brand in a more authentic way.
Until recently these types of ads have only been able to be optimised towards upper funnel objectives, however they can now be optimised towards conversion too. This will be an interesting feature to monitor to see how cost-effective these type of ads could be to encourage bottom of the funnel consumers to convert.
How do I begin to set up branded content ads?
These ads obviously need to be agreed with content creators/influencers before you can run them. Many influencers may ask for payment for these type of ads, and in some cases you may be able to agree to this. However, if you don’t have the extra budget then it’s important to re-iterate how these ads can be mutually beneficial to the creator.
In my experience creators understand how this could be beneficial for them, and agree to post with no extra fee. Benefits you would want to highlight to the creator could include:
- Their content will reach wider audiences outside of their following, with the brand pushing spend behind the creator’s content
- Likely to benefit from increased engagement and an increase in followers
- Able to provide insights on how this content performed from an engagement perspective, allowing the creator to understand how their content appeals to wider audiences
If you can’t persuade a preferred creator to run these type of ads with you, it would definitely be worth looking into brand collabs manager – a platform launched to help connect brands with relevant creators.
For full instructions on how to set up branded content ads, you can find help here.
What if I can’t afford branded content ads?
Often smaller brands simply can’t afford to run these ads because they require a higher budget, and will find their budget is put to better use on their other campaign creative. So what can be done instead?
My recommendation here would be to utilise UGC (user-generated content) within your brand campaigns in ads manager. Often influencers will be happy for you to use their content within your ads as long as you give them credit. This is a great way to assist performance whilst continuing to appear more authentic and organic within the social feed!
Will you be testing branded content ads?
It’s always good to utilise and test various features that Ads Manager has to offer. So if you haven’t tried out branded content ads for yourself – then maybe you should give them a go! But like I mentioned, if you can’t drive higher budget into these type of ads, then the best thing to do is to utilise a good mix of UGC along with your brand assets.