Instagram recently announced the introduction of Branded Content Ads, allowing influencers to give brands controlled access to boost their content. Whereas before, influencers would have had to boost the post, themselves, after negotiating with brands or allowed brands access to their accounts, this new feature is a disintermediating step that will keep the entire process from content creation to boosting within the Facebook/Instagram ecosystem.
While brands are likely salivating at the opportunity, we predict the biggest barrier to adoption will come from influencers who are still hesitant to give brands access to their content. Influencers and content creators will also have to weigh authenticity against the opportunity to increase their reach and possibly even generate revenue, depending on how much leverage they have over brands wishing to boost their posts.
Influencers should also more carefully consider how they display products in their content if they wish to monetize it - for instance, a post with a product in the background is less likely to inspire a partner brand to want to turn it into a Branded Content Ad than one that features the product front and center. Again, it’s a question of authenticity, but it’s likely many influencers will begin to create content with a product-focused strategy that is more fit to be promoted by brands in this way.
Meanwhile, we expect to see increased CPMs for advertisers with increased demand for Branded Content ads and only so much real estate to deliver ad placements across feeds and stories.
Overall, the development appears to be a win-win-win: it simplifies the process for influencers to work with brands and get their content boosted, brands will be better able to distribute content they’ve already paid for and Instagram will capitalize on another source of revenue.
If there is a loser in the equation, it’s the Instagram end user, who, already dealing with the increasing saturation of sponsored posts and ads, is likely to see even more of the same flooding their feeds. Branded Content Ads appear to be another onramp for more advertisement to enter a freeway that’s already bumper-to-bumper with sponsored content.
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Daniel is Hawke Media's head of Media Buying, overseeing all paid media, from digital to traditional. He's a basketball junkie, food explorer, avid reader, aspiring sake connoisseur and loves to pontificate about life and the human psyche.