Instagram began as an app where users could share photos of themselves and moments they wanted their friends to see.
However, it has since grown to become a platform for both regular users and business owners alike.
Instagram uses both photo and video content but generally focuses more on video, allowing users to become more creative using Reels.
In fact, IG Reels allows users to add special features as well as experiment with enhanced remix features and templates.
Plus, users can use the Branded Content tool on Reels.
For users who are able to leverage their creativity, that means more engagement, followers, and views.
On the other hand, that has opened up marketing opportunities for businesses as they can partner with such users to promote their products and services.
So, how can you leverage this opportunity as a business owner?
Well, this opportunity is referred to as branded content and that’s what we discuss in this guide.
More precisely, we will talk about:
- What branded content is
- Benefits of using it
- How to use it
Let’s get started!
What is Branded Content on Instagram?
Branded content typically refers to posts that are created as a result of paid sponsorships between the creator and a brand.
Branded content was first introduced on Facebook before being brought over to Instagram.
What does the whole concept mean?
Well, it goes like this:
- An influencer or creator shares a post promoting a product
- The creator goes on to tag the brand or company
- Brand awareness increases
- Followers purchase product from the brand
- Followers start following the creator/brand’s social media activities
It’s more or less the same as influencer marketing.
The post is usually accompanied by a “Paid Partnership with [Brand]” text displayed just below the influencer’s username.
In many ways, branded content is better suited for Instagram than it is to Facebook because of the fundamental differences in how each platform is used.
Plus, Instagram is better known by social media users as a platform that supports following and interacting with prominent creators and influencers.
According to a recent report, 68% of Instagram’s users say that engaging with their favorite creators is what brought them to Instagram.
Who Can Use Branded Content on Instagram?
A couple of names or titles have been mentioned in the previous section including creators, influencers, brands, etc.
Does that mean any of them can use the branded content tool on Instagram?
The short answer is no!
While this tool is beneficial to brands, creators, and influencers, only those who meet Instagram’s eligibility requirements can use it.
So, what are the requirements?
- Adherence to Instagram’s Community Guidelines: Some of the community guidelines include sharing content you have the right to share (content from a creator you’re partnered with) and fostering genuine interactions.
- Adherence to Instagram’s Content Monetization Policies: There are some prohibited content formats (static videos, static image polls, looping videos, and more) to be avoided when you go through their monetization policies.
- Adherence to Instagram’s Rules for Payments: They also have rules for making and receiving payments (owning payment credentials, being of legal age, etc.) that you need to comply with.
- Have an established presence: You need to have followers on Instagram to have access to the tools.
- Adhere to rules guiding governments and politicians: Officials and politicians are unable to use the monetization feature.
- Avoid consistent policy violations: Violating Instagram policies on a regular basis can result in being unable to use the branded content tools.
- Share only authentic information: Ensure you’re only putting out verified information.
- Monetize authentic engagement: You also need to avoid getting followers, views, and engagement illegally.
Instagram’s branded content policy
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, you also need to know that Instagram has policies regarding branded content.
There are certain products that are not eligible for promotion in branded content.
Some of them include illegal items or services and products related to:
- Unsafe supplements
- Guns and ammunitions
- The adult industry
- Payday loans
- State lotteries
- Multi-level marketing
How Does Branded Content Work on Instagram?
Well, the entire process of having branded content begins with the creator or influencer creating and sharing content.
As the content is being posted, the influencer or creator will have the option to tag a business or company’s Instagram account.
Now, no user is able to tag brands directly. Instead, the brand must approve the influencer or creator to tag them in the branded content.
When the brand grants the creator's approval, both parties become what Instagram calls “brand partners.”
As the brand or company in this partnership, you can take the branded content post a step further by adding shopping tags.
What are these tags and do you even need them?
They are tags for your products or services and, by adding them, the audience can easily purchase the products shown in the ad.
You can tag products from your catalog in your post.
Then by clicking on the tag, users can be redirected to the catalog page where they buy the product.
In most cases, followers can purchase the respective product without leaving Instagram.
Another alternative is to use branded content to run paid advertisements.
So instead of being restricted to just the influencer’s community, the content will be seen on the feeds of more users outside of both your and the influencer’s reach.
It’ll be an authentic paid ad considering the influencer’s name will still be at the top.
What are Instagram Branded Content Tools?
Instagram branded content tools are features that help with partnerships between brands and creators or influencers.
They help make collaborations seamless and transparent—especially the tagging feature creators can use to tag brands they’ve partnered with and that allows them to run promotions.
With the feature toggled on, people can see the paid partnership label on the post.
The label lets people know what brand or government institution is sponsoring the creator to endorse a product or service.
Are there any benefits to using branded content?
We’ll look at that in the next section.
Benefits of Using Branded Content on Instagram
Running ads for your product is very important if you want to increase sales and raise brand awareness.
It will be even better if your ads are considered authentic and engaging by your audience.
That’s where branded content comes in.
More specifically, branded content is a simple way to:
- Bring new people to a brand’s Instagram page
- Run cost-effective brand awareness campaigns
- Target more specific audiences
- Have more credibility with the audience
- Get higher rates of engagement
- Boost conversion rates
Let’s break that down a little bit.
Influencers are credible
The first—and, arguably, the most important reason to use branded content for your campaigns—is that most users respond better to branded content and interact with it regularly.
We’re not just saying that!
According to a recent Facebook for Business survey, 83% of respondents say that branded Instagram content helps them to discover new products and services.
Additionally, 80% of respondents said that branded content helps them to make their purchasing decisions.
As a result, over half of IG users make a purchase either immediately after or while interacting with branded content.
With content production being expensive, branded content allows you to cut costs as production is handled by influencers and creators.
Also, considering you can run these boosted posts as paid ads, you will not rely solely on organic traffic.
In other words, you can kill two birds with one (relatively cheap) stone.
Target specific audiences
Branded content on Instagram is also beneficial because it lets you tap into highly qualified audiences.
Influencers have already established credibility and trust with their followers.
So a creator that posts about skincare will already have an established audience who is interested in skincare products.
This audience would be more receptive to branded content than they would be to a regularly paid advertisement.
This allows brands to target specific interests people have, thus ensuring that the promotional content is relevant to the creator’s audience.
…and since the content is coming from a trusted figure, boosted content gets much higher rates of engagement and conversion.
How to Set Up and Use Instagram Branded Content
If you meet all the requirements set by Instagram, it’s time to set up the branded content tool and get started.
The first thing you want to do is…
Set up the branded content tool as a business or brand
- Apply for the Facebook brands collab manager: On your Facebook page, visit and apply to the Facebook brand collab manager. Your application and account will be reviewed to see if your page can be set up for collaborations.
This tool allows you to find creators or influencers, check insights, and create branded ads from posts you were tagged in.
- Locate the branded content tools in your app: To do this, go to your Instagram app, click on Menu→Settings→Business→Branded content→Approve content creators.
Let’s move on.
How to request approval for branded content
Businesses can make an approval prior to being tagged a requirement, giving both members of the partnership control over what kind of content they are attaching their name to.
Here’s how to do it if you’re a brand or a business:
- Proceed to Instagram settings of your account and then select business settings.
- Tap Branded content approvals. You can turn on the Require approval toggle which will result in you being automatically contacted each time your brand is tagged in a post. Additionally, you can select the creators you’d like to approve.
Setting up the branded content tool as a content creator
This is pretty direct if you’ve got an Instagram business account.
Open your Instagram app and go to Menu, click on Settings→Creator→Branded Content→Set up branded content tools→Enable.
How to create a branded content post on Instagram:
- Create a post as you would normally do.
- When you get to the final screen before posting, tap Advanced settings at the bottom and then tap Tag Business Partner.
- Search for the brand you’d like to tag and select it. If you are producing content in partnership with more than one brand, make sure you’ve selected the correct business account associated with the post.
- Here you can also toggle the “Allow business partner to promote” option if you’d like your business partner to promote your branded content post as an ad.
Tagging a brand in an existing post
Of course, it might be the case that you’ve already produced some content for your Instagram page that could get sponsored by a brand. Fortunately, you can tag a brand in it as well!
- Open the post in your app and tap the three dots button at the top right corner.
- Select “Edit” from the menu.
- Select “Add Partner” to tag your partner’s account in the post.
- Tap “Tag Business Partner”.
- Search and select the business you are partnering with.
Tagging a brand in a story
The branded content tagging is not limited to the posts on your feed—Instagram stories can be tagged too.
- Once you’ve taken a photo or a video that you’d like to post as a story, tap the link icon (the one that looks like two chain links attached) at the top right-hand section of the screen.
- Open the “More options” screen and tap “Tag Business Partner”.
- Search for the business you are partnering with and select it. This will display the “paid partnership with” tag for people viewing your story.
- The “More options” screen is also where you can toggle the “Allow business partner to promote” option so that the brand can start promoting your story.
How to Get Branded Content on Instagram
Things are looking good so far, right?
Let’s show you how to get branded content on Instagram.
But we just saw how to set it up.
Well, they look similar but are different concepts, and there are two ways to get it done.
Option #1: Using the Brand Collabs Manager (the hard way!)
The standard way to begin getting some boosted content for your business or brand also happens to be a bit more complicated and time-consuming.
Let’s not even take into account the time you’ll spend looking for, networking with, and collaborating with your actual influencer partners.
Here are the procedures:
- Head over to your Instagram account.
Open your “Settings” (by clicking the icon denoted by the three stacked horizontal lines on the upper right-hand side of the screen), then select “Business” followed by “Branded Content”.
Once you’re in the “Branded Content” menu, you’re free to turn approvals on or off.
We recommend turning approvals on so you can better monitor branded content in which you’ve been tagged.
You’ll also be able to select which specific users are authorized to tag your business or brand.
This is where you get to authorize a creator or influencer to tag your Instagram business account.
- Next, you need to head to the Brand Collabs Manager, which you’ll use to manage your brand partnerships on both Facebook and Instagram.
By default, you’ll see an option to “Apply as Creator” if it’s your first time visiting the Brand Collabs Manager page.
Select the option to “Join as an Advertiser,” which can usually be found toward the upper-right-hand corner of the page.
Complete the sign-up process where you will also be asked to connect a Facebook account.
- Then when you’ve finished, navigate to “Settings”→“Branded Content”.
In addition to receiving notifications for brand tags on Instagram, you’ll be able to manage your branded content ads here as well as access some limited insights.
Option #2: Using a Creator Marketplace
If the various steps and platform-swapping outlined in the first option are daunting, then we’ve got another option.
By using a creator marketplace such as Insense, you’ll be able to get branded content directly from one single, easy-to-use platform.
In fact, you can even use the platform to find influencers and creators to work with.
Insense is, first and foremost, a content creation platform.
You’ll be able to find and collaborate with talented and experienced creators who can create custom branded content for your marketing campaign.
From there, you can have the creator share the content with their audience and even run the influencer’s branded content as a paid ad.
You’ll also have full access to all the relevant insights and metrics for the branded content.
This means you would not be relying on the influencer or creator for access to performance and engagement data.
How to Use Branded Content for E-commerce Instagram Ad Campaigns
We’ve mentioned that branded content can be a regular organic post or a sponsored post.
In this section, we will walk you through how you can use this type of content to run ad campaigns.
- Content creators must toggle on the option to “allow business partner to promote” in the advanced setting of an Instagram post. This will allow brands to promote the content as paid ads. Once that’s done, head over to “Ads Manager” and click “Create”.
- Choose one of the available objectives for your ad: Brand Awareness, Video Views, Reach, Conversions, Traffic, or Engagement.
- At the Placements step you can decide whether you would like to promote organic content as an ad in your Instagram feed, Stories, or Explore.
- At the ad level, you will find your branded content in the “Use existing post” section. Select the “Use existing post” section, then click on “Select post/Change post” in the “Creative” section.
- You can find the list of the branded content posts that a creator has given you the approval to promote under the “Branded content” tab. Now, you can pick the branded content that you want to start promoting.
- Preview your ad to make sure that you are satisfied with the result and click “Confirm”.
How to Remove Branded Content from Instagram Posts
Let’s say you’re having doubts about people seeing the branded content tag in your post, what can you do especially if you’ve posted it?
Well, you can remove it, and here’s how to do that:
- Open your Instagram app
- Go to your “Activity” page
- Click on “Branded Content”
- Choose the post(s) you want to remove the branded content from
- Click on the three dots (top right corner)
- Click on “Remove Tag”
It’s time to wrap this up!
Now Over to You
And we are done!
That was intense and interesting, we hope!
We know you can’t wait to start using branded content as part of your marketing strategy.
You’re always welcome to go through this piece anytime you want till you get the results you want.
To make your job much easier, feel free to book a demo with Insense so we can set you up with creator(s) who can create branded content for your campaign.
Thanks and see you guys soon! 🥳🥳