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If you’re using UGC in your paid social ad campaigns, you might have some questions about how to optimize the collaborations with the creators you work with. 

While creators and advertisers are—theoretically—on the same team, they have different goals. 

The beauty of this situation is that even with disparate goals, everyone can get what they want.

How? 

By creating some structure around their content and your ad campaigns. 

Luckily, there are a few tools available to you to do just that and that’s what we look at in this post. 

More specifically, you’ll learn about: 

  • The Instagram branded content tool and its limitations
  • Creator licensing and its benefits
  • Which tool is better

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is Boosting on Instagram?

What is Creator Licensing (Whitelisting)?

Whitelisting vs. Boosting: Which is Better?

What is Boosting on Instagram?

Boosting on Instagram is turning an organic post a creator or influencer has created into an ad to reach more people.

In other words, you’re amplifying influencer content so it reaches a broader audience.

Essentially, you’re not creating a new ad set from Facebook Ads Manager and that’s how they differ from sponsored posts.

Here’s what a boosted Instagram post looks like:

screenshot of a whitelisted ad on Instagram

Creators with verified pages get to tag the brand they’re working on within the post as seen in the screenshot above.

To boost a post on Instagram, the content you choose needs to have a strong organic reach. 

That way, you can be certain that it’ll perform even better when you boost it to a larger audience.

Are there benefits to boosting on Instagram?

Certainly!

To begin with, you get to leverage engagements from the existing post to increase brand awareness and loyalty in an authentic way.

How about drawbacks?

Let’s look at some limitations below. 

4 Limitations of boosting using the branded content tool

The thing about using the branded content tool is that it limits how marketers can optimize influencer content in a few key ways: 

1. Campaign objective choices 

If you’re familiar with Facebook Ad Campaign objectives, you know you can optimize an ad for conversions, video views, clicks, and several other choices. 

With Instagram branded content ads, you’ll be limited to just “boosting” the post.

That means only optimizing for engagement (reactions, comments, and shares). 

2. Audience targeting  

When you run paid promotions through the branded content tool, the ad will be limited to your current audiences and what you can create through Facebook’s interest-based audiences. 

What does that mean?

Basically, you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the creator’s audiences or create lookalike audiences. 

3. Ad creative and editing

Ads run through this method will remain just as they are. 

In other words, you’ll be unable to add CTA buttons, headlines, or captions after the creator has posted the content. 

If you want to edit the copy or create different copy variations for A/B testing, you’ll need to create an ad set from FB ads manager

What else?

Branded content ads only support the 1:1 ratio carousel format in the feed and some creative elements are not available for ads that run in Stories.

4. Posts must be approved by influencers and creators

With Branded Content ads, only posts influencers and creators have approved for you can be promoted

When you want to boost a creator’s post and you click the “Use Existing Post” button, you'll see a list of available branded content posts and Instagram stories there. 

These are the only posts you’re allowed to boost. 

This means that the influencer you partnered with needs to approve their posts in advance before you can turn them into an ad.

That’s like more work for both parties. 

If you’re thinking about how stressful boosting a post can be, we feel you. 

gif of man touching his chest proudly
Image Source: Tenor

Are there alternatives to boosting a creator’s post on Instagram?

Yes!

That’s what we’ll discuss in the next section. 

Let’s explore. 

What is Creator Licensing (Whitelisting)?

Creator licensing (previously called whitelisting) on Instagram is the process of an influencer giving limited account access to an advertising partner.

…and how do they grant access? 

Through the Facebook Business Manager!

Creator licensing allows marketers to get more results out of an influencer’s content when they run ads.

It’s an influencer marketing strategy where brands promote content created by an influencer from their account

If the creator and brand can come to a reasonable agreement, whitelisting is the preferred method of collaboration on Instagram for everyone involved. 

Getting started with creator licensing 

Getting started with creator licensing can be tricky.

How so? 

In theory, it can be easily done in Facebook Business Manager. 

But in reality, that’s not the case as many creators don’t even have access to Facebook Business Manager. 

They’d have to create one and connect all their assets (such as their Instagram account) to grant you access. 

It’s easier said than done as there are so many buttons to press and boxes to tick. 

You shouldn’t have to go through all that and we don’t want you to either.

At Insense,  we’ve got a simpler process that can help you bypass this part.

If you’d like to go through the Facebook Business Manager route, you might want to consider looking at bundled partnership requests. 

Once your access has been granted, you can now take advantage of all the benefits of influencer whitelisting.

5 Benefits of whitelisting for advertisers

Whitelisting allows you to get a lot more results out of your influencer content campaigns in a few key areas: 

1. Ad types 

As opposed to just boosting creators’ posts for engagement, you now have the full power of Facebook Ads Manager at your disposal. 

So, do you know what that means?

It means you can change the ad type from a single image to a video or a carousel including the campaign objective. 

Essentially, you get to use their content in a more sophisticated manner

2. Social proof  

There’s a HUGE difference between running an ad campaign with influencer content from your brand’s Instagram account vs. the creator’s account

What’s different?

Well, one has social proof and the other doesn’t.

When an ad originates from a creator’s account, you have built-in social proof because the message is coming from someone people trust or look up to. 

A good example is this ad from Swissline. 

a comparison of a normal Instagram ad vs a whitelisted one

You can see the engagement the post got when the brand posted it and what it was like coming from the creator’s account. 

Additionally, you can test and measure metrics such as cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS) to see whether or not you’re getting the kind of outcomes you want.

If you’re working with multiple influencers on the same campaign, this will help you identify the right influencer that’s bringing in more sales or engagements. 

3. Dark posts  

A “dark post” is content that comes from an influencer but never appears in their organic feed. 

Here’s the deal: 

So dark posts are ads designed for brands that want their posts to be very specific such as promoting a sale or new product to a target audience.

You know, something that the influencer wouldn’t normally post organically.

Additionally, because it will be supported 100% by ads, the brand has more control over who will see the content

Author’s Note: If you want to learn more about this type of ad, feel free to read about dark posts.

4. Audience targeting 

Another benefit of whitelisting is that you can go beyond the limited targeting options that boosting offers.

With creator licensing, you’ll be creating a new ad set on FB manager and that means you have access to more sophisticated targeting.

…and that’s not all.

You’ll also have access to the influencer’s audiences, depending on the level of access negotiated in the whitelisting process. 

5. Measurement  

By utilizing campaign objectives like Conversions or Catalog Sales, you can get actual ROAS data for your influencer marketing campaigns, as opposed to surface-level engagement metrics only. 

This makes a huge difference in your ability to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your ad campaigns. 

Are there any challenges I might face when getting started?

We’re glad you asked and we’ll look at three of them.

3 Whitelisting challenges marketers face

While there are several benefits to creating whitelisting ad campaigns, there are certain challenges that are associated with it.

It’s all well and good until it is time to request advertiser access to the influencer’s account for amplification. 

Here are some challenges that you should be aware of:

  1. The process can be complex: Getting the creator to assign permission to their brand partners is a complex process. 

It varies depending on if the influencer’s profile is already set to a business or creator account, if they have a business manager, or if they can approve permissions via Instagram or Facebook.

That’s where the situation becomes complicated as the brand has to explain to the influencer (through live meetings) how they can assign permissions without making mistakes. 

Going this route takes a lot of time and isn’t even a guarantee that the influencer will get the hang of it in one go.

You need a system that can automate the process so influencers can manage advertising permissions with ease.

This is why working with a creator marketing platform like Insense is perfect if you want to try different types of creator ads. 

If you're curious to know how the platform works, feel free to book a demo.

  1. It might create confusion: Another challenge is that the influencer might get confused when signing whitelisting contracts. 

The brand may not explain what their permission entails which will likely lead to confusion for the influencer.

Also, brands usually have access to legal representation meaning everything they write in the contract will be in legal terms.

That’s not the case for creators or influencers who may find it difficult to understand the contract.

  1. Creators may be hesitant: Influencers and creators you partner with may not always be willing to grant you access to their social media accounts. 

That’s due to the level of privacy involved—they may find it hard to manage as time goes on.   

How about we share some tips on how to get influencers to consider giving you advertising permission?

3 Tips for getting your influencers on board with whitelisting

If you’re going to leverage whitelisting for your campaign, you’ll need to have access to the assets of your content creators

This can be tricky like we said—from a technical and trust perspective. 

As such, we’ve listed some tips to help you get influencer partners on board. 

1. Explain the added exposure they’ll receive 

Your influencer’s audience can always use more followers, and your paid ad campaigns will expose their accounts to new audiences

Even if your campaign objective is set to conversions, any account running Instagram ads will likely increase its follower count as a side effect of the ad campaign. 

Let them know that there’s a chance they’ll be exposed to a wider audience through your ad campaigns. 

2. Stress the convenience of using Business Manager 

Most influencers would rather focus on the creative aspect of social media rather than the technical aspects of Facebook Pixels, A/B tests, and other details that media buyers need to pay attention to. 

Whitelisting via Business Manager allows ‘hands-off’ collaboration between brands and creators. 

Pro tip—Schedule a 30-minute screen share to walk through the whitelisting process with them so you only have to do it once and never have to worry about access again. 

3. Get them on board with your mission 

A big part of whitelisting is trust. 

Influencers are more likely to feel comfortable giving you access to their assets if they understand your vision and know what you’re trying to accomplish. 

It’s important to work with influencers who align with your brand values and vice versa.  

Whitelisting vs. Boosting: Which is Better?

It’s time—let’s show you which strategy is the boss!

In terms of which method you should use when collaborating with influencers, we feel the better option is creator licensing (whitelisting)

Creator licensing offers far more utility to marketers while also being way more convenient for content creators. 

It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved. 

If you want to dive deeper into creator licensing, don’t hesitate to check out our free eBook: Drive results with Influencer Whitelisting

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