Tag: branded content

How Instagram is Expanding its Branded Content Offerings

Instagram recently unveiled a new redesign of its main home screen on the app in an effort to combat the rise of TikTok. Specifically, the Reels icon is now front and center in the app and directs users to a dedicated page of curated content organized by people they follow and your previous engagement patterns and interests.

Now, the platform is taking additional steps to ensure creators have access to more lucrative brand partnership and revenue options through additional branded content capabilities across Reels, Live, Stories and in posts including product tags.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest:

Integrating the branded content tag in Reels and Live

In an effort to make creation and amplification easier for influencers and brands alike, Instagram is introducing branded content tags to its TikTok-like product, Reels and unveiled plans to test these disclaimers within its Live video product as well in coming weeks. Ultimately, this will allow creators to generate revenue more quickly from their short-form and live video content.

“Branded content is a powerful tool for creators and businesses, and these updates will help them get more out of the content they’re creating together,” Instagram COO Justin Osofsky shared in a statement. “This will continue to be an area of focus for us as we build out a suite of monetization tools that support creators’ various needs and ambitions.”

As social platforms continue to offer creators new tools and platforms in which they can drive direct, measurable sales — the line between affiliate and creator is more blurred than ever. Needs and ambitions continue to shift as a result of the pandemic demanding platform-specific content versus retrofitting one set of assets across all channels.

New workflow and age restrictions

Previously, Branded Content ads were created by promoting already existing posts produced by creators. In a revised workflow, however, Instagram is placing emphasis on co-collaboration by allowing advertisers to post Branded Content ads without the need for creators to post organically on Instagram first. On the surface, this allows for greater efficiency and flexibility while still giving creators the control to approve or pause any ads published from their handle.

The process follows a simple three-step approach:

  • The advertiser sends a request for ad creation access.
  • The creator accepts ad creation access, with a notification sent to the advertiser upon acceptance
  • The creator receives a notification of the created ad for their approval

Finally, businesses and creators can set a minimum age for branded content feed posts. Specifically, they can choose to set a default minimum age or a minimum age for specific countries, or a combination of both options, per the official announcement.

Promoting branded content in Stories and with product tags

Brands will now also be able to promote branded content posts with product tags. Prior to today, branded posts from creators that included product tags were not able to be promoted via Branded Content Ads making it harder for them to reach target audiences.

“More and more, people are shopping directly from the creators they love on Instagram – this new ad format is another way brands can provide a seamless shopping experience on Instagram. This new format will begin testing in the coming months,” the platform shared.

What does this ultimately mean? Brands have a more streamlined ecosystem in which they can get more value out of the content that makes it easy for people to shop directly from creators that inspire them. Within Stories for instance, Branded Content ads can include tappable elements, such as @mentions, location and hashtags in an attempt to give brands wider access to organic Stories’ creative that is “native and authentic to the Stories experience.”

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How NYT’s Marketing Unit Achieves Journalistic Storytelling

As a publication that has lived for over 160 years and won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, The New York Times stands proudly today not only for its legacy, but its innovation.

Evolving from its earliest days in print to today as a thriving media giant branching across all digital platforms, the Times’ storytelling offers some industry top practices to learn from.

Looking at NYT’s business model, the elephant in the room is how it profits as ads transition from being in the paper to being online. As paper circulation continues to decline, it has become important that legacy publications come up with innovative ideas to keep clients interested in coming back.

In 2014, the Times launched T Brand Studio, the brand marketing unit, which creates and posts paid native ad content. Since its founding days, it has been named the Best Publishing Platform by Digiday and the Hottest in Native Advertising by Adweek.

So what’s magical about T Brand Studio and how has it helped the Times? Sebastian Tomich, Global Head of Advertising and Marketing Solutions at the Times, who helped found and run T Brand Studio, says the unit’s secret lies in “making something worth paying for.”

Sebastian shared how his team incorporated journalistic storytelling approach into advertising decisions at OnBrand’s 2017 conference. “Clients don’t want ads to look like ads, so we have to turn ads into something that they will actually enjoy,” he said at the conference.

“You have to become a creative business. It’s about coming up with an idea and becoming a creative engine. But no matter the medium, we want to be true to ourselves,” Sebastian said.

And by being true to oneself, the Times is staying true to using journalistic practices.

Take some of T Brand Studio’s recent work as an example. In a collaboration with Spotify, the studio did a fact-checking of 2017’s most popular songs. In an article, “How Accurate Are 2017’s Hit Songs?” they go through some of the lines from hit songs, like Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, and did a serious fact-check, quoting academic studies to judge how accurate the lyrics are.

In another example, the studio collaborated with Hennessy for a feature of a Miami chef, through an interactive website presentation filled with delicate photos of photos and the restaurant. At the end of the article is a call-to-action button redirecting readers to Hennessy’s website.

Time’s T Brand Studio has many more incredible ad samples that combine quality storytelling with clients’ customized desire to sell ads. And as a legacy newspaper, its willingness to try on new platforms and formats while staying true to the core of the paper has helped the Times stay relevant in turbulent times.

That’s why we are excited to welcome Sebastian to speak at our Social Media Week New York conference, which takes place at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel from April 30 to May 2. He will be joining our incredible lineup of speakers across all industries, sharing views and insights with case studies and enriching experiences tied to our 2019 global theme, “STORIES” — with great influence comes great responsibilities.

If you don’t want to miss what Sebastian has to share about advertising, secure your place at SMW New York before our 25% offer ends this Friday.

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Here’s Why a Data-Driven Approach is the Key to Creating Content

At Social Media Week Los Angeles 2018, Yuval Rechter, Head of Digital at First Media (Blossom, So Yummy and Blusher) discussed the trials and tribulations of creating branded content that feels authentic through case studies, algorithm changes, and how to gain ‘super fans’ that drive viral video success.

In this clip, Yuval talks about why it’s important to pay attention to your audience demographics and what actions your audience take when you post content.

Read the full recap and sign up for SMW Insider to watch the full session.

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American Express Is Making Smart Branded Content Millennials Will Love

American Express is joining the custom branded content game, and their foray into the space looks promising.

Rather than “shouting” at the mass market as they have since time immemorial, AmEx is launching smaller, focused campaigns with the help of young, millennial-focused platforms Buzzfeed, Vox, and Bustle, according to Digiday.

Seeking to have a meaningful impact with each concept, the credit card company is helping produce branded partnerships that provide real value to the millennial customers they want to reach to promote their “Pay It Plan It” feature.

We’ve taken notice of the rise of smart, engaging branded content of late, such as the branded podcasts that function as advertisements that people actually want to hear. AmEx clearly sees the trend of needing to create content that benefits the reader, viewer, listener, etc., and wants to deliver that content to places they know millennials will be going.

AmEx is teaming up with Buzzfeed in two areas: First, they’ll be the exclusive launch partner of the new Buzzfeed Reviews. They’ll also be the first sponsor of Buzzfeed Tasty’s “Friend in Town” show, the platform’s stab at the kind of tourism-and-food-and-experiences show in the vein of “No Reservations” and other travelogue shows.

With Vox, AmEx will sponsor The Goods by Vox, which includes 12 editorial videos and a newsletter, as well as Explainer videos (a format Vox has become famous for) about wise spending. They’ll also sponsor Eater’s Kitchen Gadget Test Show, with an emphasis on seeing which devices are worth the price.

For Bustle, AmEx will have custom illustrated articles with advice on making sound financial decisions, to be coupled with digital banner ads.

What are the main takeaways here?

Easy integration is key

The “four main passion areas” of AmEx card members are reportedly travel, entertainment, home, and tech. The content discussed above, which focuses on almost these exact spaces, are clear and obvious integrations for the brand and the product, which will help it from feeling forced or awkward.

This content could live without AmEx

If the AmEx logo and mentions of the brand were removed from almost all of these forms of content, they would still be useful and interesting to consumers. That’s by design: The videos, articles, and newsletters are just as informative and entertaining as non-branded content, but with a little extra emphasis on a specific tool (in this case, Pay It Plan It) to help things along.

This is just the beginning

According to Terryn Lance of AmEx, who spoke to Digiday, custom content will be the focus for AmEx going forward. Brands are getting smarter about where and how to meet the customers they’re trying to reach—so expect more of your content to feature brands cozied up to editorial in increasingly inventive ways.

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