Facebook is a marketer’s favourite! More than 2.2 billion people are using Facebook and about 96% of social media marketers all over the world believe that Facebook’s ROI is the best. The platform is not just a way to connect with friends or colleagues, it’s a great way to be able to sell your products or create brand awareness. Sponsored content is another fresh and effective way to reach your target audience on Facebook. Let’s first understand what exactly is Facebook sponsored content.
What is Facebook Sponsored Content?
There’s a subtle difference in the three terms in content marketing circles – branded content, native advertising, and sponsored content. I saw myself getting a bit confused between the terms and so I thought it’s better to explain so that marketers can have a better understanding of Facebook sponsored content.
Let’s first see what’s branded content. Branded content is miles away from traditional advertising and can consist of anything from an article, a video, podcast, graphics, or anything that adds value to the customer’s experience and helps establish a connection with the brand.
It is designed to evoke the audience’s emotion thus luring them towards the brand instead of the brand pushing their product. In fact, branded content is packaged in such a way that it does not even talk about “making a sale” in any way. Usually, branded content aims to educate or entertain or engage with the customer on a completely different level.
Branded content usually tries to create conversations around a brand. The focus is on adding value to the customer’s journey and not on the product. It often integrates storytelling to educate or entertain.
On the other hand, native advertising is a form of paid media that mirrors the look, feel and format of the platform on which the ad runs. Native ads don’t look like ads. They are subtly slipped into the user experience camouflaging the website’s content. The crux here is to be non-disruptive. The advertising content does not hurt.
When the two blend together, it gives rise to sponsored content. Contently has explained this quite crisply with this illustration.
When a brand takes the help of another publisher or influencer to publish their content on their platform, a sponsored content is born.
“While branded content and native advertising may be single-handedly managed by the brand itself, sponsored content always happens when a collaboration takes place between a brand and another publisher to distribute content that exactly mirrors that of the publisher’s platform.”
Here’s an example of Facebook sponsored content.
The post will appear on the news feed of all followers of StyleNow Feed with the brand’s page tagged.
How does Facebook sponsored content work?
Sponsored content comes with the ‘paid partnership’ tag and is organic in nature. If you have a Facebook page and wish to publish sponsored content on your page, you won’t be able to do that directly. You have to fill out the ‘Request Access to the Branded Content Tool’ form. Facebook will review your application and take some time to approve it. Once you get the approval, you can start posting sponsored content.
Say suppose, you’re the publisher and have partnered with a brand to publish their content. You need to follow a series of simple steps. First, create a normal post after going to your page. Notice that a handshake icon appears at the bottom of the post editor.
Type in the page name of the brand you’re partnering with and select it. You’ll get a new popup. You’ll be able to make a choice whether to allow your brand partner’s ability to boost this organic post or not. These posts can range from photos, videos, articles, 360 videos, live videos, canvas, carousel and more.
The brand partner you have tagged needs to approve your post first. Once that is done, you’ll be added to the approved “branded content publisher” list and your posts will not need any approval in the future.
Always remember that if you have been paid by your brand partner for the campaign, you must use the Branded Content Tool. There are rules you need to follow for your sponsored content. However, the fundamental rule is that if an exchange of value takes place in terms of payment or a free product being given to the influencer by the brand, they must be tagged. It’s solely the influencer’s responsibility to do that if they are publishing it as a Facebook sponsored content on their page. They also need to declare that it’s a ‘paid partnership’.
Also, you cannot tag random brands under the Branded Content Tool. A pre-existing agreement with the brand is a must.
The trend of sponsored content or branded content has taken off to reach great heights in the recent past. Facebook sponsored content is just one aspect of this phenomenal rage called Branded Content. It’s not just Facebook, but other big platforms like Instagram and YouTube has also started taking this seriously now. So, are you gearing up to create your own sponsored content campaign?
Niharika Datta is a Content Writer at Vidooly. She started her career as a Human Resource professional but is now pursuing her love for writing. Though she writes about a myriad of ideas, her personal favourite is writing about the latest trends in the content and digital marketing world. An ambivert by nature, she likes to grab a snack with a warm cup of coffee in the company of a good book or a close friend.