If you’ve spent any time in the digital marketing world, you already know that paid media spending is on the rise. Predictions point to digital ad spending reaching a whopping $400 billion this year. Why? It’s all about the dollars – and putting money into your online advertising spend helps brands get their content in front of targeted audiences. That means that, unlike organic media, paid media allows brands to reach their target audience in the places they’re most likely to visit. And that targeting means more potential business earned from your ideal consumers.

Furthermore, social media platforms are providing marketers with new paid media solutions. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram continue to invest in their paid media solutions through new feature launches that enable marketers to “pay to play” and, in return, get in front of their target audience.  

Social platforms on the rise

Options like TikTok’s Spark Ads or Instagram allowing ad placements in Shops have provided marketers with greater flexibility. This has been made possible by social platforms allowing marketers to turn existing organic content into ads and reach people in places where they are most likely to take action.

Additionally, as savvy brands look to extend the value of influencer-generated content (IGC) and drive towards their business goals, they are increasingly leveraging IGC as ads and often seeing stronger results compared to using brand-created assets as ads.

There are a lot of paid media iterations out there, but for brands who work closely with creators, paid methods in the social media space are the most important. When considering paid media as a brand, here’s what you want to focus on: branded content, allow listing, and boosted content.

Working with Branded Content

Facebook and Instagram both have a Branded Content tool embedded into their platforms. It’s one of the most common ways for influencers to distribute their content through paid media, with special features for both creators and brands to efficiently manage their content. 

The Branded Content tool lets creators tag up to two brands on their original sponsored content, specifically on their posts, Stories, live streams, IGTV, and Reels. Creators can even get approval from brands to tag them in future content – and there is also the option to limit access to advertisers on specific posts. With Branded Content, creators retain power over their captions, as brands are not able to change them. 

How brands can make it work

Brands have more operational tools within the Branded Content tool. They’re able to view analytics on their creators’ sponsored posts, enabling them to evaluate performance on the content itself. They’re also on the other end of creator content, wearing the “approver” hat. 

From there, brands have the power to then promote user content according to their targeting strategy – though the content cannot be attributed to the brand’s social media handle. All sponsored content that they share must come from the creator’s social media handle. There are also formatting and targeting limitations of what brands can share, and what creators can post, depending on the platform. 

What is allow listing? 

Allow listing goes by many names. You may have heard terms like priority listing or advertising access; all of this essentially means the same thing: it’s the process of brands obtaining permission from creators to create and run paid ads on behalf of that influencer. Typically, this practice happens through Facebook Ads Manager. 

One term for this practice that we’ve retired from our nomenclature is “whitelisting,” which was previously used as a synonym to the aforementioned terms to describe a list of influencers considered to be acceptable or trustworthy. (By the way – you can read more about our inclusivity mission here). 

How brands can make it work

Brands have more control over paid media in the allow listing practice compared to Branded Content since they’re the ones advertising the content under an influencer’s name. For example, brands can include calls to action like “Learn More” or “Shop Now” — something that can’t happen with Branded Content. Their posts also won’t live in the influencer’s organic feed, thus separating paid media from organic media.

While allow listing is a helpful practice, it does require the paid media manager to have more experience with Facebook’s Business Manager tool. This is because the Business Manager handles permissions across teams and allows brands unfettered access to the creator’s likeness to create ads; some creators may be hesitant to allow this. There are also certain limitations, like the inability to target the influencer’s specific audiences. 

What is boosted content?

Boosted content is a basic way for brands to distribute their influencer’s sponsored posts to a broader audience. Unlike allow listing, the brand shares the ad directly from the influencer’s profile, which requires the brands to compensate the influencer for the promotion. Overall, this is considered an elementary form of paid media since the Branded Content Tools on Facebook and Instagram have better functionality. In addition, allow listing has a more robust reach and controllability, especially in regards to audience targeting. 

How brands can make it work

Boosted content famously has limited capabilities in terms of reporting and the ability to see the campaign as a whole. Ensuring the posts target the right audience is also practically impossible. While boosted content is a way to ease into the paid media game, there are better ways to get started – and investing in more robust tools can make all the difference for brands looking to expand their reach and the effectiveness of their influencer partnerships. 

Under the boosted content strategy, it’s best practice for brands to compensate influencers to further promote their post. There is also more power for the influencer to control the content as the primary creator. 

How we can help

Third-party platforms like Mavrck can help with creative asset export. This allows brands to export influencer content from our software and upload it as a creative asset in an ads manager campaign. This ad appears to come from the brand, not from the influencer, despite using the influencer’s photo/video asset as the creative. This allows brands to repurpose content but control the message, audience, and timing, long after the influencer has posted. For more about how Mavrck can help take your influencer marketing to the next level, contact us for a demo

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November 18, 2021: This resource has been edited since its original publish date to reflect the most accurate available information.