Get ready for more ads in your Facebook feed. The social network has updated its branded content policy and ads policy that aims to make the ads look less promotional.
Facebook added new tools to make it easier for a business page or verified page to share branded content. Before the changes, Facebook did not allow brands or companies to share branded content with their user base. Branded content can be a news story or video that looks normal but is in fact paid advertising.
For example, Buzzfeed could be paid by a movie company to write a list type of story that relates to their new movie. Consumers would now know through the icon that the film company paid for that story. Buzzfeed would not run afoul of Facebook’s policy regarding sponsored content. A publisher can see a handshake icon to click on when tagging the advertiser. People on Facebook will see the branded content as tagged “with” the advertiser.
This will make it easier for brands and retailers to reach the Facebook audience without using a traditional ad. For instance, Steve Madden can now pay someone to write the “The 5 Best Shoes for Spring” and use only Madden shoes. The icon will show that the list has been paid for.
The announcement came in a post by Clare Rubin, product manager,and Nick Grudin, vice president of partnerships. It also stated, “People have told us that branded content that is more promotional in nature is less engaging. Based on this feedback, our policy guidelines prohibit overly promotional executions, such as persistent watermarks, pre-roll advertisements and banner ads in branded content posts.”
There is an additional tool that helps brands better track the success of the sponsored post. For example, a celebrity and an influencer may be paid to promote a shoe and could post about the product. The tracking tool helps the company identify which post is doing best with the consumer. Maybe the influencer has more reach than the celebrity.
Facebook did not make any reference to the Federal Trade Commission with regard to its new policy. The FTC has been getting tough on content that isn’t clearly labeled as sponsored.
Last year, department store Lord & Taylor ran into trouble for running an Instagram campaign in which it paid influencers to post pictures of themselves in certain outfits. It wasn’t made clear that the fashionistas were paid to post the pictures and it looked as if they were acting on their own. Lord & Taylor settled with the FTC over the incident.