Instagram Branded Content Tool: Let Brands Boost Your Posts

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Feb 16, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

It often seems like the world of influencer marketing sees brand-new innovations every day. Years back, content creators gave a mere “shout-out” to their favorite brands on social media. After a while, paid partnerships and sponsored posts became a huge deal for reaching a brand’s target audience. And today, the Instagram-branded content tool is taking the influencer marketing world by storm.

But what is this tool, and how can it help content creators and their business partners? What differentiates it from brand collaborations and the everyday sponsored feed post? Keep reading to learn about this unique tool and how it can help you grow as an influencer or business.

A female influencer shooting branded content for a fashion brand.

First, Let’s Define a Paid Partnership on Instagram

First, Let’s talk about paid partnerships on Instagram to appreciate the new branded content tool better.

Instagram created a paid partnership label in 2017 to create more transparency in influencer marketing campaigns. When a brand collaborates with an influencer and sponsors their post, the latter must use the paid partnership tag.

This adds the label “Paid partnership” at the top of the post for all their followers to see. That way, people will know the content creator who posted it is getting monetary compensation for talking about that brand. It makes for a more transparent, honest, and authentic environment online.

Brands love partnering with influencers because their content looks more authentic than traditional ads. It adds a storytelling element to the brand’s promotional efforts. This helps capture people’s attention more and makes them more likely to engage with the content.

But paid partnerships can also be beneficial for influencers. Influencers will appear more credible and trustworthy when they use this tag on their sponsored posts. It shows they’re honest with their brand sponsorships and aren’t selling out.

Two female influencers shooting a video for a paid partnership with a makeup label.

How the “Sponsored Post” Evolved: What Are Instagram Branded Content Tools?

The branded content tools came a few years after the birth of the paid partnership label. But what are Instagram branded content tools, and what makes them different from regular sponsored posts?

When content creators upload a branded post with a paid partnership label, their business partners can boost it. They choose a target audience they want to reach and then turn the post into an ad. Branded content ads accumulate substantial reach and cater effectively to their vital audience based on their ad budget.

The branded content tool allows brands to create ads out of organic-looking influencer content. And in an age where people respond more positively to authentic content than ads, this is fantastic. Instead of pouring money into ads people will likely skip, you get more eyeballs on interesting, engaging, aesthetic, creative content.

Like regular Instagram ads, you’ll see the word “Sponsored” at the top of branded content ads. But instead of the brand name at the top, you’ll see the original content creator’s handle. It looks as if their post merely appeared on your feed. Underneath the feed post, you’ll see the collaboration label with the words “Paid partnership with [brand name].”

Brands can use this Instagram tool to scale their brand ambassadors’ sponsored posts. It’s a terrific way to amass massive reach without spending extra on a big production for ads. It’s like repurposing user-generated content but for a much wider audience.

Here are examples of influencer content that brands might boost and turn into an ad:

  • A fitness influencer’s workout routine featuring clothes from an activewear brand.
  • A food blogger’s recipe video that features ingredients from a snack or food brand.
  • Beauty gurus gushing about their favorite products from a makeup brand’s new collection.

A food influencer creating a sponsored recipe branded content ad for a food brand.

Who Is Eligible To Create Branded Content Posts?

Not every content creator is entitled to create branded content posts. You can only create these posts and tag your business partners using the branded content tool. So, which influencers can use this unique tool? Here are Instagram’s strict criteria:

1. Creators with a professional account, such as a Business or Creator account. Meanwhile, brands need a Business account for their influencers to tag them in paid partnership posts.

2. Creators who have an established presence with a significant following. Their fanbase must be authentic and engaged, not bought using third-party apps.

3. Creators who are known to comply with the app’s community guidelines.

4. Creators who are not government officials.

If you fit these criteria, chances are, you can access the branded content tools on Instagram. Keep reading to see how to publish branded content posts for your brand partners to turn into ads.

An artist with a solid, established fanbase and is therefore eligible for branded content on Instagram

How To Publish a Post Using the Instagram Branded Content Tool

If you’re looking to create branded content on Instagram, you first need to enable this feature. Otherwise, you can’t post paid partnership posts, and your brand partners won’t be able to boost your post. Luckily, it’s fast and easy to do. Here’s how to do it, step by step.

1. Open your Instagram settings and scroll down to Account.

2. Click on “Branded Content.” If you’re eligible to post branded content, you will see an option to enable this tool.

3. Enable this option, and you’re done!

Now that you have the branded content tool feature, you can start producing branded content posts. You can do this for photos, videos, and Instagram Story posts. But let’s keep things simple for now. Here’s how to do a typical sponsored feed post with the tool:

1. From your Instagram homepage, click on the plus sign at the bottom to create a new post.

2. Choose the photo or video you want to post. Add the filters, captions, hashtags, and other elements you want to include in your post.

3. Before you publish the post, click on Advanced Settings.

4. Go to Branded Content and switch on the toggle that says “Add paid partnership label.” Add the brand that you are collaborating with.

5. To allow the brand to boost your post on your behalf, select “Allow brand partner to promote.” Note that they can’t boost your branded post if you’ve added more than one brand under the paid partnership.

6. Lastly, tap “Done” to officially publish your branded content post!

Any branded content you post will appear in your business partner’s Instagram ads manager. Here, they can boost your post, enabling thousands of people in their target audience to see it.

Things You Can’t Promote Through Branded Content Ads

According to Instagram’s branded content policies, certain products and services cannot be promoted through branded content ads. The platform prohibits boosting certain content, including the following (among others), when influencers post about them for the community’s safety:

  • Smoking products such as tobacco, cigarettes, vaporizers, and more.
  • Illegal and recreational drugs.
  • Unsafe supplements, such as anabolic steroids, comfrey, human growth hormones, and many more.
  • Weapons, explosives, firearms, fireworks, pepper spray, tasers, paintball guns, and any other sort of ammunition that perpetuates violence.
  • Multilevel marketing organizations.
  • Payday loans and bail bonds.

There are also some topics and products that must be age-gated when posted and boosted as branded content. These include alcohol, financial, and insurance products, weight loss products, family planning services, and contraceptives. If a brand wants to boost influencer content in these industries, it must be age-gated to audiences 18 and above. Note that this may differ for other countries, depending on their age of consent.

Tobacco products are just some goods you can’t promote through Instagram’s branded content.

How Can Businesses Filter Who Tags Them in Branded Content Posts?

You’re sorely mistaken if you think you can simply tag any brand you want in your branded content posts. Instagram also aims to protect business partners. So, they can filter and manually approve every content creator they allow to tag them in branded content. If you’re a business owner, here’s how you can add your brand ambassadors to the list:

1. Open your Instagram Settings and click “Business” under your account type.

2. Click the Branded Content tab.

3. Curate your list of approved content creators to tag you in paid partnership labels. You can return to this section anytime to edit your list.

When the influencers on your list post content and tag you as their sponsor, Instagram will automatically approve their post. When this happens, Instagram will send you a notification so you can be aware of new branded content.

Do you want to approve every paid partnership post on time? Switch on your “Manually approve tags” toggle on the Branded Content page. You can also see and approve tag requests from your brand ambassadors.

Listing your influencers down is a terrific way to control who can tag you in their sponsored content on Instagram. That way, your tag requests won’t be spammed by wannabe influencers. You’ll only see the posts from creators you expect branded content from.

How To Disable Branded Content Tool on Instagram, Just in Case

One might want to take down a branded content ad on Instagram for many reasons. On the influencer’s end, they might not want to be associated with a brand caught in a scandal. On the brand’s end, they might want to retract their partnership with an uncompliant creator. Or maybe you just ended up boosting the wrong piece of content. Yikes!

Whatever your reason for wanting to take down a branded content post, it’s possible. Both content creators and their brand business partners can revoke these posts from being boosted as ads. Brands can revoke branded content by an influencer by removing them from their list of approved partners and vice versa.

But the process is different if you’re taking down a specific post. Instead of removing an approved partner from your branded content page, you must do it straight from the post. Here’s how to disable the branded content tool on Instagram for a specific post:

1. Go to your Instagram settings.

2. Click on your professional account type, whether a Business or a Creator account.

3. Click “Partnership ads” and look at your Active ads.

4. Select the branded content ad that you want to take down.

5. Click the three dots on the upper-right corner of the screen.

6. Click “Stop” to keep the ad from running. And that’s it, you’re done!

Get More Eyes on Branded Content—Boosted or Not—With Path Social!

Instagram’s branded content tools are excellent for creating boosted ads from native influencer content. It allows brands to tap top content creators and reach their target audience in an authentic way. It’s bye-bye to traditional ads that people usually ignore and hello to excellent branded content made by creative influencers!

Whether or not your business partners promote your branded content, you want more eyes on your posts. Not only will this give you a chance to rack up engagement, but it can increase your Instagram following, too. Path Social can lend a hand with that.

Instead of relying only on the Instagram branded content tool for immense reach and new followers, try our growth services. Our targeting algorithm searches for your niche audience and serves your branded content to them. This boosts visibility and engagement while allowing you to gain new followers. This is an excellent alternative if your business partners aren’t keen on promoting your branded posts. Start growing your Instagram community with us today!