What The New “Branded Content” Facebook Rule Means for Marketers

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

Much has been made of branded content with Facebook. In some circles you’d think the sky was falling, and maybe it is for some. But not for the rest of us. It’s not a positive change or a negative one, it’s just another example of why we as marketers have to keep changing and adapting.

So what is this all about? We’re going to show you the ins and outs of branded content, and ultimately what it means for the 1.3 million pieces of content shared every minute of the day.

So Who Can Actually Make It?

Outside of marketing and the media, you’ve probably not heard a discussion on this. It’s because branded content is only an issue with us. Unless you have a verified page or you happen to be a media outlet, you don’t have any access to branded content.

The truth is branded content isn’t actually any different from normal content. The only real difference is that the outlet or celebrity gets tagged. It’s essentially something designed to verify the authenticity of posts.

Who Cares Right?

So far you’re probably wondering why you should care about any of this. But before you decide to ignore this when coming up with your digital marketing strategy, consider the fact that you will gain access to performance insights.

Performance insights are exactly the same insights as you would get with a standard Facebook ad. This is the only way to actually get the same insights with your normal posts. You can monitor both organic and paid engagement. And as marketers we know how valuable such data can be.

It really can be a game changer.

The Rules and Regulations

Any responsible marketer knows that they have to be following the rules and making sure that they aren’t coming into conflict with our Facebook overlords. There are best social media practices for branded content, as well. And these must be adhered to by both marketers and those who are lucky enough to have verified pages.

What has really annoyed a lot of us in the marketing world is the fact that branded content is aimed at stopping brands from promoting or even mentioning third-party products on their pages. It has made it extremely difficult for us to promote something on someone else’s behalf.

Since the change in April of this year, some of the restrictions regarding publishers have been loosened a bit, but they are still strict.

And even if you do happen to own a verified page, posting branded content means that you have to use the Buddy icon that comes up when you post something as per usual. Without this, you’re technically in breach of their guidelines.

So Where Do Marketers Go Now?

If you happen to be working for a celebrity or a big public figure, you’re fine because you can still post branded content. But for your average blogger and publisher, this is a big change. Facebook doesn’t care if someone paid you to promote their product. Posting about it outside this system can still get you banned from Facebook.

As we mentioned at the top, this isn’t a good or a bad change because it doesn’t matter what we think. It’s here and we have to adapt. If you’re relying on third-party promotion to earn an income, you’re going to have to find another way to earn money.

What About Getting a Verified Page?

Facebook offers a checklist for getting verified, but it’s not easy to get verified. They state that to get verified you have to be someone who matters. If you’re a huge brand or a known public figure, this is easy, but if you’re an average blogger or a no name marketer you can forget about it.

Facebook might decide to change its stance on this in the future, but you shouldn’t hold out any hope that this is going to happen soon. Getting a verified page would be a solution, but it’s more likely that the branded content policy will be changed instead.

It would defeat the point of the verified page system if they made it easier to get approved for that.

Conclusion

The branded content change is big news for anyone who has a connection with the worlds of marketing and publishing. But we must adapt and we must keep abreast of the latest changes. Make sure that you’re adhering to Facebook’s guidelines on branded content today.

 

 
About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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