Branded content on Instagram is nothing new. For years, brands have partnered with influencers to promote content to their followers.

But why stop there? 

With the recent introduction of branded content ads, your influencer marketing campaigns are no longer limited to reaching influencers’ followers.

Now, you can use branded content ads to amplify the influencers’ voice and scale up your sponsored posts far beyond their organic reach. This means more eyeballs on your content. It also means much better marketing results for your influencer campaigns.

Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about branded content ads. You’ll learn what they are, why you should be using them, and how to set them up!

What are Instagram branded content ads? 

Branded content on Instagram refers to any post created in collaboration between an influencer and a business partner. If you’re paying an influencer to make a post about your brand, that’s branded content. 

These types of posts are typically marked with a “paid partnership” tag at the top of the image. This helps disclose the financial relationship between the influencer and business partner. 

Here is an example of what this looks like:

Branded content ads take these posts one step further.

They enable your business to reach a much wider audience by transforming these posts into paid ads. You’ll be able to use paid distribution to promote an influencer’s post beyond their organic reach, just like any other paid ad on Instagram.

There are many benefits to doing this. It allows you to share your brand story from the influencer’s point of view without limiting your reach, drive more engagement, and access insights that would otherwise only be visible to the influencer.

But the advantages don’t stop there! We’ll take a closer look at why branded content ads are so useful later.

How do you run branded content ads on Instagram? 

Before running your paid ads campaign, there are a couple steps you’ll need to take first. 

Namely, you’ll need to make sure you’ve properly set up content approvals on your account. The influencers you’re working with will also need to apply the correct settings to the post you want to promote.

Here’s how you go about it.

Step 1: Set up branded content approvals

First, you need to give the influencer permission to tag your business in posts. To do so:

1. Go to your public profile and tap on the icon with 3 vertical lines at the top right.

Tap on the icon with 3 vertical lines

2. Select Settings.

3. Select Business.

4. Go to Branded content to open the Branded Content Approvals page.

Go to Branded Content page

5. Make sure toggle next to Require Approvals is set to on.

Toggle on Approve Tags

6. Tap Approved Accounts and search for the influencer you want to approve.

Search for influencers

If you followed the steps above correctly, they should now be able to tag your business in their branded content posts.

Step 2: Ensure the influencer has properly tagged the branded content

Next, you’ll need to make sure the branded content you want to promote has the correct settings. For you to promote a post as a branded content ad, the creator must first tag your business and allow you to promote their posts.

Here’s how influencers can do that:

1. When uploading the photo to their feed, click on Advanced Settings.

Click on Advanced Settings

2. Tap on Tag Business Partner.

Go to Tag Business Partner

3. Search for the name of your business.

Search for business name

4. Click on the name of the business, then return to the Advanced Settings page.

5. Turn the Allow business partner to promote setting on. This will allow the brand partner to turn the post into an ad.

Toggle on Allow Business Partner to Promote

6. Publish the post.

Influencers will need to apply the same settings for their Stories. 

The process is largely the same, except that they’ll need to tap the link icon at the top of the screen to start the process.

Tag businesses in Stories

How to set up Instagram branded ads 

Alright, now we’re ready to set up our ad campaign. Assuming the steps above are complete, the influencer should have now tagged your business in the branded content and given you permission to promote it. 

Now, all that’s left to do is create your ad via Facebook Ads manager.

Here are the steps:

1. Open Facebook Ads Manager and click Create to create an ad.

2. Choose your goal from the available objectives (i.e. reach, conversions, brand awareness, etc.) and proceed to the Audience step.

3. Set your targeting and proceed to the Placements step.

4. Choose how and where you want to promote the organic posts (i.e. Feed, Stories, or Explore). 

5. At the ad view, click the Use Existing Post tab.

6. In the Creative section, click on Select post/Change post and then open the Select post window.

7. Click on the Branded content tab and look for the branded content post you want to promote. If it isn’t listed, they might not have enabled you to promote it.

8. View the preview of your ad. If it’s good to go, click Confirm.

You’re done! Now you just have to wait for Facebook to review the ad. Once it’s approved, you’ll be sent a notification and the ad will appear in your target audience’s feed.

Benefits of branded content ads 

Before we wrap up, let’s look at some of the main reasons you might want to invest in branded content ads. 


Branded content ads are more authentic than traditional ads. They allow you to promote your brand or products under an influencer’s handle, rather than your brand’s. This helps the post feel more native and less intrusive to users.

Branded content ads also benefit from transparency thanks to Instagram’s clear signposting. Every branded content ad has a paid partnership tag, which makes it easy for audiences to recognize your brand collaboration. This kind of transparent advertising builds trust and credibility.

Wider reach on sponsored content 

Of course, the main benefit of branded content ads is reach. When you’re spending money on branded content, you want to reach as many people as possible, right?

Well, promoting your branded content posts through Ads Manager allows you to dramatically increase the number of eyeballs on your post. You’re no longer reliant on organic reach. You can get your content in front of thousands of more potential customers.

Targeting comes into play too. When you run a branded content ad campaign, you’re able to laser in on your target market. You can choose who you want to promote your branded content to based on criteria like age, gender, interests, and more. 

This gives you more flexibility when it comes to choosing which influencers to partner with. You can forget about their following. Instead, you can focus on other benefits, like how well they match your brand image, or how skilled they are in creating content. 

Higher engagement than traditional native advertising 

Branded content ads also drive better engagement compared to traditional native advertising. Influencers tend to command a lot of trust on social platforms compared to brands. They’re more likely to get likes and comments than faceless corporations.

In fact, a recent survey found that 80% of marketers say influencer-generated assets, like branded content, outperform their own branded content. 

Access to insights 

Once you promote the influencer’s branded content as an ad, you get access to paid insights through Ads Manager. You can use these insights to test and measure the success of your ads. You can then use what you learn to optimize future campaigns.

Final thoughts 

Alright, that’s about all there is to know about branded content ads. Hopefully, you now have all the information you need to start using them to boost the results of your influencer campaigns.

While you’re here, make sure you check out our blog, where you’ll find plenty more insightful posts with advice on how to get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts. For example, you can click here to find out how to find the right influencer for your campaign.

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