Facebook has had a longstanding rule restricting branded content, but today, announced an about–face on that position. This change might not mean a hill of beans to some businesses out there, but for some publishers, influencers, celebrities and brands, it means a whole new set of opportunities to push out photos, videos, live videos – you name it – and get their messaging in front of many more fans. As usual, there are some rules, including Because the analytics tied into the back end of Facebook are so rich, advertisers will get a great glimpse pretty quickly about how their content is blowing up or fizzling out.
So What’s Branded Content Any Way?
If you’re wondering what that kind of content might look like, note Gaga; this captured image was on the Facebook link above, along with an active matching video, so it’s easy to tell the future here. This type of sponsored content is a sort of “co-branded” or hybrid ad, where both parties benefit from the exposure in unique ways, provided the content is done well. Some of the reasoning on this move is to put users in closer proximity of quality content they really want. It’s also designed to keep users from dipping out of Facebook because a sort of one-stop experience exists.
This is a huge and significant shift, and it’s going to happen quickly. You’re going to see your Facebook feed fill with those brands and celebrities that understand how to reach their demographic in the most real and interesting ways possible. Most users are not too fond of spammy or “in your face” advertising, so the winners will be those publishers whose strategy gets users excited and engaged.
Perhaps the most powerful impact seen will be that of videos, as it’s well-known that users are spending more time watching videos than they are reading content. Taken a step further, consider Facebook’s other recent move – releasing some robust tools in the video arena – by their own words, designed to help businesses “capture attention”. It seems obvious that Google’s darling YouTube is clearly on the minds of the Facebook team, and what better way to keep people on Facebook than to make way easier for publishers, brands, and everyone else to get useful, rich video’s up on their platform? so publishers will have a chance to woo fans with good content that doesn’t come off as a schmarmy adverts.
Why You Should Care
For the small business watching from the sidelines, you might be saying, “Who gives a flying eff. Those guys have deeper wallets and can afford to do things like that.” Well, in part, you’re right, but what will also be unfolding is both great and crappy ideas; wonderful and awful execution; giant ad budgets and scrappy, inexpensive smash hits. The SMB’s in the shadows get an opportunity to observe, learn, plan, then put into play their own versions of these advertisements on for their fans. If done right, you can create your own co-branded partnerships and opportunities that fans might even favor over the big guys. The climate is ripe for small business to reach users in unique ways such as this, and even if your budget isn’t ginormous, you might be pretty surprised how far your reach can be with the right planning.