Recently Branded Content on Facebook has been talked about as they announced updates to their policy and a new tool. The post published on April 8th raised a lot of questions about how the Branded Content changes would affect bloggers.
“Verified Pages (with the blue checkmark) can share branded content on Facebook as long as they follow our updated branded content policy and ads policy and use the branded content tool to tag marketers in their posts.” The tool requires you to tag the company you’re mentioning in any post that mentions “a third party brand, product, or sponsor”, and then that company is able to see metrics as well as sharing & boosting the post.
Matthew Mercuri, Digital Marketing Manager at Dupray is an SEO and SEM specialist with 10 years experience, with specific focus on PR and Social Media. Matthew says “[…] the ability to show a marketer the true impact of their promotional efforts will go a long way to segregate the good bloggers from the bad. In the end, this might actually benefit bloggers. Why? Many bloggers are already doing business with companies in the form of product reviews and sponsored content. Now, it allows their partners to actually see how valuable their advertising really is!”
In order to request a verified badge from Facebook you must be a “people, sports, media, entertainment or government page.” Facebook specifically says “Note: Right now, we don’t support verification requests for other types of Pages (ex: businesses, brands, organizations).” So if your page is listed as a blog, you can’t be verified. For my own page, I do not have the option to request to be verified since I am a blog. (Go to settings, general and it should be the 4th item down.) One resource suggested going to your About section and changing your category to Companies & Organizations in order to have the option to request verification however, that doesn’t work for me.
The way the update reads, bloggers are thinking they will simply not be allowed to post any branded content anymore due to this verbiage: “Branded content on Pages is only allowed from Verified Pages (with the blue badge) …”
Matthew says: “I interpret this much like I interpret the manual actions that Google took against dofollow links for bloggers in late February. Facebook and Google are interested in query and content accuracy because it allows for an equal digital environment for everyone – except themselves. Ultimately, they want to collect as much revenue as possible while making their advertisers AND consumers happy. Much of this revenue comes from big brands with multi-million dollar Facebook advertising budgets. Bloggers are a legitimate tool for many of these large brands, ourselves included. Logic dictates that brands who go with the blogging route will benefit the most from this change. Accordingly, anything that stops this form of advertising will be subject to review. Why? Any barrier to revenue collection is NOT sustainable. Simply put, Facebook is leaving money on the table. Smart business don’t do that.
Ultimately, this current verification process is not sustainable. I would hazard that Facebook will synthesize the verification process to make it accessible to anyone who can actually justify their ability and history as a blogger (e.g., authentication of owning domain, business email verification, etc). ”
Angelina Concialdi is a Social Media Specialist at Blue Fountain Media. Angela says “Facebook’s new Branded Content rules: A win for brands, but could it be a loss for bloggers? With the new ability for verified users and celebrities to promote brands, some influencers and bloggers could be left in the dust. Bloggers and influencers are often given free products and services for review with the purpose of increasing brand awareness on their pages, but now that celebrities and verified accounts can do this without their assistance, there may be less of a need for them. It’s too soon to tell just yet, and will be interesting to see the impact the new rules have on Facebook’s unverified.”
The big question: are any un-verified pages permitted to promote other brands? Particularly in the natural parenting industry, this is very common! Of course, we also know that Facebook tends to squelch anything promotional. In searching for answers about this, I found that verified pages were previously prohibited from posting branded content (though they did it anyway – they just didn’t disclose they were paid!) and this is is in fact an improvement. Pages are still responsible for complying with the Federal Trade Commission’s endorsement rules.
If you are eligible to be verified, do it and follow the guidelines for branded content. This will help brands see the results from your partnership. If you’re not verified, the sky is not falling. Hopefully Facebook will provide more insight as this unfolds but for now, if you post promotional content, plan to pay to advertise, or enjoy minimal reach.