Instagram Influencer Marketing

Instagram Whitelisting: How to White-Label Creator Content

Instagram whitelisting turns brands' best creator content into awesome ads. Here’s a breakdown of how to set up whitelisting on Instagram (and why brands should).

creator with sweater

Is influencer whitelisting on your radar?

We’ve been asked a lot lately about how to approach branded content on Instagram.

That’s because the new Instagram algorithm is restricting brands’ reach like never before. For branded accounts, paid campaigns are a path to meaningful engagement. 

And if you’re seeing results with creators, turning their posts into ads makes perfect sense.

Meta says that creator-based ad campaigns see a 15% increase in return on ad spend. We're seeing more and more of our own brands supplement their paid strategies with influencer content.

Enter the era of influencer whitelisting and creator ads.

Below we break down the benefits of whitelisting Instagram posts and how to do it yourself.

What is Whitelisting on Instagram?

Instagram whitelisting is the process of obtaining access to a creator’s content to promote it as an ad. These ads can be run through the creator’s account (branded content ads) or the brand’s account (whitelist ads). 

Here’s a snapshot of how the whitelisting process works:

  • Creators provide permission for brands to promote their content. 

  • Brands set up their Instagram ads featuring the creator’s assets. Details like goals, audience and budget are identical to any other ad. The key difference? Brands access the creator’s assets instead of uploading their own. 

  • The whitelisted content gets published as an Instagram ad. 

We’ve seen firsthand how featuring real people in ads can boost performance. Check out this firsthand observation from Instagram themselves:

“Ads from creators typically outperform regular ads on Facebook and Instagram because they feel more informative, relevant and entertaining.”

It’s not surprising that Instagram whitelisting is blowing up right now. Brands are eager to create ads that don’t feel like ads and Instagram remains the top platform for creator collaborations. 

Instagram Whitelisting vs. Branded Content

Let’s take a minute to clear the air.

The terms “whitelisting” and “branded content” are often used interchangeably. True, both processes involve getting permission from creators to promote their content.

However, they are not the same!

With influencer whitelisting, you’re obtaining full rights to the creator’s content. The content belongs to you (the brand). Think about white labeling in the context of physical products. It’s the same concept but with social content.

Branded content involves using Instagram’s native branded content tools. This means obtaining permissions, getting assets and running ads all happen on Instagram. When you see the “Paid partnership” label on Instagram, you’re looking at a branded content ad.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Instagram whitelisting versus branded content:

Instagram Whitelisting vs Branded Content

Both types of posts are valuable. Whitelisting is ideal for brands with existing creator contracts and working relationships. Setting up branded content is more direct because the process happens exclusively through Instagram. That said, you sacrifice some creative freedom for convenience.

Still, both campaigns result in more authentic and engaging ads featuring creators.

Examples of Whitelisting and Branded Content on Instagram

With definitions out the way, let’s look at a real-life example of whitelisted content on Instagram.

Check out how Cometeer uses a whitelisted creator video as part of their Reels campaign. The content of the ad itself is identical to the creator’s original Reel. Notice that there’s no “Paid partnership” label or direct mention of the creator. 

Cometeer Sponsored Ad    Cometeer Creator Reel

Source: @bearenger

Organic and off-the-cuff, this is also a great example of brands using Reels to promote a product. One of the biggest benefits of influencer whitelisting is that the ads don’t feel like ads. Even with the “Sponsored” label, the content resembles organic content at a glance.

On the flip side, here’s an example of branded content on Instagram from Naturtint. This is a sponsored post that appears on both the brand and creator’s pages but is also being run as a Reels ad. Note how the creator and brand are both tagged in the promoted post.

Naturtint Ad   Naturtint Branded Post

Source: Naturtint USA / @waterthruskin

What Are the Requirements for Whitelisted Ads on Instagram?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s review the prereqs for running creator ads. Taking care of these steps will speed up the process and help you avoid any potential roadblocks:

Instagram Whitelisting Requirements for Brands

  • Make sure your account is ready to run Instagram ads. Double-check that you have permission to run ads via Facebook Business Manager. If you’re already managing paid campaigns or have run an ad recently, you’re likely good to go.

  • Know which creators you’ll be requesting content from. Whitelisting a bit of back-and-forth. We wouldn’t recommend cold-pitching creators for branded content ads. Instead, focus on people you already know or have worked with in the past. Most importantly, the fact that you’ll be using their content as ads should be spelled out clearly in their influencer agreement.

  • Be prepared to coordinate with your creator(s). Hashing out the details of your campaigns can be done over DMs or email. If your creator is familiar with brand partnerships, the process should be easy.

Instagram Whitelisting Requirements for Creators

  • Make sure the creator’s account is connected to Facebook Business Manager. 
  • Creators must formally agree to share their content. This is for the sake of transparency and likewise covering your legal bases. Again, review your influencer contract and clear up any questions before getting started.
  • Be prepared to follow up with the brand. For example, brands might want to discuss organic performance metrics on a post. This applies both before and after a campaign.

How to Set Up Whitelisting on Instagram

Let’s assume you have a creator agreement in place and you’re ready to start running ads. Below is a detailed walkthrough of the white-labeling process.

Step #1 (Creator): Request a Brand Partnership

First thing’s first: your creator is going to need to give your access to their Instagram content. Making this happen starts by setting up a brand partnership

If your creator has worked with brands in the past, they can run through this step quickly.

To kick things off, your creator is going to need to create or edit an In-Feed Post, Story or Reel tagging your brand. 

Creator collaboration

From there, they’ll need to turn on “Add paid partnership label” and then select “Add brand partners.” Your creator will then be able to see approved and pending brand partner requests. 

paid partnership label

Through this feature, creators can disclose paid partnerships with brands in their posts. By selecting “Allow brand partners to boost,” your creator enables you to run their content as branded ads on your account.

Brand Partner Label_1

Step #2 (Brand and Creator): Approve the Brand Partnership and Grant Ads Access

This step involves both parties hopping over to Facebook Ads Manager. Here, you’ll gain full advertising access to your creator’s content.

You’ll need to share your Facebook Business ID number with your creator. This can be found in Ads Manager under “Business Settings” > “Business Info.” Creators will then need to go to “Pages” > “Assign partners” to input the appropriate ID.

IG account partner

Creators will also need to assign assets to the brand account. This involves selecting “Instagram accounts” and then toggling “Ads” on.

Assign Assets Gif

Back to the brand! Within Facebook Business Manager, go to “Settings” > “Paid partnerships.” Here you can manage, request and approve business partners. 

To add a creator, select “Add partnership,” search for their account, select your account for the “Paid partnership” label and then send your request.

Insta Partnership

Once the partnership is approved, your creator will receive a notification. After all of the above is squared away, you’ll have full control to create both whitelisted ads and branded content ads.

Instagram Brand Partner Notification_1

 Step #3 (Brand): Fill Out the Details of Your Instagram Ad

Now it’s time to fill in the details of your ad campaign. This includes your campaign goals, target audience and budget. 

Since this step is the same as creating any Facebook ad, we won’t get too in-depth here. Awareness and reach campaigns are arguably the most straightforward for running whitelisted ads.

Insta Campaign

 If you’re overwhelmed or totally new to Instagram advertising, consider taking advantage of Meta’s Automatic Placement features. 

Step #4 (Brand): Access Your Creator’s Content to Complete the Ad

Time to put together your creatives! These steps vary slightly depending on if you’re running a whitelisted ad or simply boosting an existing post.

For Whitelisting

  • Select “Ad setup”
  • Select “Creative ad” and choose which type of ad you want to run (single image or video, carousel or collection)
  • Under the “Ad Creative” prompt, select “Add media.”

From here, you'll upload your creator’s content. This can be done manually or by accessing their assets and captions via Ads Manager.

creator ads

Then, you’ll see a preview of the various ad placements and formats. 

ad formats

 Finally, you’ll complete the details of your ad including the headline, description, target URL and call-to-action.

For Branded Content Ads

Under “Ad setup,” select “Use existing post.” From here, you’ll be prompted to search through your approved branded content by account name. 

branded content

Once you find the post you’re looking for, select it and the ad creative will populate automatically.

Step #5 (Brand): Preview Your Ad and Approve It!

Lastly, take a good look at your final ad preview prior to publishing. You can preview your ad in various placements and formats such as Stories or Reels.

Final Ad Preview_1

 For branded content, you’re fairly limited in terms of what you can edit beyond the CTA and destination URL. Double-check the “Identity” to make sure it’s being presented by the desired account (yours or the creator’s).

And when you’re ready to publish, that’s that!

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Whitelisting on Instagram?

When it comes to advertising on Instagram, brands are spoiled for choice.

So why is whitelisting all the rage right now? Let’s look at the benefits below.

Squeeze More Out of Your Instagram Advertising Strategy

Again, the connection between creators and better ad performance is well-documented.

And consider all the ways whitelisting maximizes your existing campaigns and resources.

For starters, using creator content means not having to set up a photo shoot or edit an ad yourself.  This frees up more of your budget and schedule.  Given all the creatives of Instagram ads, this is significant time and money saved.

Another huge benefit of whitelisting is removing the guesswork from your paid campaigns. There are so many variables that can make or break your ads, right? 

By promoting content that’s already performing, you can create ads with a sense of confidence. In short, organic creator content can validate your ad ideas.

How’s that for stretching your influencer marketing budget?

Cometeer Reel Comments

Source: @bearenger

Give Your Creator Partners a Boost

Keep in mind that whitelisting is a win-win for creators and brands alike.

Sure, you get awesome ads out of the deal. Think about how creators also get to piggyback off of your brand’s credibility, too. Being an in-demand, partnered influencer actually raises their stock. 

Up-and-coming creators are eager to work with brands that can speak to their audiences. Branded content is an opportunity for brands to provide ongoing support to creators. Again, it’s a win-win.

Uncover Creative New Ways to Show Off Your Products

According to Instagram, 86% of consumers claim that “shareworthy” content encourages them to buy, try or recommend a product. 

Vibi Instagram Creator

Source: @bre_roberts_

We’re consistently impressed by the creativity and authenticity of creator content done right. That’s because creators know best when it comes to showing off products in action. 

Creators are hip to the latest Instagram trends and which types of posts earn engagement. Beyond that, they go the extra mile to produce share-worthy content. Doing so is a plus for themselves, their audiences and the brands they work with.

Instagram Influencer Campaign Manager Spreadsheet

How Get More Content Authentic for Instagram Whitelisting

Fierce competition. Constant algorithm changes. Rising ad costs.

All of the above highlights how brands should squeeze everything they can out of their Instagram campaigns. Their influence campaigns, too.

The ability to turn top-performing organic content into ads achieves both at the same time.

But to run creator ads and see the maximum ROI for your influencer content, you need authentic creators posting about your brand at scale.

The more content you have on deck, the more potential posts to run at high-performing ads.

That's where Statusphere can help. Our micro-influencer marketing platform matches brands with creators from our vetted influencer community.

Statusphere platform dashboard
We help brands earn guaranteed, authentic creator content at scale. Since content rights are built into every piece of content you get through our platforms, turning your top-performing creator posts into ads can happen faster and at scale. 

Want to learn more about our software? Get in touch with one of our campaign experts to see how we can grow your influencer marketing efforts in a fraction of the time it'd take in-house.

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