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Instagram is cracking down on influencers and brands publishing content relating to a few controversial topics.

While the company has had policies restricting branded content related to vaping, tobacco products, and weapons, the company is introducing a new policy which will more vigorously enforce these restrictions.

 

The ramp up of enforcement will come over the coming weeks, giving brands and influencers a small amount of time to plan their future marketing efforts.

Instagram also says it will be enacting more rules related to branded content promoting alcohol and diet supplements in the coming year.

Details on the initiative are limited, but the company says it is building new tools to help enforce age-based content restrictions which will help creators ensure adult content is not seen by minors.

While the site may be restricting a few types of branded content, the company says its overall goal is to help creators grow and connect more with their audiences.

As the policy announcement concludes:

“Creators on Instagram are a vital part of our community, and we will be investing even more resources in 2020 to help them build their businesses on Instagram.”

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Facebook is changing its mind on branded content, though it isn’t ready to completely dive in. The social media giant is revising its policy on branded content, which is anything that specifically “mentions or features a third party product, brand, or sponsor.”

With the latest change, Facebook is allowing any verified page to share branded content, however, the content must be labeled as such. This is a significant turn from the company’s previous stance against branded content and ads.

To help brands with verified pages label their branded content, Facebook is also offering a new tool to assist in tagging brands mentioned in the content. The company says the tool must be used every time branded content is published.

By changing their policy, Facebook is allowing companies with existing partnerships or sponsorships to bring their relationship into the world’s largest social network.

Notably, branded content can also be pushed via sponsored posts or leveraged in paid ads. The company says the new tool will hopefully lead to greater transparency while continuing to help users find valuable information.

When a brand is tagged in a piece of branded content, they will also receive access to post insights and can share the boosted post themselves.

While this is a notable change, Facebook still has some restrictions. Here is what Facebook will still not allow:

“…our branded content guidelines prohibit overly promotional features, such as persistent watermarks and pre-roll advertisements. Additionally, cover photos and profile pictures must not feature third party products, brands, or sponsors. Branded content integrations that are allowed to be posted on Facebook include content like product placement, endcards, and marketer’s logos.”

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Is Facebook still the king of social media? In terms of sheer traffic Facebook may still have a sizable lead, but businesses are finding it may not be the best platform for their marketing. In fact, a report by L2 and Olapic shows brands are starting to invest more effort elsewhere.

Brands are now posting more content to Instagram than they are on Facebook, most likely due to the continuously declining organic reach for brands on the big F.

The signs of Facebook’s downfall as the primary place for social media marketing have been around for quite some time. As organic reach started to fall, brands began migrating to other social networks and cutting back on their organic efforts on the site in favor of paid advertising.

Facebook’s paid advertising platform allows brands to get even more reach than they had developed organically, but at the sake of organic reach. In comparison, Instagram is (for now) almost entirely based on organic content.

Instagram may not stay the most popular platform for branded content for long, either. The Facebook-owned social image sharing platform has already implemented some advertising options and have publicly announced plans to expand paid advertising on the site. Nonetheless, most brand activity on the site is currently organic.

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The L2 report found the 250 participating brands posted an average of 9.3 times per week on Instagram compared to 8.8 times on Facebook in Q4 of last year. Compared to the same time period in 2013, Facebook was down from 11.1 a week, while Instagram boosted itself by nearly two full posts a week.

Other notable findings from the report included:

  • The auto industry, led by luxury brands like BMX, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche, outperformed all categories (Beauty, Consumers Electronics, Travel, Watches & Jewelry, Fashion, Sportswear, Retail, Drinks) with a 1.52% per post engagement rate on Instagram. Drinks — Stella Artois, Jack Daniels, Belvedere, Pabst Blue Ribbon — was second at 1.32%.
  • Of the top 200 highest performing posts, 65% prominently featured a product, 43% included general lifestyle photography and 29% included a brand ambassador or other influencer.
  • Hyperlapse has lapsed with only 75 — or only 2.4% of brand videos posted since August — brand posts using the time-lapse video app. Brand Hyperlapse activity has fallen off steeply since September and the engagement rate on the videos is 0.69 percent, slightly less than conventional Instagram videos.
  • Photo posts drive higher engagement that video, 1.03% to 0.79%. Videos attract more comments, but photos draw significantly more likes.