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Instagram Adds New Branded Content Options, Including Branded Content Tags in Reels

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With Instagram putting more emphasis on Reels as it seeks to combat the rise of TikTok, a key area where Instagram can best its rival is in monetization, and offering more lucrative brand partnership options and processes, in order to help users make money from their clips.

Instagram has a more advanced systems in place for such, and furthering this, today, Instagram is adding new Branded Content Tags for both Reels and Live to expand its revenue options for creators.

Instagram Branded Content tags

The new tags will mean that creators can formulate more deals with brands, and generate revenue immediately from their Reels content. And if more of them can make more money on Reels, and Instagram can get them similar levels of exposure, maybe that will be enough to stop them straying to TikTok in the first place.

In addition to this, Instagram’s also adding a new process which will enable brands and creators to work collaboratively on Instagram content creation, as opposed to brands having to promote a pre-existing post.

Instagram Branded Content request

As explained by Instagram:

“Until today, Branded Content ads could only be created by promoting the existing posts from creators. Instagram is now launching a new workflow where advertisers can create Branded Content ads without the need for creators to post organically on Instagram first. Now brands have more flexibility with fewer constraints when they want to run Branded Content ads.”

The process enables advertisers to post from a Creators’ account – which could be problematic, but creators will maintain the capability to both approve and pause any ads published from their handle.

The process will work like this:

  • Advertisers sends request for Ad Creation Access
  • Creator accepts Ad Creation Access. Notification sent to the advertiser upon acceptance
  • Creator receives notification of the created ad for their approval

That makes it a more collaborative, hands-on effort, and the added exclusivity could lead to bigger promotions and partnerships.

Instagram’s also changing its rules around Branded Content in Stories and Branded Content posts which include product tags.

For Stories, Instagram says that Branded Content ads in Stories will now be able to include tappable elements:

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“…such as @mentions, location and hashtags. We want brands to have access to organic Stories’ creative that is native and authentic to the Stories experience.”

Brands will now also be able to promote branded content posts with product tags.

“Until today, branded content posts from creators that included product tags were not able to be promoted. Now brands can get more value out of this content that makes it easy for people to shop directly from creators that inspire them.”

The new tools provide more opportunities for influencer collaborations, which, as noted, could help give Instagram a leg-up over TikTok in terms of facilitating revenue generation for its stars. 

TikTok is working on the same – it’s building its eCommerce tools, which have been a big part of its success in China, while TikTok also has its own Creator Marketplace to facilitate brand collaborations.

But Instagram, which generated around $3 billion in revenue last quarter, is in a better position with its ad tools and processes. Facebook’s more mature advertising and revenue stream means that it can offer more value for creators to generate money from their efforts, and while TikTok is reportedly on track to reach a billion users in 2021, if its biggest influencers can make money on Reels instead, that could become a problem, if TikTok fails to move fast enough.

Which, in itself, will be a challenge. TikTok is still embroiled in an ongoing negotiation over its potential sale to a US company, and the longer that drags on, the harder it is for TikTok to solidify its revenue streams, and clarify its processes for creators. 

It’s still developing its various tools in this respect, but TikTok will be hoping for some clarity around its situation soon, which will then enable it to keep building – as Instagram continues to stack its offers to lure TikTok stars across.

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Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem

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Shervin Hajipour's song "Baraye" draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life

Shervin Hajipour’s song “Baraye” draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life – Copyright Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)/AFP –

David Vujanovic

Even though he has been silenced, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour’s impassioned song in support of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in custody remains an unofficial anthem of the movement.

The song “Baraye” notched up 40 million views on Instagram before it was deleted when Hajipour was arrested, but he has since been freed on bail and has distanced himself from politics, likely as a condition for his release.

Baraye, the Persian word “For” or “Because”, is composed of tweets about the protests and highlights longings people have for things lacking in sanctions-hit Iran, where many complain of hardship caused by economic mismanagement.

It also draws on everyday activities that have landed people in trouble with the authorities in the Islamic republic.

“For the sake of dancing in the streets; Because of the fear felt while kissing; For my sister, your sister, your sisters,” the song’s lyrics say.

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“Because of the embarrassment of an empty pocket; Because we are longing for a normal life… Because of this polluted air.”

Baraye has been heard played loudly at night from apartment blocks in Iran to show support for protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16, after the notorious morality police arrested her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.

It was also sung with gusto by the Iranian diaspora at rallies in more than 150 cities around the world at the weekend.

In one clip shared by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, a group of schoolgirls without headscarves is seen singing Baraye in class with their backs to the camera.

The tune was removed from Hajipour’s Instagram account shortly after his arrest but is still widely available on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

– ‘Because of forced Instagram stories’ –

Hajipour’s lawyer Majid Kaveh said he was released on bail at noon on Tuesday.

The reformist Shargh newspaper said his family had been informed of his arrest in the northern city of Sari on Saturday, in a report that cited his sister Kamand Hajipour.

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She had said in an Instagram post that her parents had been informed of his arrest in a call from the city’s intelligence ministry offices.

Shortly after his release, Hajipour was back on Instagram, but this time to apologise and distance himself from politics.

“I’m here to say I’m okay,” he told his 1.9 million followers on the platform.

“But I’m sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran — which I have had no relations with — made some improper political uses of this song.

“I would not swap this (country) for anywhere else and I will stay for my homeland, my flag, my people, and I will sing.

“I don’t want to be a plaything for those who do not think of me, you or this country,” he added.

In response to his post, many on Twitter suggested the line “Because of forced Instagram stories” should be added to the lyrics of the song.

Human rights groups including Article 19 have repeatedly called on Iran to end its use of forced confessions, which they say are false and extracted under duress or even torture.

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In one recent case, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.

She was held by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.

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