Facebook is extending its branded content policy to allow users with verified profiles to rake in ad revenue from sponsored posts.
For the uninitiated, Facebook launched its verified pages and profiles back in 2013. The little blue checkmark is a mark of authenticity (in the same vein as a Twitter verification) for Pages and Profiles on the big blue social network. Whereas most high-profile companies and celebs have their own verified Facebook page, individual users can request the social network to verify their personal profile — if, of course, it makes the cut. Like Twitter, Facebook tends to apply the checkmark to “public figures” (such as athletes, musicians, members of the press, bloggers, and comedians). For example, Digital Trends’ editor-in-chief Jeremy Kaplan has a verified profile.
With the new changes to policy, verified profiles can now share a ton of branded content (defined as posts that feature a third-party product, or sponsor), including sponsored text posts, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos. Verified pages, on the other hand, have been able to share branded content since April.
However, this isn’t Instagram (aka the Wild West of unregulated advertisements disguised as regular posts). Facebook has conditions in place that verified profiles must follow. Primarily, a verified user must designate a sponsored post as branded content using the handshake icon, which basically lets you tag the third-party the post promotes. The brand in question will then receive a notification, and will be able to access the metrics for the post. The marketer will also have the option to share the post on their page and turn it into an ad using additional spend — seeing as it won’t get a cut of your revenue, that’s how Facebook is hoping to make its money.
Additionally, Facebook applies a number of restrictions to the format of sponsored content. Verified profiles aren’t permitted to add pre-, mid-, or post-roll ads to branded videos, and both images and videos cannot include banner ads. Verified profiles also aren’t allowed to feature third-party products, sponsors, or brands within their profile or cover photo. The full list of terms can be found here.
Does this mean your News Feed will be bombarded with ads from celebs and industry figures? This could well be the case but, keep in mind, you can simply unfollow someone if their Facebook activity irks you.
“We know that public figures with Verified Profiles … want ways to monetize their content on Facebook,” writes the company in its blog post announcing the change. “We hope that with today’s update, public figures on Verified Profiles gain an incentive to share more quality content — of all kinds — with their fans.”