Can Audience See Through Branded Content?


With new rule cracking down on transparency in regards to branded content, influencers and anyone sponsored by brands nowadays is required to add a hashtag ad or hashtag sponsored (although the more inconspicuous option: #sp is more widely used). It looks something like this:

The Kardashians are a prime example of social influencers

So, what does that mean for brands who want to utilise the abundance of Instagram influencers? Are people more likely to be put off with the brand as a whole if they know for a fact that their favourite online personalities are actually being paid off? Could genuineness be the only way for brands to be received well?

Not really.

The old-fashioned way of marketing seems to have fallen out of favour with today’s audience. Bombarding your audience within the face, over the top, or even just outright annoying ads can cause people to just tune away or even perceive your brand with negative connotations. Instead, if you attach an influencer onto your name, audiences are more generally going to try the product you’re trying to sell as they perceive it as a recommendation from their favourite celebrities rather than just an outright hard sell.


Facebook takes a much different approach when it comes to selling products. Instead, there are “sponsored posts” where it takes the form of a normal post with the added benefit of constantly appearing on your timeline.

With an added option of putting in money so that your post appears more often, tracking the analytics of how many people have viewed it (separated from organic searches and ‘paid’ searches, which consists of audiences found through Facebook forcing it on their feed). The benefits seem to be quite limitless.

But does it work?

I’m going to preface this by saying just because people see your posts does not mean they’re actively engaging with your brand. There’s a huge engagement between viewing, liking, and commenting on a Facebook ad and actually taking on a course of action (buying or actively engaging with the brand in question).

So with that being said, it’s probably not as effective as Instagram.

Unless you have a huge following already in the very beginning on this platform, it’s hard to branch out organically to other people unless you’re willing to put in serious money and also follow the rules of Facebook ad posting; which is less words more photos. And when it comes to the question of audiences reacting to such post- the general rule of thumb is anything with the word ‘Sponsored’ on the top that appears on your feed five times a day would undoubtedly turn some people off.


Again, the effectiveness of ‘Sponsored’ post comes into question. Unlike the other two platforms, the 240 character limit also severely limit what a brand can spread in terms of their messages. On the other hand: quick, concise, and catchy tweets can work wonders!

Often, companies and brands have taken a much more unique approach when it comes to branding themselves on Twitter: instead of focusing too much on pushing the newest product or announcing their latest campaign, they’ve adopted personalities. Akin to human interaction, these social-savvy companies opted out of marketing in the most traditional sense and seek to build rapport and relationship with their audiences.

Wendy’s sassy and funny personality has garnered internet fame

Creativity is never a bad thing when it comes to standing out from your opponents. Simply paying Twitter to have your post pushed to the priority section on everyone's’ newsfeed is no longer a viable way of ensuring your popularity as a brand. It never hurts to crack a few jokes here and there.

Thus, if you are thinking of Twitter as a possible platform, it’s time to start treating your audience as a friend to talk to. Don’t be shy to be more casual, more fun, and most importantly, be authentic- it’s really easy to see through the company’s marketing techniques nowadays.  

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