Influencer marketing: whitelisting vs dark posting

Influencer marketing: whitelisting vs dark posting

Julie Cauville

Julie Cauville

December 23, 2022

Influencer whitelisting and dark posting are two commonly used marketing techniques that enable brands to interact with the average consumers. A growing number of companies are building strategies that surround one or more of these techniques because of the general return on investment they can get. 

Roughly 70% of all social media users follow a minimum of 10 influencers, meaning these techniques can work in favour of companies looking to broaden their reach and connect with new audiences. In addition, the ROI is higher with whitelisting and dark posting because brands have the opportunity to advertise to their ideal audience, ensuring the ad displayed will resonate with most of the consumers who see it.

While whitelisting and dark posting are widely used in the United States, you can still become a pioneer for European brands like yours that want to strengthen their online presence and build brand communities. At least 50% of businesses are taking whitelisting efforts seriously, with many more anticipated to follow suit. Additionally, 90% of influencers believe whitelisting is mutually beneficial, allowing brands to target direct audiences while increasing engagement and helping these individuals get more followers!

You may wonder whether these techniques are worth trying and which one you should go for first. Before you begin building your strategy, it's vital to understand influencer whitelisting and dark posting and the differences between the two.

1. Influencer whitelisting explained

Before properly implementing influencer whitelisting into your marketing strategy, you need to know what it means and how it can help you expand your reach, connect with new audiences, and gain the impressions you want and need!

1.1 What is whitelisting?

Whitelisting is a form of marketing that occurs when an influencer allows a brand to run paid advertisements under their account. As a business owner, you would have a legally binding contract with the influencer that allows you to use their account solely for the purpose of running the advertisements. You can create these advertisements in your own ad accounts section, tailoring them to fit the audience you wish to reach. Although best known as whitelisting, some people refer to this as advertising access, which is essentially the same thing. 

With whitelisting, you're essentially paying an influencer to run advertisements from their page. And while this will cost you money, it's not bad because you can reach more people, get more impressions, and gain plenty of traffic that converts. Influencers are often open to this opportunity because they benefit from allowing the ads to appear under their names and can earn money without putting in any effort.

This is an example of influencer whitelisting seen via a partnership between Instagram Business and plant brand Prick. Sponsored content ran on the official @prickldn account Stories with a paid partnership tag for Instagram Business and focused on how the business got its start on the platform.

Instagram Stories from @prickldn

1.2 Where did whitelisting come from?

By 2010, influencer marketing was on the rise, offering brands an effective avenue for boosting product recognition. The emergence of reality TV shows like 16 & Pregnant, Teen Mom, and Jersey Shore at the same time highlighted influencers with substantial followings. Recognising the potential, brands began seeking ad access from these influencers as a straightforward means to connect with and appeal to their target audiences.

Whitelisting has since evolved into something spectacular. It has created opportunities for both brands and influencers to get the attention and recognition they need to have more success in the digital age.

1.3 How to set up whitelisting on Facebook

Now, let's say you want to set up whitelisting on Facebook. If you don't know how to use it, it's quite simple. First, you will need to have a business Facebook page for your brand. As long as you have that, you can take the following steps to prepare for using whitelisting as a tactic on Facebook:

  1. Go to your business settings, click on the “Users” section, and then click on the “Partners” text underneath the “Users” section.
  2. Once you click “Partners,” you will see two options – Give a partner access to your assets OR Ask a partner to share their assets.
  3. Click to give the partner access to your assets, insert your Facebook business manager ID, and then click “Next.”
  4. You should now see Assets and Permissions, which you can choose to allow your brand partner to have access to.
  5. Next, you select the Facebook page assets you can use for whitelisting, alter the permissions settings, and begin creating advertisements. Be sure to create custom advertisements for each influencer you plan to partner with to do whitelisting.

It’s a simple, step-by-step process that you can achieve in a matter of minutes to take full advantage of what whitelisting offers. Once you start a whitelisting campaign, you should notice an increase in traffic, impression, and views, which can also lead to a drastic increase in overall sales.

1.4 What brands are using whitelisting?

Hundreds of brands are using whitelisting to their advantage. Hello Fresh is a prime example of a company using celebrity Mandy Moore for its whitelisting marketing approach. The company has also worked with famous actress Jessica Alba to create sponsored posts that resonate with the audience.

Quip, a brand known for its innovative electric toothbrush, has also honed in on the opportunity to use whitelisting to its advantage, partnering with social media influencers to expand its reach. These are just two of the many brands that have started utilizing this cost-efficient method of marketing to increase their return on investment. Most brands are realizing the importance of whitelisting and are focused on building a strategy around it.

2. Influencer dark posting explained

Dark posting isn't the same thing as whitelisting, although both are commonly used as an integral part of a brand's marketing strategy. With dark posting, brands can create ads on an influencer's page that wouldn't appear on their profile or the news feed. However, these ads appear in the feeds of other people, specifically targeted based on their demographics. Brands use dark positing to provide a custom-tailored experience that can boost engagement rates and help them connect with their targeted audiences like never before. Through these carefully curated posts, they can offer products they feel viewers would be most interested in from a list of their brand's offerings.

Bigblue Tips
Bigblue client ROWSE uses Influencer Whitelisting on Facebook Ads to reduce their CAC by 30% and increase their ROAS by 5X!

2.1 How to set up dark posting on Facebook?

Setting up dark posting on Facebook is just as easy as whitelisting. Follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Start by visiting the Facebook Ad Manager tool that provides direct access to ads-related services, such as page posts and audience insights.
  2. Select the “Page Posts” section, and then you will see the option to create an unpublished page post.
  3. While creating an unpublished page post, you will see that you can decide how you want to use the post, whether solely as an ad or as an advertisement that gets displayed on the page later.
  4. Don't forget to choose your audience. Facebook makes it easy to select who you want to see your ads based on different factors, such as their location, age, gender, interests, and more.

Getting started with dark posting isn't nearly as complicated as some make it out to be. In fact, if you follow these simple directions, you will be ready to create these posts that can help you target specific people based on their likelihood of buying the products your brand offers. It's a highly effective way of marketing to the right people while ensuring you get the most out of every ad dollar spent. If your goal is to get the best return on investment, dark positing is an excellent option to consider.

2.2 What brands are using dark posting?

BuzzFeed, a popular American internet media company known for sharing the latest on celebrities, trending products, and more, is one of the thousands of companies using dark posts to reach their ideal audience. But it's not the only company using dark posting to make its mark in the digital world.

Plenty of others, such as Rent The Runway, Kate Spade, and Get Quip, are doing the same. In fact, Rent The Runway receives 94% of its customers through its organic approach to marketing, which includes whitelisting and dark posting, both of which have proven effective. Some of your favourite brands are integrating dark posting into their marketing strategy to achieve better results.

The advantages of dark posting are tremendous, making it a technique worth implementing for brands of all sizes, big and small. With dark posts, influencers can have unpublished posts displayed specifically to certain people that fit within the demographics brands wish to target based on the products they're offering.

In addition, you can use these posts to conduct split tests, discovering which advertisements connect better with the audience and help you earn a more significant return on your investment. If you haven’t already added whitelisting and dark posting to your marketing strategy, now is the time to do so.

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