Yesterday, I was scrolling through Instagram when an ad popped up on my newsfeed. It was a vegan recipe by an influencer. The ad was pretty creative, so I went to the influencer’s profile to check out their other posts.
To my surprise, I couldn’t find that particular ad anywhere on their profile. Strange, right? Later, I learnt that this was an influencer marketing strategy known as dark posting.
Sound intriguing? I thought so, too. Let’s find out what it actually is!
What Is Influencer Dark Posting?
Influencer dark posts are unpublished targeted ads on Instagram or Facebook and do not show up on the influencer’s page or stories. They usually consist of whitelisted ads and are targeted at a specific audience. For example: vegans.
Dark posting is a type of brand-influencer collaboration where the brand gets the influencer to advertise their products in an organic way. This post is then turned into a targeted ad- aka a dark post.
Dark posts cannot be found organically. This means that people outside of the targeted group will not be able to see the ad at all. They can be distinguished by the “sponsored” label on the top right corner and usually have a call-to-action button on the bottom- such as “shop now.”
What Are The Benefits of Influencer Dark Posting?
Despite their ominous name, dark posts are an amazing social media advertising strategy with a variety of benefits, both for the brands as well as the influencers.
#1 They are more authentic than normal brand-generated ads
The question of how to create ads that look organic is something that plagues all brands. Influencer dark posting provides the perfect solution for this by offering the middle ground between organic content and sponsored ads.
Since dark posts are influencer-generated content, and are posted under the influencer’s handle, they tend to be more authentic than normal ads. Moreover, people tend to trust the recommendations of influencers over brand-created ads, so not only do you get to promote your product, you also get to add a relatable and human touch to it. It’s a win-win situation if you ask me.
#2 They help you reach your specific target audience
When it comes to traditional ads, you can target a specific audience based on several factors such as age, geography, interests etc. But what happens if you want to get even more specific? For example, breaking down one audience into several groups.
Let’s say the target audience is women and you want to break them down even further into different age groups. This is where dark posting comes in handy. It allows for more precision and lets you customize your ad to target both the groups.
For example, if you sell beauty products and want to create a custom ad copy for women between 18-40 years and another one for those above 40 years old, you can do it with dark posting! Each group will only see the ad that was designed for them.
#3 You can carry out A/B testing
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a process where you create different versions of your ad to see which one gets the more engagement. But you need to target both the versions towards the same specific group, say, women above 40 years of age.
A random half of this group would be shown version A of the ad, while the other half would be shown version B. Whichever version gets the most engagement (clicks, conversions, comments, shares) is the winner!
You can experiment with different images, CTAs, headlines, and even the ad copy.
#4 You get to access the ad metrics which helps you perfect your other content
Normally, the insights for the sponsored posts that an influencer posts will not be available to you unless the influencer shares them with you. Because the ads are posted by the influencers on their handle, obviously.
But that is not the case with dark posts. Even though they appear through the influencer’s handle, you still get full access to post metrics. This gives you a deeper understanding of what your customers like. You can, then, use this information to perfect your other campaigns as well as social media content.
#5 You get an increase in reach as well as engagement
Like I mentioned above, users tend to trust the word of influencers over brands. This is because influencers have already established trust with their followers. Moreover, they bring a unique type of authenticity to sponsored ads that cannot be replicated in brand-generated content.
Since dark posts are not traditional ads, they tend to receive more engagement from users. Another advantage is that you also get to expand your reach because the ads will be seen by the influencer’s followers as well as your specified target audience.
You also have the opportunity to create lookalike audiences. A lookalike audience is a set of new people who share similar characteristics to your influencer’s followers. Your ads will target them as well since they are very likely to be interested in your business.
All of this naturally translates to a higher conversion rate!
#6 You get to increase the shelf life of influencer-generated content
Let’s say you pay an influencer to promote your brand through their posts/ stories/ reels. All of these types of content have a shelf life. No matter how good the content is, once new posts appear on the feed, these will get tamped down. For stories, the shelf life is a mere 24 hours.
As a brand, you would obviously want your content to be circulated around for longer. The best way to do that is to repurpose influencer-generated content into dark posts. This way, you can be sure that your ads have reached a larger portion of users.
You also get to reduce creator fatigue because you will have ready-made ads in the form of influencer-generated content.
#7 Your feed doesn’t look spammy
When it comes to running a social media page, it is crucial to find the perfect balance between advertisements and organic content. This is true both for brands as well as influencers. Too many sponsored ads in one go, and influencers will lose the trust of their followers.
Since dark posts don’t appear on your newsfeed or your influencer’s page, you have the freedom to create and post as many as you want, with each one targeting a different audience.
Bonus: Dark posts are supported by almost all the popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. So you can create and run dark posts across all platforms!
How To Create And Post a Dark Post?
- Get whitelisting permissions from your influencer. Read this article to find out how to do that.
- Once that is done, open Facebook Ads Manager and select “create.” Under post type, select “unpublished page post.”
- Select the influencer’s Facebook page and Instagram handle. This is the handle through which the dark post will be published.
- Select the format for the dark post.
- Fill in the details such as the headline, body of the ad, and CTA.
- Click publish!
Influencer dark posting may just become the secret weapon that lets you increase your conversions and get ahead of your competitors. Choose the right influencer, create compelling dark posts, and hyper-target the specific audiences you want! But don’t forget to share this article before you jump into creating dark posts.