What Is Influencer Whitelisting? Brand Strategy Guide

May 17, 2022

What is your brand doing to take advantage of the creator economy?

Worth an estimated $100 billion, we’re talking about an army of thought leaders, KOLs, and influencers who are doing more than creating content - they’re engaging audiences and boosting conversions for brands who see the value of influencer marketing.

More than ‘digital billboards’, today’s influencers are walking brand advocates and salespeople. At the same time, when you’re investing your money in an influencer campaign, you want to see the best results possible.

Enter influencer whitelisting.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective strategy to drive leads and conversions, read on to find out more about influencer whitelisting and whether it’s right for you.

What is influencer whitelisting?

Alright, let’s start with a few key terms.

Influencer whitelisting is when a brand runs social ads through an influencer’s personal handle instead of their own brand account.

When influencers grant permission to run ads through their social media account, brands can reach new audiences by using the influencer’s authentic, organic content to create ads that outperform their own brand account.

This strategy allows brands to boost the reach of their ads AND target their desired audience with more accuracy. Even better, brands can tweak an influencer’s organic content as well as add “Learn More” or “Shop Now” button that help drive engagement

The Influencers AgencyTip: Shoppable posts are BOOMING right now. The global social commerce industry is predicted to reach an eye-watering $2.9 TRILLION by 2026. With influencer whitelisting you can combine the authenticity of influencers with the growth of shoppable posts for seriously powerful results.

Why would a brand want to run ads through an influencer’s account?

For the three sweetest letters in the English language…ROI.

As a brand, you already know the challenges that come with paid advertising. You can spend big on assets and pump money into a paid ad campaign only to see it fall flatter than a postcard (you might have first-hand experience of this already).

Whitelisting helps reduce wasted ad spend by tapping into an influencer’s audience. Instead of spending years building a fanbase, you can plug into an influencer’s ready-made following and advertise to a highly targeted audience. For example, if you’re a skincare brand partnering with a beauty influencer, your ads will be shown to an audience with the same interest and pain points as your target customers.

You’re strategically targeting audiences more likely to convert, boosting impressions, and lowering your cost-per-click.

Remember, influencers already create engaging, scroll-stopping content that people trust. Using this content - and the credibility of the influencer’s handle - provides a huuuuuge amount of value for brands who can start delivering ads that are more appealing and likely to outperform their own brand-owned content.

Brands can also take advantage of dark posts

Influencer whitelisting also gives your brand the ability to dark post. These are paid ads that run through an influencer’s handle - but don’t appear on the influencer’s feed, story, or timeline.

Why is this helpful?

An influencer’s audience won’t see the ads you’re running. This protects influencers who want to avoid clogging their follower’s feeds with sponsored content. But it still gives brands (like yours) the ability to leverage an influencer’s credibility to deliver genuine and trustworthy ads.

When done well, it’s hard to tell where an authentic influencer endorsement ends and where an ad begins… and that’s exactly the point. 

Wait, why would an influencer give up control of their account?

Great question.

Whitelisting is a mutually beneficial tactic that helps brands AND influencers.

A whitelisting campaign for influencers isn’t the same as handing over an Instagram password and letting a brand post selfies or shots of last night’s dinner (#yum).

As mentioned, whitelisting lets a brand take paid control of an influencer’s Facebook Ads Manager account (allowing for ads on Facebook and Instagram). Outside of financial compensation for access, influencers can enjoy significant boosts to engagement and increase their follower counts as branded ads target relevant audiences.

As an added bonus, whitelisting provides valuable insights that can be used to improve content because knowing what type of content drives engagement can help influencers deliver more value. And since whitelisting allows for dark posts, influencers can take on more branded work without exhausting their followers with endless sponsored posts.

Final thoughts: What type of influencers are best for whitelisting?

In a word - authentic influencers.

OK, that was two words. 

But the fact remains, whitelisting works best with influencers who create authentic, honest content that can take the “icky” feeling away from ads. White-listed ads take influencer-generated content (IGC) and repurpose it for your brand. 

Separating your ad from your brand and putting it onto an influencer’s personal handle adds instant credibility and helps drive ROI on your influencer marketing spend. Brands can reach audiences they know are responsive to branded content to drive clicks. And influencers can reach a wider audience and grow their following with new and engaged followers. 


If you’d like to learn more about influencer whitelisting, click here to learn how The Influencer Agency works

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