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Influencer marketing is set to become a major focus for businesses as they venture into branded content to engage their audience deeper, a top Facebook executive said.

“Branded content and influencer marketing have seen a huge uptick in the last 6-12 months," said Arun Srinivas, director of global business group at Facebook India. “Hundreds of creators are available for brands to create branded content in their own languages. For instance, a make-up brand can use make-up artists/creators to promote itself or a fashion brand can leverage a fashion creator to unveil its new range of clothes," he added.

According to Srinivas, ads like that seem more authentic and less scripted and tend to work well with users. “Whenever there is a hallmark of authenticity in ad campaigns, that really works," he said.

Srinivas also said Facebook is working closely with ad regulator Advertising Standards Council of India to ensure transparency in branded content advertisements.

Instagram introduced advertisements on its TikTok-like short video format Reels in June. However, Srinivas said advertisers such as Colgate, Nykaa, and Spotify have already been leveraging Reels format to reach out to their target audiences and achieve high brand recall. “Reels allow brands to build engaging content. It’s not about rendering the same creative of 30-second TV ad or 15-second ad because the consumer will not be hooked on to it," he noted.

Facebook claimed that over the last three months, more than 6 million Reels were produced in India, giving brands an opportunity to leverage the format’s popularity to connect with users.

“With large-scale content being developed on Reels and many more languages, I’m sure the penetration of Instagram will increase in the country. This will allow businesses that are relevant to these audiences to start exploring the platform. HDFC Bank, for instance, was one of the first to adopt Reels and launch Muh band karo campaign to warn customers about scammers that use personal information of users."

According to him, ‘Discovery Commerce’ is set to become a big trend on a platform such as Instagram. Unlike e-commerce where customers actively search for products, discovery commerce allows users to discover brands on platforms such as Instagram through their feed and stories basis their interest and hobbies.

“This will drive the next phase of digital growth," Srinivas said. 

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