With the rise of social media, the ASA has finally set the rules for sponsored content in stone. With their influencer marketing guide they explain the rules that should be adhered to when promoting your brand on their social media channels. And like it or not you're responsible to make sure the influencers you work with, mark their sponsored content as ads.
What counts as an ad?
Whenever you are paying an influencer, have editorial control over the influencers' content, whether the social media influencers are running a giveaway or prize draws for your brand/products, or are sharing links that redirect their followers to your site or if you are partnering with affiliates to promote your products. It is considered an #AD, and influencers must identify it as such.
How to disclose
You may think that disclosure lies in the hands of the influencer, but it is both your's and the influencer's (publishers) responsibility to ensure that the content is obviously stated as an ad. Disclosure doesn't mean just simply inserting a hashtag between a sea of hashtags.
Consumers must recognise that something is an ad without having to interact with it.
Whichever channel this may be on, the influencer needs to be upfront.
Instagram/Facebook: Adding disclosure at the start of the caption, or before the "see more" fold
YouTube/ Blog Post: Adding Disclosure in the title, thumbnail, or image.
Disclosure has to be in an obvious place and at first view of the post. Types of disclosure include the labels such as :
- Ad/Advertising/Advertisement Feature
Labels such as in association with, sponsorship, spon, or just mentioning your brand, are riskier so it's best to steer away from them.
If anyone complains about a sponsored post regarding your brand, and a problem is found with it you will be informed and the influencer will be asked to change or remove it.
Irrespective of the consequences, you should always make sure that the influencers make it obvious that they are advertising your brand.
It also seems as though ultimately brands bear the burden of compliance, as 84% of influencers will only disclose their posts if they have been asked to by the brand. ZINE's research also found that obvious disclosure of sponsored content does not negatively impact consumer buying behaviour, as 61% of consumers don’t even look to see if a post is sponsored or not.
So it's up to you to keep out of trouble and avoid the risk of being named and shamed.
You can find out more about the Influencer's guide to making sure that your ads are marked as such here.
ZINE flags influencer posts which aren’t compliant to the regulations when you are approving content, making sure you play by the rules. Go ahead and give it a go, request your demo today.
I'm head of Content at ZINE, where I use my expertise in fashion consumer psychology to empower brands and influencers in their marketing campaigns. I love to travel, bake as well as shopping online.