Why it’s good business for influencer marketing to embrace disclosure rules

Why it’s good business for influencer marketing to embrace disclosure rules

Influencer marketing creators and brands stand to gain from proper disclosure – writes Scott Guthrie

Regulators are cracking down on brands and influencers who fail to adhere to the rules governing online advertising, sponsorship and endorsements. Effective disclosure of influencer marketing content falls into three domains:

As consumers we don’t like feeling hoodwinked. To obfuscate a commercial arrangement between brand and influencer does far more harm than good to both parties. We won’t buy from brands if we feel duped. We won’t follow influencers if we feel they haven’t been honest with us.

Influencers should be led by the carrot of enlightened self interest rather than be feel hit by the stick of regulation.

Six in 10 marketing and PR professionals admit to flouting the UK’s official code around influencer marketing according to a survey byTakumi, an Instagram broker connecting creators with brands.

Reported inPR Weekthe survey of 500 communications professionals found that just 37% admitted to fully adhering to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code of conduct, while one in eight people surveyed said they did not know “at all” what the code was.

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Worst still out of those that were familiar with the recommendations, over a third actively chose not to adhere. This is down either a reluctance to be transparent about paid-for content or a lack of understanding about the what and hows of complying with the code.

Apparent widespread non disclosure of paid-for content is not confined to the UK.Adweek reports that in the United States if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided to audit publishers’ native ads today, around 70% of websites wouldn’t be compliant with the FTC’s latestguidelines, according to a report from MediaRadar.

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In the UK misleading readers or viewers falls foul of consumer protection law and could result in enforcement by either the Competition and Mergers Authority (CMA) or Trading Standards Services, which may lead to civil and/or criminal action.

Ketchum colleague, Stephen Waddington, has written about how the CMA is placing sponsors under closer scrutiny in a postUK government agency spotlights disclosure in online ads and sponsored content.

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Further guidance on the Consumer Protection Regulations can be found on theCMA’s webpages.

In the US the FTC is exerting its authority ensuring visibility of sponsored and advertising.

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