The rise in social media influencers and sponsored content go hand in hand. Influencers earn good money creating content across social media; promoting products and services. However this influx of content led to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) creating the ‘Influencer’s Guide’, outlining the rules of sponsored content. Therefore we’ll discuss the new guide and what this’ll mean for the future of influencer marketing.
The guide; all you need to know
The Influencer’s Guide is made in collaboration with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). It outlines the rules around social media ads. These include: ASA’s definition of an ad, disclosing a post as an ad, CMA’s requirements and ASA’s ad complaints procedures. Although the laws aren’t new, the guide’s created to clarify how the laws outlined in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 apply to social media posts. Primarily, it’s illegal for brands and influencers to post sponsored content without disclosing it as such.
Disclosing sponsored content
The guidelines are a result of the CMA’s announcement of an investigation, following concerns over paid content disclosure. The post counts as an ad needing disclosure if someone gets remuneration, either as payment or in freebies, in addition to input or approval from a brand. Under the CAP’s code ads need to be identifiable as such, making it easier for consumers to decipher a post from an ad; removing any ambiguity. This is possible by adding labels like ‘ad’, ‘advert’, ‘advertising’ and ‘sponsored’ for example. In reality, it’s easy to see why this is a concern. Consumers rely on influencer’s opinions to buy goods and services. Deception is an issue if the consumer can’t distinguish between a paid and authentic opinion. Many influencers dispute unpaid collaborations as ad’s and say that it affects their reach. If you’d like to discuss this topic, feel free to ask our team.
Disclosing sponsored content has little effect on an influencer’s engagement according to research. Therefore, the future of influencer marketing targets product/service transparency; improving the consumer experience with clear, identifiable content. Although trust and authenticity is at the core of the influencer-follower relationship; transparency is key for all parties.