Last week Kanye posted to Instagram, parental advisory,
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We know what you’re thinking. So we’ll get straight to it: What is an API? And why does Instagram have one?
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Everything You Need To Know About Paid Partnerships On The Internet
You’ve seen it before, it’s an aesthetically pleasing photo or video, with great product placement, posted by an Instagram user with high engagement, followed by a caption with the hashtags, #sponsor or #ad on the post. This is influencer marketing. Before we get into how the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) plays a roll in all this, a little background on influencer marketing and its rise is helpful.
Influencer marketing is rapidly taking precedence over traditional marketing forms like print and video advertising. Why is this you ask? A recent study by Tomson Blog answered that. Followers of Instagram users with high following and most importantly, a high engagement rate, have all bought into and can relate to that particular Instagram users and the products they’re endorsing. Brands are noticing. The return on influencer marketing is high, according to Tomson Blog, “51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing,” and because of that “59% of marketers plan to increase their budget over the next twelve months.”
Brands and marketing agencies are all privy to this new wave of marketing, so it’s no wonder why the FTC is in on this too. The FTC conducts investigations and brings cases involving endorsements made on behalf of an advertiser under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which generally prohibits deceptive advertising. Put simply and among other things, the FTC regulates paid social media posts to ensure users are truthful in their posts. FTC Rules – Advertising & Marketing.
After taking notice of this new wave of marketing, the FTC not only issued guidelines, but also charged individual social media influencers for neglecting proper disclosures on paid posts. To help keep the FTC from knocking at your door, we’ve compiled four important takeaways from the newly issued guidelines.
If it will affect your credibility, disclose.
If the gift or incentive would affect the weight or credibility of your review the chances of you posting it for your followers to see, then it should be disclosed.
Disclosure should be clear and conspicuous.
To make a disclosure “clear and conspicuous,” the disclosure should stand out, and you should use plain and clear language. Disclosures should be
close to the claims to which they relate;
in a font that is easy to read;
in a shade that stands out against the background.
for video ads, on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and understood;
for audio disclosures, read at a cadence that is easy for consumers to follow and in words consumers will understand.
Because it is likely readers would understand the hashtags “contest or #sweepstakes to mean the post(s) were made as part of a contest, you need to use those hashtags to make it clear.
The use of “#ambassador” or “thank you” is ambiguous and confusing to a consumer, who is not up to speed with influencer marketing.
If you’re an influencer, a brand, or marketing agency, be sure to familiarize yourself and apply these guidelines to your practice.