Under the FTC regulations, it’s mandatory for all the advertisers in the online space to clearly disclose their ads and promotions. Be it brands, social media influencers, bloggers, or marketers, it’s necessary for them to make it very clear to their target audience the nature of the product promotion and placement.
The first step against social media influencers by the FTC was taken in 2017 when the owners of CSGO Lotto Inc. created fake promotional posts to market their company. They created social media posts showing they won virtual currency on their site without mentioning that they own the site.
It is to protect the online users from such scam marketing techniques, that the FTC warned several influencers to clearly mention the material connection in their social media posts as per the FTC guideline. In this article, we will look at the do’s and dont’s of the influencer disclosure in the US .
Rules of Influencer Disclosure in the US as per the FTC:
Disclosure of material connection is mandatory:
As required by the law, it’s necessary for the social media influencers to disclose that there is a material connection between the advertisement and the endorser that might affect the credibility of the endorsement.
Even when the influencer is an employee or an owner or a business partner, a clear disclosure is mandatory.
Do’s and Don’ts of disclosure statement:
Disclosure should be clearly seen when the advertisement/social media post is posted. It should not be hidden under the “read more”/”show more” button or such.
If a social media influencer is a paid endorser, it must be stated that influencer is a paid endorser in every advertisement between an influencer and the brand. An influencer cannot mention paid sponsorship in a few posts, while skipping in others. It has to be mentioned in all.
Proper Disclosure format is necessary:
Just giving a disclosure is not enough, influencers have to keep in mind a few rules while adding disclosure to their posts.
Some of the do’s and don’ts of the disclosure format are:
– Usage of words like “ad” or “sponsored” in posts:
It’s required by influencers to use relevant words to indicate that the post is a paid endorsement. They can add words/hashtags like “ad” or “sponsored” in their posts.
But, influencers have to be mindful to avoid any abbreviation that might not speak outright that the post is an ad. For example, using #spon to a post may confuse readers and not imply a sponsored content.
– The relevance of the font and font color of the disclosure:
Writing your disclosure in small font or in the font color that’s same as background or that illegible can also be considered as a false disclosure. The disclosure should not merge with the background and should be easy to read.
Any attempt to hide the disclosure or indicative words like ad or sponsored by changing font and font style, will be considered suspicious.
– Clarity of disclosure on every device:
It can be assumed for social media influencers that their are disclosures are placed as such that they are easily readable on every device be it desktops, mobiles, or tablets. Scrolling should be preferably avoided to make the users read the disclosure on any device.
Final Summary on Influencer Disclosure in the US:
I hope the points and examples above will help influencers and brands understand the norms of influencer marketing. Respecting the influencer disclosure by the FTC will help influencers and their advertisements sustain in the long run.
This final summary chart will give you a good help in easily following the influencer disclosure.