The Competition and Markets Authorities (CMA), the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), and the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) of UK have together issued guidelines for influencer disclosure in the UK on 23 January 2019.
The influencer disclosure guideline is a set of simple to follow rules that clearly explain how any influencer is supposed to disclose an ad online. It’s a must-read for every social media influencer as it can clear all your concepts regarding tagging posts and mentioning brands in case of a collaborated post.
The guideline clarifies on what constitutes an “ad” and how brands exercise “control” determines if the post is an ad or sponsored content. The crux is that the full disclosure is mandatory for every influencer taking money or gifts in exchange for a social media post. Now, let’s learn the details on how to make the ad disclosure and the mandatory do’s and don’ts.
The New Influencer Disclosure Guidelines:
When to disclose:
- If you’re promoting your own products or services, you need to disclose it with an ad disclosure.
- When you’re promoting affiliate products, a disclosure is needed every time you promote that product.
- If you’re promoting products in collaboration with a brand, then also an ad disclosure is needed. A promotion is called a collaboration when an influencer has received either monetary compensation or free gift/product/visit in exchange for the promotion.
If the brand is in control of the content of the ad or timing of the ad, then the ad falls under the CAP code and the CAP rules apply here. When the brand is not in control of the content or scheduling of the ad, then the ad comes under the CMA, and the CMA rules apply here. In either of the situations, disclosure is mandatory.
How to disclose:
There are two important elements to this, first is how often to disclose and second is how to place the disclosure.
How often to disclose the ad:
The rule states that every time you post a content that features a product from a brand, you need to add a disclosure to it even if you are not paid for it. This would make sure that influencers do not keep sharing the post and add a disclosure just once.
The time span for this has been given a year. Which means that if you added an #ad post this January, then whenever you share that sponsored product on your social media, you need to add a disclosure to it for an entire year.
How to place the disclosure:
According to the guidelines, the best way to place the disclosure is to place it at the beginning. The rules clearly state that just tagging the brand or mentioning the brand without #ad or ad in the content would not be considered a full disclosure. So, even if you’re tagging the brand, you still need to add the ad disclosure to it.
The rules also state that adding ambiguous disclosures like #spon would not be considered appropriate. The disclosure must be clear and easily understandable.
Having understood how to add disclosures to your posts, it’s also important to know what happens when you miss a disclosure. In such situations, if someone files a complaint, the ASA might formally or informally resolve the case with you depending on the situation. The cases are published here to maintain transparency. You can learn more about the rulings here.
I hope the article would have made adding disclosures crystal clear to you. If you still have any questions, please share them in the comments below and I will be happy to help.