Here you go, at 4am EST write the below
The majority of us all follow influencers on social media, whether it’s for the latest fashion trend, fitness tips or ‘hinching’ your home. Following people we like, can relate to, or aspire to be like. Since ad-blocking has come into place, brands have now caught on to this power that is (literally) in the palm of their hands.
If your favourite beauty blogger starts posing with a box of protein powder you start to question the authenticity behind the post, have they even tried the product? Is their opinions genuine? Have they just been told what to do and say? If consumers feel any doubt they will quickly associate a negative view towards the brand and influencer, which in turn just wastes a whole heap of money. Instagram is currently a fantastic visual creative platform. However, if these fake ads end up over saturating our feed then there is a danger the platform may eventually die (dramatic I know, but true).
51% of people say their purchase has been influenced by an influencer. Fake reviews can harm consumers and this is when legal action may be put in place to investigate, especially if the influencer falsely represents themselves as a consumer. 46% of people have said to feel concerned about the misleading quality of a product.
Due to these issues, agencies and brands now value working with micro influencers as they usually have a very high engagement rate and sense of honesty within their community.
What is an #Ad?
Influencers need to understand that any type of commercial relationship needs to be stated, whether it’s gifted items, a service, hotels, loaned cars etc. This all replicates payment in some way. If the brand has any form of control over the content; by saying what to include in the post, key messages to portray, or specific dates to post then this is all control, and is therefore an #ad.
Influencers have mentioned before how they’re worried that writing #Ad on their post will lower their engagement, but this answers their own concern. If it lowers their engagement then it’s not the best-suited campaign for them to get involved in.
#Ad needs to be stated clearly at the beginning of a post (not hidden in the list at the end or only visible if you click ‘see more’), other terms the ASA accept is ‘kindly gifted by… ‘ or ‘in an ongoing partnership with…’ They do not accept ‘in collaboration/in association with… ‘, saying ‘thank you…’ or just tagging the brand. Note that #spon is also not accepted in the UK, this term has come from America.
It can quickly turn into a spiral of confusion, as according to the CMA, if an influencer has previously worked with ‘Brand X’ on an instagram #Ad, and then goes to ‘Brand X’ store, buys a brand new product out of their own money and free will, and then shares it on their Instagram. They should also mention that they have previously worked in partnership with ‘Brand X’. As this initial partnership would likely have influenced their second purchasing decision. This should be the case for up to a year.
From a client point of view, this is near impossible to track and control. Therefore this is when the influencer needs to take responsibility so they’re not misleading.