Learn the guidelines and enforcement from the FTC
There are plenty of great resources to help simplify the FTC guidelines on influencer marketing disclosures. We’ve written a lot in an effort to simplify the requirements and we’ve speculated on the future of regulation. You may feel like you know everything there is to know about the guidelines and don’t need any new information... but when the FTC speaks, it serves you well to listen.
The FTC held a Twitter chat to answer questions from marketers and influencers in the hopes of clarifying any lingering confusion and to provide direct access to their enforcement policy.
The FTC offered some helpful insights as well as some peculiar responses that generated even more confusion.
In terms of general disclosures and what the FTC will and won’t enforce, they were pretty clear that “ad” or “#ad” is their preferred disclosure. But they conceded that there can be other options as long as the nature of the relationship is made clear.
The FTC went further, providing some context on specific types of disclosures for different relationships and types of promotions.
If a significant portion of your followers don’t know that, the relationship should be disclosed. #Influencers101— FTC (@FTC) September 20, 2017
Determining whether followers are aware of a relationship could be tricky in many cases, so we recommend disclosure. #Influencers101— FTC (@FTC) September 20, 2017
And disclosures don’t just vary by relationship status, different disclosures on different networks are important as well.
When it comes to disclosures on specific networks though, the FTC curiously came out saying that built-in paid partnership tools weren’t necessarily enough for disclosure. For Instagram specifically, the paid partner tag appears the same way as the Sponsor tag which leaves us wondering why it wouldn’t be clear enough.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to being very up front about the influencer and brand relationship. If it is a paid partnership, there cannot be any potential confusion to the audience-- that is both the brand and the influencer’s responsibility to ensure. Additionally, the FTC has put together this helpful infographic to give you a quick summary of what you need to know. For a more detailed explanation, download the comprehensive ebook to the FTC guidelines.