The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) have published fresh guidance for Irish influencers on the clear labelling of ads on social media.
The new guidance addresses paid promotion, items ‘gifted’ by brands or PR agencies, and the advertising of own-brand products and services.
Developed following extensive research, including experiments with eye-tracking technology and a survey of 500 social media users, the new guidance is designed to be accessible and it was reviews by a number of influencers.
Kevin O’Brien, Member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said:
“Our research found that consumers consistently overestimated their ability to identify influencer advertising. This guidance will support influencers to comply with their obligations under the law so that consumers know when they are being advertised to.”
Key points for Influencers to consider include:
- Use the hashtag #Ad
- A number of different hashtags (#IWorkWith, #OwnBrand) are currently used by influencers to indicate advertising. For the avoidance of confusion, all commercial content should now be labelled #Ad (or #Fógra for Irish-language posts)
- Hashtags must be instantly visible to consumers
- Posts about own brands must also be labelled as advertising
Orla Twomey, Chief Executive at the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, said:
“Consumers shouldn’t have to question if and when they are being advertised to – it should be instantly clear. The guidance takes account of developments in influencer marketing and provides clear and straightforward guidance for influencers and brands they work with, on how to correctly and clearly label and disclose advertising content on their social media channels, to ensure that consumers are not misled.
The fundamental requirement for any advertising to be identifiable as such has been in existence for over 40 years. This new joint guidance will continue to improve compliance in influencer marketing, and consumer awareness and understanding in this area.”
A programme of engagement is planned to ensure influencers are fully equipped to comply with their responsibilities under the law.