Disclosure. It’s a popular yet tricky topic at the moment, but we here at We Are Anthology have some pretty firm beliefs on the matter.
The American FTC (Federal Trade Commission) recently put in place regulation around sponsored and advertorial content in the states, clarifying that disclosures are necessary and must not be hidden or misleading. Any U.S. blog post or social media mention that could be considered influential, if the product was gifted or the content was compensated, must clearly advise audiences of such compensation. Their one main rule: disclosure. The rest is down to perception. The FTC asks for it to be obvious that the content is sponsored, but doesn’t provide any stringent guideline on how obvious is obvious.
They have noted that hidden hashtags, whether it be in comment sections or tagged on the end of another, are not permissible, and they must be in a clear, easy-to-read font when in blog content. No longer does “#sp” cut it, sorry Scott Disick. (read full info on this here)
We may not yet have any established regulation in New Zealand regarding disclosure, but with the increase in influencer marketing across the country, we think it’s important that this is an issue that gets raised.
We fully believe in the power of influencer marketing, and we’ve worked on many compelling campaigns over the last two and a half years that have proved its legitimacy. In fact, a TapInfluence study showed that influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI, and emotional attachments to modern-day influencers are 7x higher than traditional celebrities. A Markerly study found that followers tend to engage more with disclosed, sponsored content than non-sponsored content across most follower ranges. That’s when you know influencer marketing has been done right!
We don’t believe in misleading your audiences – if you were gifted something from PR or a brand, tell your audience! If a post is sponsored or advertorial, tell them again! People are smart – advertising isn’t an unknown occurrence, and people will more often than not know when you’re trying to sell them something. The benefit of influencer marketing is harnessing the influence that these people have and being able to access their well-engaged audience, it’s not to sneak your messages into the manipulated brains of Instagram users.
So here's the plan for 2017 content from us, and our WAA guide to disclosure:
On a paid-for blog post: at the beginning, state that you are working with *brand* to produce this content.
On a blog post containing content about PR gifts: make a note at the beginning saying, “products marked with an * have been gifted to me, all opinions are my own” and put an * next to gifted products.
On a paid-for Instagram & Facebook post, clearly state, “this post has been created in conjunction with *brand*”
Easy peasy, right!?