Some of you asked about why influencers add #sponsored or #ad in a blog or instagram post. Truthfully, before I started blogging, I thought it was weird and annoying when bloggers would add those hashtags. It wasn’t until I started receiving products from companies that I realized why bloggers do it–it’s the law!
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the federal agency that is charged with protecting consumers and preventing unfair business practices, requires influencers disclose partnerships. “Its guidelines require that advertisers and influencers, alike, disclose material connections so that consumers can make purchasing decisions accordingly.” . This means that if a brand or retailer pays an influencer to post about it or its products online, or to tag its products on Instagram, for example, it must be clearly indicated. #Ad and #Sponsored are common examples of such language. Basically, influencers are required to post this so that they are being honest about the product they are endorsing!
Here is an excerpt from an interesting article over the topic with the link attached below!
The rise of fashion industry influencers has been accompanied by a significant spike in federal truth in advertising law violations, particularly from the industry’s most followed influencers and brands. As we told you earlier this year, fashion’s most successful personal style bloggers and major fashion and cosmetics brands, alike, are at the center of a truly massive deceptive marketing scheme that has the effect of misleading consumers.
An array of recent studies has shown that consumers, particularly millennial ones, do not respond most heavily when they know something is an ad. In theory, they are much more likely to engage with a brand or blogger/influencer and purchase something promoted by said blogger/influencer if they think the endorsement is authentic, and not because the individual was paid to endorse it. As such, it is a very common tactic for bloggers to either disclose in a way that is not obvious or fail to disclose material connections altogether for this exact purpose – both of which amount to willful violations of the FTC Act.
So, when a blogger isn’t disclosing they have a partnership with a company or retailer, they are probably in violation of the law. Yikes! However, if a blogger purchases an item, they don’t have to disclose that. On the other hand, if a blogger receives anything of value, in exchange for a post or advertising of their product, the blogger must disclose. If you are a blogger and are wondering specifics, here is a link to the FTC’s website, which outlines the law! This article is also extremely helpful for bloggers as well: The Annual Brand and Influencers Report
Thanks for reading! Please comment with questions.