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New FTC Requirements for Influencers that Impact Brand Marketers

This week, the FTC announced a major update that may impact your influencer marketing programs. 

The FTC released a new disclosures guide for influencers. While the intent behind the FTC’s rule on disclosures remains the same, this new 101 guide for influencers provides updated guidance on how that direction should be interpreted, which could have major effects, especially for brands who participate in product gifting and affiliate programs. 

New Influencer FTC Requirements
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For complete details, please read the blog post from our sister company, Carusele: Latest FTC Requirements for Influencers Have Major Implications for Brand Marketers

New Clarifications for FTC Requirements

  1. Disclosures in bios or general disclosures are not enough. The disclosure must be in close proximity to the promoted product and clear about the relationship. 
  2. Written disclosures like “thanks to brand X for sending me product Y” are okay only if the product was all the influencer received
  3. Specific examples of appropriate short-form disclosures have been expanded to include #AcmePartner and #AcmeAmbassador (where Acme, the brand name, is included).
  4. Influencers must disclose even when they were not asked to post!  

FTC Requirements that Haven’t Changed

  1. FTC Disclosures must be made when there is a financial, employment, family or other personal relationship at play. 
  2. Influencers must disclose if they’ve been provided anything of value, including free or discounted product or affiliate payouts
  3. Disclosures in post copy must appear BEFORE a user has to click “read more”
  4. Disclosures in video or social stories must be large enough and on-screen long enough for the average user to recognize them clearly. 

The Implications for Brands

  • For Ignite Social Media & Carusele clients: These updates actually loosen the conservative approach we’ve always taken to ensuring our campaigns comply with FTC guidelines. We will be updating our FTC requirements for influencers to give them more flexibility in how they disclose while still complying with the latest guidance. 
  • For brands engaging influencers in affiliate programs: Going forward, influencers will have to clearly disclose their relationship with you.  To-date, affiliate programs have been appealing to brands not only for the pay-for-performance model but also because anyone could promote the brand with low brand risk or oversight. Going forward, the required disclosures that clearly tie influencers to the brand should make brands more cautious about which influencers are accepted into affiliate programs and what those participating in these programs are saying about your brand and products.  It’s not uncommon for influencers to make unsubstantiated claims or deliver misinformation (unknowingly) about products when the brand isn’t looking over their shoulder. 

We know these updates can be a lot to keep up with, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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