The Federal Trade Commission has tried for years now to patrol the wild west of influencer marketing. This time, it’s going straight to the source and appealing directly to the influencer mindset.
On Tuesday, the FTC came out with a new ad disclosure guide for influencers. “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers” outlines when and how influencers should disclose their partnerships with brands, regardless of whether or not the relationship includes payment.
The guidelines themselves are the same ones the FTC has previously shared, but this time the regulator has made its guide more user-friendly with condensed language, fresh examples, and photos and videos intended for sharing. The previous guide was reminiscent of a court document, with amendments and lists of examples that pertain more to companies approaching influencer marketing, rather than influencers posting on behalf of brands. It’s something companies might have their lawyers shift through, but an influencer from the world of quippy posts is unlikely to scroll through its pages for information and guidance.
“We are trying to make the guide more influencer-friendly,” says Michael Ostheimer, attorney in the division of advertising practices at the FTC. “Many consumers rely on influencers for their purchasing decisions. We want to do everything possible to ensure that experience is transparent.”
Osthemier says the FTC pulled the most salient points from its Revised Endorsement and Testimonial Guides, which were first composed in 2009 to take into consideration the rise of influencer marketing, and have since been updated twice. What was a 12-page document has become an eight-page resource that summarizes the language into clear wording and examples. The FTC has placed the guide on a new webpage alongside short videos, which it is sharing on its Twitter and YouTube channels to promote the document.