The UK advertising watchdog has warned social media influencers that they could be reprimanded, after the ASA found that the rules were not followed in relation to clear labelling of ads and branded content. The Advertising Standards Authority checked the Instagram accounts of 122 UK influencers during September, a task which involved assessing over 24,000 posts over a three-week period. The ASA found that nearly a quarter of these posts were ads paid for by branded partnerships, but that only 35% of them, were clearly labelled as ads.

Advertising Regulations for Social Media Accounts

It’s easy to get confused about the rules, so here’s a quick refresher of what they look like.

Make sure the label is clear

‘Ad, ‘Advert’, ‘Advertising’, ‘Ad Feature’ are all acceptable labels for a sponsored post according to the ASA. With or without the #, the term itself needs to be clearly labelled and not hidden. ‘Sponsored’ or ‘#Spon’, ‘Supported by’ or ‘Funded by’ are considered to be insufficient terms for declaration of a paid-for partnership.

Know when you’re advertising

The consumer must clearly know when the content being shown to them is an advert. Any content that is paid for by the brand, is classified as an advert.

Be aware of other sector-specific codes 

There are separate ad requirements for different sectors (Food, Alcohol, Gambling) which must all comply with specific rules. Check these rules before signing off on content.

Visit the ASA’s complete guide to social media and influencer marketing for more details.

Find Out More About Social Media Marketing

Interested in learning more about using social media for advertising?

Have a look at these blogs:

Why your business should invest in social media
Future-proofing Your Social Strategy Post-COVID
Digital Marketing Strategy; the what, the why and the how

If you have any further questions, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the Wild Card team to find out more.