Upfront labelling in the form of #ad allows people to know when they’re being sold to, enabling them to make an informed judgment about the commercial intent behind it, says the ASA.
The recommendation follows an 18-month comprehensive review by the self-regulatory body into how and what kind of labels and other factors help people understand influencer posts and, if they are ads, to make an informed judgement about the commercial intent behind them.
Crucially, a visible and well understood disclosure, such as #ad, increased the likelihood of participants in the ASA’s research identifying influencer adverts as ‘definitely an ad’.
While the research also indicated that other presentational factors may be important to ensure influencer ad posts are obviously identifiable as ads, the ASA’s focus will be on ensuring influencers and brands are being upfront and clear with #ad.
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA, says: “The research tells us that all of us can find it hard to identify when an influencer is advertising, so it’s crucial that ads are labelled clearly. Our message to influencers and brands couldn’t be clearer: be upfront with followers, for example by using #ad.”
The ASA’s findings are consistent with IAB UK’s guidelines for online content-based and native ad formats, which state that influencers engaging in advertising should use a clear, upfront label such as #ad. View the guidelines here.
Want to know more about influencer marketing? Take a look at our latest YouGov research.