ftc, federal trade commission, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, influencers,

New FTC guidelines for affiliate and influencer marketing

In an effort to combat deceptive reviews and endorsements online, new FTC guidelines have been launched to strengthen advertising regulations that will affect every single affiliate partner and influencer.

The long-awaited reworking of the guidelines by the Federal Trade Commission outlines changes to marketing guidelines and covers everyone that might endorse a product, including bloggers, influencers, affiliates, agencies, advertisers, etc.

According to the FTC announcement, the changes include revisions such as organising, procuring, suppressing, and otherwise tampering with reviews, incentivising fake or negative reviews of a competitor, and extending the definition of “endorsements” to cover fake reviews, virtual influencers, and tags in social media.

Another important point to affiliates and influencers is that the FTC guidelines have highlighted child-directed advertising, endorsers and intermediaries as “of special concern” and they have pointed out that influencers cannot rely on built-in social media disclosure tools as they “may not be adequate”.

Practical requirements include the need to disclose any material connections to a brand you are endorsing, the need to be “clear and conspicuous” in your endorsements, not mixing up your disclosure amongst a block of text like a lengthy caption or adding just #ad in tiny font on a Story, and to disclose them in more than the description of videos and podcasts.

So, the main point of ire to the FTC is all the moves influencers are famed for doing when endorsing a brand and disguising it merely as an unpaid review. It has long been a point of conversation amongst audiences with many famous YouTubers and TikTokers causing uproar with inadequate disclosure.

Affiliates, will need to brush up on their regulatory requirements especially in industries where restrictions around marketing are more regulated. Affiliate managers who promote programs in the US are likely going to need to brush up on these latest guidelines in order to navigate the new affiliate world without landing a fine, or worse, a bad reputation.

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