So, CAP has issued fresh guidelines for influencer marketing but will it make a difference? According to a recent survey, a surprising proportion of consumers still remains in the dark, with 77% unaware what the #sp hashtag stands for (‘sponsored’) and 48% even unsure what the #ad hashtag means.
As a result of confusion over how brands and influencers label paid-for content, it remains a big issue. In response to this problem, CAP (the Committee of Advertising Practice) has issued a fresh set of guidelines to help social influencers and brands stick to the rules.
So, what does this mean for you and how will it impact the future of influencer marketing?
Well, when it comes
to affiliate marketing deals, CAP states that all ‘marketing communications must be obviously identifiable’. In other words, brands and influencers should ensure that any paid-for content is clearly labelled as an advert.
The guidelines put forward by CAP are certainly not new, but they are now emphasising that influencers should be more aware of the differences between platforms in order to recognise how to label sponsored content accordingly.
For example, on platforms like Instagram where images are visible before text, the word ‘ad’ should be overlaid so that users are aware before they click through. Alternatively, where a vlog might include a minute or so of content related to affiliate products, this should be flagged (even if it doesn’t require the video to be labelled as an ad overall).
Ultimately the new guidelines reinforce the notion that there is no blanket approach to labelling branded content, but that it is vital that consumers know when they are viewing ads.
— FashionFundi (@TarrynCandi) May 18, 2017
Born Social’s survey suggests that consumers look down on sponsored content, with 48.7% of people trusting a recommendation to a lesser extent if they know an influencer is being paid. However, a poll by Kantar Millward Brown suggests that, in contrast, teenagers are becoming more receptive to brand content. In addition to this, it also states that 35% of 35-49-year-olds in the UK also feel positive towards content relating to products, services and other brand info.
While these findings might sound contradictory, there is one common thread – that transparency is key.
Regardless of how a person might feel about brand content in general, deliberately hiding or failing to disclose it will only do more harm than good.