What are Influencer Marketing Regulations and Why Are They Important?
In 2019, over 50% of marketers leveraged their digital campaigns using influencer marketing and this number is expected to grow even more in the coming years. Influencer marketing is the buzzword on every marketer’s lips, and it is arguably a form of marketing that we can attribute to the power of Generation Z.
As social users, we are accustomed to seeing glossy images and quick-witted Reels promoting different brands. But influencer campaigns involve more than just creative content ideas. Behind the scenes of influencer marketing, there is a whole host of documents, contracts and etiquette to be aware of. Since influencer marketing is becoming more commonplace in media, we need to be aware of influencer marketing regulations and laws.
Why are they important?
Influencer marketing regulations exist to protect both brands and consumers from being affected by spreading misinformation. With more than half of the world using social media in 2022, it is important that there are laws and regulations to protect consumers from reading harmful or misleading advertisements. Spreading false information is a big no-no in the influencer marketing world, and the UK has strict guidelines on how influencer ads are declared online (it’s not the same for every country.)
Laws and regulations are just there to protect consumers – but brands too. In 2021, the market size was valued at over 13 billion US dollars, and so thousands – sometimes millions – are funnelled into one campaign. With these high stakes, there are regulations in place to ensure both parties are protected financially and contractually.
What are some influencer marketing regulations?
In the UK, you can find an entire library of regulations related to online advertising. From TV and billboards to social media and radio, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates ads and manages complaints. If you are an influencer in the UK – or a brand working on an influencer campaign in the UK – you will need to ensure all of your work is compliant with the ASA guidelines.
For example, the ASA has very specific rules around how ads should be displayed by influencers in that they should be clear, understood by consumers and include the word “ad” in some capacity. If ad labels are in any way misleading or open for interpretation, they could be deemed unlawful.
Other regulations include making it obvious when a brand has gifted a product versus paid an influencer in monterey value. A gifted product is still deemed as a payment, although it is not a financial one so it must be labelled as such.
What other legalities are involved?
Clearly declaring ads comes under the umbrella of influencer marketing regulations, but there are other things associated with the legal side of influencer marketing. Let’s break each one down:
- Agreements and deliverables
- Ownership and copyright
Agreements and deliverables:
One of the first things that should be established is the deliverables, which should be clearly outlined in a partnership agreement. This is so everybody in the partnership understands what and what isn’t expected, and what the desired outcome is.
Think about: what kind of content needs to be produced? When will it be published? Are there any terms and conditions to these deliverables? These are all questions that need considering before they are formally written up.
Ownership and copyright:
Content produced for the purpose of an influencer campaign is considered intellectual property; as the creator has invented something using their artistic expression. Therefore, it is important to understand who has ownership over the content produced within a campaign – this will vary depending on who’s social media channels it will be posted on. As consumers, we are familiar with seeing influencers post their own ad content. However, sometimes brands purchase bulk content from creators to post on their own accounts.
Of course, payment comes with a variety of different regulations; particularly if you are working with an international brand or creator. International payments will require different forms and tax certificates. So make sure you research this before payments are made.
If a transaction is being made within the UK, there are generally less hoops to jump through; but it is still important to have a formal contract written declaring when payments will be processed.
Influencer marketing regulations can be tricky to understand but there are plenty of resources available that can explain the legal side of influencer marketing without the confusing, professional jargon.
If you’re looking to further your education in this area – and ensure your influencer campaigns are compliant – take a look at our workshop with Amy Ralston, who is a solicitor specialising in influencer marketing and intellectual property.
As well as this, you can complete our action plan and learn how to build an influencer campaign step-by-step. To access these resources, simply sign up as a Girls in Marketing member.