Are you a social media influencer? Or, do you use influencers as part of your promotional strategy?

If so, and you’re active in the UK market, make sure you’re following the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines. Several big brands such as Bohoo, Missguided & PrettyLittleThing have been caught out on this in recent months.

When a brand gives an influencer a payment, any posts the influencer makes that promotes or endorses the brand or its products/services become subject to consumer protection law. Even if you don’t get ‘paid’ for endorsing a product or brand – if you are given products, gifts or free hotel accommodation, for example – this could also be considered payment/reciprocal arrangement. It’s not a problem if you are paid, but you must make it clear when you endorse a product. Other things to look out for include getting paid for every sale or click-through to a product from your content. It sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Last year, the ASA monitored the Instagram accounts of over 120 UK-based influencers over a three-week period and found that only 35% of Instagram Stories were clearly identified as ads. 

Woman buying toiletries. Source: Canva, June 2021

As a result, the ASA has recently released easy-to-understand guidelines for influencers and has made it clear that they will take action on those brands/retailers who fail to disclose or clearly identify paid-for content. This applies to all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and, TikTok.  Basically, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code states that any form of marketing communications that is paid for must be ‘obviously identifiable as such’. This might must mean adding #ad or #spon to the post, where appropriate. It’s not much to ask, is it?

To download a copy of the ‘Influencers guide to making clear that ads are ads’, go to INFLUENCERGuidanceupdatev6HR.pdf ( It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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