- Influencer marketing firm SheSpeaks surveyed 347 influencers and found that 25% have been asked to not disclose paid posts by their brand partners, according to Ad Age.
- The study found that 95% of influencers have made it a point to disclose sponsored posts, while 91% said a brand has asked them to disclose that posts are part of paid campaigns.
- SheSpeaks founder and CEO Aliza Freud told Ad Age she was surprised by the survey’s findings: "Any decent influencers are highly aware that they have to disclose and do it properly."
This survey comes at a time when the Federal Trade Commission has announced it intends on actively cracking down on disclosures of paid posts in accordance with its sponsored advertising guidelines. The FTC has put advertisers on notice they — and not influencers — will be held responsible for any inadequate disclosures of paid posts.
SheSpeaks' Freud said she believes that the high number of advertisers asking influencers to not disclose paid posts comes as a result of marketers getting into influencer marketing without understanding the FTC requirements.
“We’ve been interested in deceptive endorsements for decades and this is a new way in which they are appearing," Michael Ostheimer, the FTC Ad Practice Division's deputy, told Bloomberg about the agency’s increasing oversight of influencer disclosures. "We believe consumers put stock in endorsements and we want to make sure they are not being deceived.”
Advertisers should be sure to stay within the FTC’s guidelines. This year, the agency has already sanctioned Lord & Taylor and Warner Bros. for social media campaigns that included undisclosed paid influencer posts to Instagram and YouTube. Although the sanctions have yet to include monetary fines, the FTC has indicated it will add stronger regulatory teeth behind the guidelines if the industry cannot self-regulate.