Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The CMA Guidelines On Influencer Disclosure & Endorsements




Navigating this complex digital landscape that is content creation or influencing if you prefer, in twenty-nineteen can be quite the predicament. Made even more problematic by the recently updated CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) regulations on 'Social Media Endorsements: being transparent with your followers'.

While I do understand as business owners we are required to follow guidelines, I don't believe what has been provided caters for how diverse the industry actually is or what we work for. In-fact I would go as far as to suggest that the CMA guidelines almost make a mockery of us, ostracizing and humiliating us for getting paid and unpaid work that any mainstream media journalist could also do. The regulations certainly aren't clear or concise enough, particularly for consumers aka. our readers who might think that we're selling out. Here are my thoughts on

The CMA Guidelines On Influencer Disclosure & Endorsements. 

# 1 - 'ANY FORM OF REWARD INCLUDING; MONEY, GIFTS, SERVICES AND PRODUCTS, OR THE LOAN OF A PRODUCT IS PAYMENT - EVEN IF IT WAS POSTED TO YOU OUT OF THE BLUE'

Although I agree wholeheartedly that we have a duty as creatives to disclose whether we have been sent money, gifts, services, products or the loan of a product - I don't agree that these all constitute as payment, especially when a business (without my knowledge or the ability to decline said gift) sends me something in the post. I think it's unjust and frankly a bit of an abomination that because I received a book in the post, with the view of featuring it across my social media channels... that it is now a PAID advertisement. It takes the excitement out of content creation because now I have to worry about whether I'm disclosing appropriately, even when mentioning something in passing. I certainly don't want to be held accountable for advertising a product I'm not actively endorsing.

#2 - 'IF YOU ARE INCLUDING DISCOUNT CODES, COMPETITIONS/GIVEAWAYS, OR REFERENCES TO YOUR OWN RANGE OF PRODUCTS, DON'T ASSUME THIS IS ENOUGH TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIP CLEAR'

If I had a pound for every time I saw a content creator post a discount code without disclosing, I wouldn't need to be accepting ads from brands up and down the country in the first place. This is something that I feel people are very slack with, especially when it comes to competitions and giveaways - we all know someone who promotes a fake giveaway on their Instagram (one of which you have to pay to enter apparently) - GET A LIFE. But when it comes to placing #AD beside references to my own range of products, that's just laughable. Look how many content creators are out here hustling with their stationary sets, Missguided clothing lines or Lightroom presets - I am baffled, yet patiently waiting for NastyGal to start an uprising beside every single one of their posts from here on out. It's not ideal and I personally think it's ludicrous - who wrote these guidelines?

#3 - 'PAST RELATIONSHIPS MUST BE DISCLOSED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME PERIOD I.E. ANYTHING WITHIN LAST YEAR'

Admittedly this has to be the most questionable guideline of them all. I say this because over the weekend In The Frow/Victoria who has worked with Dior in the past, shared a snap of her drinking coffee and her handbag (purchased with her own money) was stowed away in the background - she received quite a few policing comments under that post and it really put a dampener on wanting to continue with Instagram. I would like to imagine that any influencer who knows their own worth, will only seek to work with brands they genuinely use and would happily spend their money continuing to use. Is it necessary to write lengthy captions about our favourite products explaining we have a past relationship, even when said products have been purchased with our own hard earned cash - inserts rolling eye emoji.

I turned to other content creators for their opinions -

Zoe from www.beautifinous.co.uk said:
'The guidelines still aren't clear enough. I understand that they wrote a guide which is available for download, but I feel like there should still be a more accessible, straight to the point web-page to reiterate who is supposed to be doing what. The main thing for me is the idea of what defines an influencer; there are a lot of bloggers who do this for a hobby rather than a job and it is this group that I fear for the most, because they are probably the least likely to realize if they fall under the umbrella of people who are supposed to abide by these rules.'
'A point that has recently been brought up on Twitter, is the issues around posts that feature content that we ourselves have paid for. They are not adverts, simply us sharing things that we love. Some bloggers are getting into trouble for not declaring them as adverts, when they are not adverts at all - just a regular person sharing something they like, much like all other regular people do on social media. I feel that if bloggers and influencers are to be trusted by the people who follow them, then the regulators need to have a little more trust in us. We're all learning'.
Brooke from www.brooke-pearson.co.uk said:
'The issues I have surrounding the new guidelines is that my followers who aren't bloggers, are not aware of what an AD is and as soon as they see this think that I have received some sort of payment. However this is far from the truth. To clarify this, I have tried to explain through Instagram stories what each AD is and how they differ from payment, gifted or a relationship with a brand past or present. I welcome the new guidelines, but I can see how problematic this can be for some bloggers with larger followings. The main issue is making sure that ALL adhere to these guidelines as it is clear that some people are choosing not to!'
'For YouTube when posting an AD many people aren't as fussed compared to blog posts/Instagram posts. I feel it is harder for a blog as most things that are discussed would be categorized as an AD as I feature products I love, but have worked with that brand before. This can become repetitive and boring for followers, but I think the key part is followers understanding the difference between AD's and that we aren't taking in money for every single post.'
 What are your thoughts on the new CMA guidelines?
QuickEdit
Rebecca Ellis
12 Comments

12 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, this is so helpful

    Candice | NatalyaAmour.com

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, I'm glad it was helpful x

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  2. I still find the guidelines so confusing! All we can do is try to follow them the best we can! Great post!

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    1. I think we're all in the same boat here, they are definitely not as clear as they should be but like you've mentioned, we can only do our best to follow them x

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  3. Hey, I agree with what you are saying about these guidlines. It seems silly to have to say something is an AD when it is not or have to disclose anything about products you are talking about even if you've not been paid and genuinely like it. It's a bit ridiculous.

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    1. It really does doesn't it! I used to talk about products I'd bought lately, now I feel like I can't do that because my followers will think everything is an ad x

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  4. The guidelines are so confusing but your post has helped me understand it a bit more. All we can do is help and support each other

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    1. They really are & it's a bit of a shame that they aren't as clear or concise as they could be. I'm glad my post helped you a little and you're absolutely right - we're all in the same boat, all we can do is support each other x

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  5. Such an informative post .Thanks for sharing this doll. It's all very confusing otherwise x

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    1. Thank you Steph! I hope they publish more on the guidelines x

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  6. I agree, the guidelines are confusing. I feel like it’s hard to make blanket guidelines for so many different brands and ads happening. I feel like each brand should be responsible for outlining guidelines! Thanks for sharing!

    Cyn
    www.cynspo.com

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    1. They really are; I think there could be way more clarity on some of these points and I absolutely agree with you! x

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