Mar 18, 2021
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UK ads watchdog warns influencers over Instagram posts

Mar 18, 2021

UK influencers are in the spotlight once again with the country’s ads watchdog unhappy about the fact that many of them are still not flagging up paid social media posts as advertising.

Photo: Public domain/Pexels

The Advertising Standards Authority said it will take action against non-compliant influencers and that there’s no excuse for paid content being incorrectly labelled.

Many of the posts it has looked at were labelled #affiliate or #aff, which the ASA said wasn't clear enough. It wants all such posts to include #ad.

The body has been warning influencers for several years that content that's been paid for should be clearly marked as such and late last year spent three weeks monitoring whether this was happening.

It looked at more than 24,000 Instagram Stories and other posts by 122 influencers based in Britain. And it found that almost one in four of the Stories it looked it could be considered to be ads, but only 35% of those were clearly labelled as such.

And while many of the posts weren't labelled, or were labelled in a way that didn't make their nature clear, the situation was made worse by the fact that some of them contained affiliate links that allowed the influencers to earn a commission if a consumer went on to buy something as a result of the post.

Last year, the ads watchdog received more than 3,000 complaints about influencers, which was up 55% compared to 2019. And the vast majority of the complaints were about disclosures on Instagram.

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