Get ready to see a lot more #spon showing up in your newsfeed, ‘cause the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) have just given their best practice guidelines an upgrade.
From March 1st, marketers, Instagram influencers, bloggers, dogs with more followers than the majority of Australians, or anyone profiting from a brand by promoting their products must make it clear to their audience that their post has been endorsed.
The rules are simple enough, influencers simply have to tag the brand they are promoting as well as use a hashtag designed to indicate the partnership such as #ad #sp or #SponCon. Gifted, contra deals, loans and trial products are all considered endorsements, so if you think you can still slip a few sneaky freebies in your feed, they gotcha there too.
The guidelines state that updates are designed to ensure that when brands and influencers seek, “to make their advertising and marketing communication more engaging, they do not camouflage the fact that it is advertising.”
So what does this mean for our instafamous friends and the brands that are funding their seemingly picturesque lifestyle? While the addition of a few tags might not count for much, the AANA’s focus on social media marketing suggests that the once vastly unregulated industry might not stay that way for long.
With every #ad, some of that authenticity that bloggers have long clung to as the key proposition of influencer based marketing may be lost. Those seemingly organic posts featuring white smiles and perfect flat lays might not be as engaging as before, now that we know they’re coming from the brand and not the beloved Instagram star we’re tryin’ to be.
While this form of disclosure is not new in advertising, (hello, we’ve been seeing it in traditional TV and Magazine advertising for yonks!), it’s a big first step for social.
On the plus side, it looks like social media is finally being recognised as one of the big sharks (yas!).