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The new FTC Disclosure Guidelines for Affiliate and Influencer Marketing: Your Essential Cheat Sheet

As Affiliate and Influencer marketing continues to shape the digital advertising landscape, maintaining transparency and credibility with consumers becomes paramount. To protect consumers and ensure honest endorsements, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated its guidelines on disclosure for affiliate and influencer marketing. In this article, we’ll explore the key points from Tricia Meyer of the PMA’s  “Affiliate & Influencer Disclosure Cheat Sheet” to help marketers and influencers navigate these new regulations effectively.

Affiliate Influencer Cheat Sheet

Understanding the Material Connection

The cornerstone of the FTC’s disclosure guidelines revolves around the concept of a “material connection” between an endorser (influencer) and the brand. This connection refers to any relationship that could influence the endorsement’s credibility, including monetary compensation, free products, discounts, or other benefits from the brand. To comply with the FTC’s regulations, influencers must disclose these material connections to their audience when promoting a product or service.

Clear and Unambiguous Language

The FTC requires disclosures to be transparent and easily understandable to consumers. Avoid using ambiguous phrases or industry jargon that may confuse the audience. Instead, use clear language that explicitly states the nature of the endorsement. Common disclosure phrases like “Paid partnership with [Brand],” “#Ad,” or “Sponsored by [Brand]” work effectively in conveying the necessary information.

Placement and Visibility

Disclosures must be placed where consumers can easily notice them without any effort. This means that disclosures should appear before any affiliate links, product endorsements, or brand promotions. Avoid burying the disclosure deep within the content, as it may not be visible to users scrolling through quickly. The goal is to ensure that consumers have access to the disclosure before they engage with the content.

In-Platform Disclosures

The FTC requires influencers to make disclosures within the same platform where the endorsement is published. For instance, on social media platforms like Instagram, the disclosure should be present within the caption or superimposed on the image itself. Placing the disclosure solely in the influencer’s profile bio is not sufficient, as it may not be visible to all viewers.

Monitoring and Compliance

Both brands and influencers bear the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the FTC’s disclosure guidelines. Brands should educate their influencers about the importance of disclosure and regularly monitor the sponsored content for adherence to the regulations. Additionally, influencers should stay up-to-date with any changes in the guidelines and promptly adjust their practices accordingly.

Specificity in Disclosures

It is essential for influencers to be specific in their disclosures, especially when promoting multiple products or services from different brands. A generic disclosure like “I get paid to promote products” is inadequate, as it fails to inform consumers about the exact brand being endorsed in that specific post. Always mention the brand name to maintain clarity and transparency.

As affiliate and influencer marketing continues to play a significant role in brand promotion and consumer engagement, it is crucial for marketers and influencers to embrace transparency in their practices. The updated FTC disclosure guidelines aim to protect consumers from misleading endorsements and promote genuine connections between influencers and their audiences.

Marketers and influencers can build trust and credibility with their audience by understanding the material connection concept, using clear language, and ensuring proper placement and visibility of disclosures. Regular monitoring and compliance, along with specific disclosures, further reinforce their commitment to ethical marketing practices.

Remember, these guidelines are designed to ensure transparency in advertising. As affiliate marketers, we play a crucial role in adhering to these rules and maintaining the trust of our audience. Let’s embrace compliance as a foundation for ethical marketing practices and long-term success! ( will have a link to Tricia’s website) for the cheat sheet

Sources

*FTC Disclosure  Guidelines: https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking

 **Tricia Meyer the Executive Director of the Performance Marketing Association

My FTC Disclosure Updates page

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