The FTC recently released an update for disclosures in digital advertising, which is really a guardrail, not an ultimatum. But if you are hired by a brand to review a product or work in any capacity on their behalf, your posts, tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook updates need to be following the new guidelines.
In order to meet the FTC guidelines, disclosures must be “clear” and “conspicuous.”
Here’s what the FTC is asking:
• You should place the disclosure at the top of the blog piece. Putting it at the end of the post is burying it in their eyes.
• Your disclosure needs to be the same size as the text in the article.
• I would have tried to use a color that makes it less noticeable, but this too is not acceptable.
• Hashtags: The FTC suggests that “Ad” at the beginning of a tweet or similar short-form message should inform consumers that the message is an advertisement and the word “Sponsored” likely informs consumers that the message was sponsored by an advertiser. The FTC also has indicated that consumers might not understand that “#spon” means that the message was sponsored by an advertiser.
The Guidance, however, does not insist on any specific word or phrase for disclosure.
The most conservative approach is to place the phrase “Ad” or “Sponsored” at the beginning of a tweet or similar short-form message. The FTC, however, is open to disclosures other than “Ad” and “Sponsored.”
• You cannot use a hyperlinks for purposes of disclosure.
• And although I didn’t see it covered in the FTC guidelines, I believe brands/companies that are now using testimonials from bloggers in advertorials and ads also are subject to the same disclosure guidelines if those bloggers were compensated for their appearance and review.
The bottom line is the new rules are all about clarity and truth in advertising.
What do you think about the new rules?