In the evolving world of online marketing and social media influencing, trust and transparency are essential to maintain audience trust.
As such, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has set guidelines for online advertising, requiring clear disclosures when there is a relationship between an endorser and a marketer that consumers should be aware of.
What Are FTC Disclosures?
FTC disclosures refer to the requirement to transparently disclose any material connection between a person endorsing a product or service (like a blogger, influencer, or reviewer) and the company selling the product or service. A “material connection” could be a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the gift of a free product—anything that could affect the credibility of the endorsement.
Why Are FTC Disclosures Important?
The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers and promote competition. This includes ensuring that consumers are not misled by advertisements that appear to be unbiased when they are, in fact, paid endorsements. By requiring marketers and influencers to disclose their relationships with the companies they are promoting, consumers can make more informed decisions about the products they purchase.
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When Are FTC Disclosures Required?
FTC disclosures are required whenever there is a material connection between the endorser and the marketer that could affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Receiving payment for an endorsement
- Receiving a free product or service
- Having a business or family relationship with the marketer
How to Properly Implement FTC Disclosures
When implementing FTC disclosures, it’s essential to remember that disclosures should be clear and conspicuous. Here are a few guidelines:
- Placement: Disclosures should be placed near the claim they relate to and should not be hidden in footnotes, at the end of posts, or in hyperlinks.
- Language: Disclosures should be understandable to the average reader. Avoid using technical or legal jargon.
- Visibility: In video content, disclosures should be on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and understood. In audio content, they should be read at a pace that allows consumers to comprehend them.
- Frequency: Disclose as often as needed. If you’re posting multiple times about a product, it’s better to disclose it in each post.
Below are a few standard examples and some fun ones. Get creative — they don’t have to be stuffy.
- “#ad,” “Sponsored,” or simply “I got [the product] for free from [the company].”
- Heads up, folks! I’ve got a killer product to share, and yep, I’ll get a small kickback if you decide to buy. No extra cost to you though!
- By the way, the links you see here are affiliate ones. That means I earn a tiny bit if you buy, but it won’t cost you a penny more!
- Pssst! The goodies I’m sharing here? If you click and buy, I’ll get a small commission. But don’t worry, it won’t cost you extra!
- Just so you know, if you purchase through my links, I’ll get a little bonus. But don’t worry, there’s no extra charge for you.
- Full disclosure, the product links here will give me a small cut if you decide to buy. No worries though, you’re not paying any extra!
FTC disclosures are a crucial aspect of ethical and lawful online marketing and influencing.
Being transparent with your audience not only maintains trust but also ensures you are abiding by necessary legal guidelines.
Remember, when in doubt, it’s always better to disclose.