How to properly disclose ads as ads on social media

How to properly disclose ads as ads on social media

Influencer Marketing

Social Media

Business Advice

How to properly disclose ads as ads on social media

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently ruled against influencer and entrepreneur Grace Beverley for not clearly marking six posts promoting her brand, TALA, as advertisements.  

This incident has taken LinkedIn by storm and has sparked a debate amongst brand owners, content creators and influencer marketers about whether the ASA's guidelines are overly strict or if they are essential for maintaining transparency in advertising.

What are the advertising rules for influencers turned brand owners?

According to ASA guidelines, the same rules apply. Brand owners or individuals who have a commercial interest in a brand must use #AD or ad in their posts when sharing marketing communications about their products or services.  

In Beverley's case, the posts in question were not traditional paid sponsorships, but they still promoted her brand. The ASA argues that any commercial interest should be declared, which aligns with the principle of transparency. However, many people argue that the current guidelines are too rigid and could stifle creativity and the natural flow of content on social media.

What are the consequences for not properly disclosing ads on social media?

Brands that are advertising on socials without following the correct guidelines by disclosing ads as ads could face a tarnished reputation in the eyes of consumers, not to mention hefty fines and sanctions by the ASA.

Influencers who aren’t following the legal standard and are breaching the CAP code can risk being named on the ASA’s list of non-compliant social media influencers. For content creators, this can be hugely detrimental. Brands and talent marketers will be hesitant to work with creators who fail to comply with the CAP code, meaning influencers are losing out on lucrative opportunities.

The cost of non-compliance can be huge.

Let's set the scene, your brand has signed a seven-figure deal with a large UK influencer, beloved by your consumers with their own loyal community who would be first-time shoppers for your business. The project has been ongoing for months, it’s been a massive investment for your business, and you’re set to see some impressive ROI (return on investment). However, launch day comes around and the influencer you’ve partnered with has failed to disclose #AD in their social media posts.  

If the ASA receives just one complaint, they’re duty bound to investigate. That’s all it takes. One complaint.  

The aftermath of one ‘tiny’ little error could result in damaged brand reputation, deleting social media content, a hefty fine and most significantly, a loss of earnings for the brand and creator.

What are the rules for disclosing ads as ads?

If you want to work with a content creator or influencer on a brand deal, they must comply with the advertising guidelines as set out in the CAP code.  

For many, the rules are confusing and difficult to navigate – that's why we’re here. We stay up to date with industry standards, so you don't have to. Working with a reputable and experienced influencer marketing agency gives you the assurance that your ads will be impactful, engaging and importantly, compliant.  

To learn more about our data-driven and experience-led, seven-step influencer process please get in touch.

What’s next for influencer marketing regulations?

Grace Beverley's case is not unique. Many brand owners and content creators fail to disclose advertisements properly on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. This common practice raises concerns about transparency. Consumers have a right to know when they are being advertised to, regardless of whether the content is paid for or if the influencer has a commercial interest in the brand. Transparency is key to maintaining consumer trust.

The ASA's decision underscores the evolution of influencer marketing over the past decade. What started as a novel way for brands to reach consumers through trusted personalities has now become a regulated industry with professional standards. The ASA's role in upholding the law and ensuring brands are accountable is crucial for cementing these standards. Clear communication between influencers, brands, and consumers is vital to maintain trust and integrity in the market.

About influencer marketing at BIG little LDN

Contrary to popular belief, influencer marketing doesn’t need to break the bank. That’s why we won in the ‘Best Use of a Small Budget’ category at the Global Influencer Marketing Awards last year. Our industry know-how, compliant ways of working and combined experience promise to give your brand BIG bang for a modest buck.  

Explore our influencer success stories to discover what can be achieved. For more information, get in touch with our team and we’ll arrange an intro call.  

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