What You Need To Know About The FTC Blogger Guidelines

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In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidelines and regulations for advertising in relation to social media and bloggers. When the guidelines were first released, there was not much talk of it. In the last week or so, blog readers raised eyebrows when 50 bloggers coincidentally wore the same Lord & Taylor Design Lab dress on Instagram. As it turns out, it was not a coincidence and Lord & Taylor had sponsored the posts and gifted the dress to each blogger. The goal was to cause a social media frenzy, and it worked: the dress sold out by the end of the weekend.

While there is no proven statistical correlation between Instagram and ROI, there is no denying the influential power of social media as the latest advertising tool. With social media being unregulated, it is difficult for the Federal Trade Commission to keep an eye on.

With the recent rules coming to light, here is what you need to know:

  • The largest point: All endorsements, sponsored pieces, and gifted items need to be disclosed on all forms of media, including Instagram and Twitter.
  • The disclosure must be made close to the original post (ex. If you promote a bag on Instagram, it must say “sponsored” in the same post.)
  • Disclosure is required in videos, not just written posts.
  • The FTC leaves it up to the brand to make it clear that they require the proper citations, and will ultimately go after the brand if the blogger enlisted to endorse their product does not follow the rules.

If you are looking for more information on brand/blogger relationships and disclosures, I recommend you check out this link.