Influencer marketing

#OznaczamReklamy (#ITagAds)

OznaczamReklamy 1


The #OznaczamReklamy (#ITagAds) campaign aims to make a real change in transparency of tagging of commercial materials in social media. We operate simultaneously in many areas related to influencer marketing. We conduct proceedings and educate recipients and creators. We have also developed recommendations for the correct tagging of advertising content.

Follow our profile on Instagram – uokikgov.pl.

 

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We have prepared Recommendations pertaining to the tagging of advertising content by influencers on social media. Clear, unambiguous and understandable tagging of advertising is the responsibility of influencers, advertising agencies and advertisers. In the Recommendations, we have highlighted various types of commercial collaborations, self-promotion (promoting one’s own brand), and gifts (PR packages). We have provided many practical examples. We consulted the content with industry organizations: IAB Poland, Marketing Communication Association SAR, Advertising Council, and research centres: University of Warsaw and Adam Mickiewicz University. 

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We have created an AR filter for Instagram and Facebook to help you make your advertisements, self-promotion and gifts stand out. Search for it using: OznaczamReklamy. We encourage you to use it!

Check out the filter.

Dear influencer!

Check if your advertisement is tagged correctly according to the list below:

  • Using the platform functionality. If a given platform allows of highlighting commercial content, check whether such a tagging is legible and visible in your material. Use a two-level tagging and tag the material single-handedly, e.g. in the post description.
  • Tagging the commercial nature of the content. Check if the terms you use are unambiguous for each recipient.
  • Indicating the promoted brand. Check if you have informed about the brand you are presenting.
  • Legible and understandable for recipients. Check if the font size or background colour of the material does not make it difficult for the recipient to read the tag. Verify that the tags are visible to both who lay your content using mobile phone and a computer.
     

We have published answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Recommendations of the President of UOKiK for the influencer marketing industry. We have included further practical examples. You can find them in a special section on our website.

We understand a brand profile as a store profile where commercial content is generally published. Users entering such a profile are aware (e.g. thanks to the profile name and the store name) that the purpose of the content published here is to promote and sell services or products. It is not necessary to tag these as advertising materials and the Recommendations do not apply to them.

The influencer profile includes both neutral content related to influencer’s private life, passions or skills on which he shares his knowledge and views, and commercial content, which is published in order to obtain a financial benefit. In this case, it is crucial to properly tag commercial content, as recipients should be able to easily distinguish it from neutral content.

Example: An Influencer uploads videos in which he tests various electronic products to his profile. He bought most of them by himself, he expresses his opinions and shares his knowledge about them (neutral content) and he does not have to tag it. However, if some of the prepared materials and reviews have been paid by a technology advertiser (commercial content), this must be tagged as advertising.

IMPORTANT! In some cases  a brand profile on social media is managed like an influencer profile with both commercial and neutral. If the brand profile clearly and unambiguously indicates that it is a communication tool of the store (e.g. through its name, visible description), it is not necessary to tag the content published there. However, if a store (brand) does not sufficiently and clearly present the nature of its profile, it may mislead consumers. In such cases, we recommend that the brand profile should be more clearly labelled,  so as not to cause any doubts among recipients.

Example: XYZ brand (store) keeps a profile called “We test phones together with XYZ brand”. It publishes both store sales and advice content. The name of the profile clearly indicates the commercial nature of the published content and the fact that it is managed by XYZ brand (store).

Example: XYZ brand (store) keeps a profile called “We test phones”. It publishes both sales and advice content. Neither the name of the profile nor other main elements of the profile indicate that it is managed by the store. This may mislead consumers. In such a case, we recommend that the brand profile be more clearly labelled, so as not to raise any doubts among recipients.

A publication on social media must be tagged as advertising material whenever the influencer receives a financial benefit and it aims to advertise a product or service.

Example: An Influencer recommends cosmetics. In her social media, she publishes content about their  characteristics and shows how she uses them.

  • If she purchased the cosmetics herself and does not receive any financial benefits for promoting the products and is not bound by a contract with the brand, she does not have to tag it.
  • If she receives a financial benefit for the publication (a fee or a product –the advertised cosmetics), she should tag it as advertising material.

Example: An Influencer attends a performance, plays a concert, speaks at a conference, presents information about an event on his social media and encourages people to buy tickets.

  • If he does not profit from the sale, he does not have to tag it.
  • If he makes additional profits from the sale, he should tag it as advertising material.
  • If his contract includes the promotion of an event, he should tag it as advertising material.

Barter is one of the form of commercial collaboration. If an influencer gets paid in the form of products and/or services under promotion contract concluded on his social media channels, it is his financial benefit and these publications must be tagged as advertising material. Recommended terms for tagging such content can be found in Recommendations (p. 17).

Example: At the request of a phone manufacturer, the Influencer published a short on TikTok about a new smartphone model. As compensation for her publication, she received a new phone model. Thus, she obtained a financial benefit in the form of a free product (barter settlement). This publication needs to be tagged as advertising material.

More examples in the Recommendations (p. 9)

If an Influencer recommends products from a brand’s offer using affiliate links, he should tag this publication as advertising material since he obtains a financial benefit from the sale. The tagging of these materials should be analogous to the tagging of advertising content, e.g. [Sponsored Post], #CommercialMaterial.

More examples in the Recommendations (p. 9)

The collaboration ends when anInfluencer fulfils the obligations agreed upon with the advertiser or advertising agency. If anInfluencer adds another material featuring a product or service and the obligation to promote it is no longer covered by the contract and he does not receive any additional compensation for its publication, he does not have to tag it.

Example: An Influencer has prepared materials under a contract with the advertiser and published them on her YouTube account. However, she continues to use the products she advertised and mentions them on her profiles, even though she has already fulfilled all contractual obligations. Content published after the end of commercial collaboration does not have to be tagged as advertising material.

Rule: if the compensation is the form of a product or service (barter), this should be tagged as commercial collaboration. However, he should consider the nature of the reviewed product (whether it can be returned), the nature of collaboration (whether the brand influences the content of the review), and the value of the product. Every case should be handled fairly and with common sense.

For reviews (opinions) concerning low value products or services which cannot be returned due to their nature, we recommend to explicitly state that they were provided for free. Such information is sufficient for the recipient to determine whether this fact could have affected the influencer’s opinion.

Note! This information is sufficient only if the brand or its affiliated entity has no influence on the review. If this is not the case, this should be tagged as advertising.

Example: A food Influencer was invited to a restaurant to try a new menu. In her publication, she should state that she prepared the content thanks to the invitation and that she tested the menu for free.

Example: An Influencer received for  review game copy in the form of a game key to test it before it is released. He got access to a product which cannot be returned due to the permanent assignment of the game to an account on a given platform. When publishing his review, the Influencer should state that the reviewed game was received for free.

Publications need to be tagged as self-promotion when an influencer, by promoting products or services of his own brand, actively sells them, e.g. he encourages their purchase, provides a link to the store and derives material benefits from it.

We do not equate personal branding with self-promotion. Publications related to image building, e.g. providing advice or informing about participation in an event, do not need to be tagged.

Example: If an Influencer publishes content in which he shares his knowledge, shows how he designs clothes, publishes his portfolio (images, photographs, tattoo designs, handicraft), but in doing so does not encourage the purchase of his products and/or services, we do not consider this to be self-promotion and this does not require tagging.

Example: An Influencer wrote a book and makes profits from its sale. This is regulated in an agreement between him and the publishing house. When he publishes materials encouraging people to purchase his book – he should tag it as self-promotion.

The placement of own products is a situation where influencer’s own products appear in his publications, but they are not the core of his message and an influencer does not directly encourage their purchase. These publications do not need to be tagged as self-promotion.

Example: During live streaming, an Influencer is wearing a t-shirt of his own brand, but he does not mention it and does not encourage people to buy it – it is own product placement and does not need to be tagged as self-promotion.

Promoting one’s own brand is a part of an Influencer’s activity he can make profits from, and recipients should be informed about this in an unequivocal manner.

Social media users should be able to easily distinguish neutral content from commercial content. Commercial content is used to increase sales of goods or services, including the Influencer’s own brands. Thanks to clear information, recipients should be able to make an conscious choice whether to engage with this commercial content and make purchasing decisions.

Recommended terms for tagging such content can be found in Recommendations (p. 17).

Spontaneous and unpaid recommendations or opinions do not need to be tagged.

Example: An Influencer’s friend recommended his services on social media, and an Influencer shares this opinion on his channel.

Should friend tag this publication as advertising material?

If she has not received any financial benefits (e.g. free products or services, discounts on products or services) for her recommendation, this does not require tagging.

Should the Influencer tag sharing of the publication as self-promotion?

If the sharing (recommendation) does not involve a financial benefit provided by the Influencer to his friend, it does not need to be tagged.

If an Influencer decides to publish in the case of the first gift, he must inform his recipients that he received the products as a gift from XYZ brand.

Any publications regarding re-gifts from the same brand (or its affiliates) should be tagged by the influencer as advertising material.

Why? What matters here is the intention of the brand which can provide its products to the Influencer for free, hoping that the creator will republish the material about its new product.

With subsequent gifts from the same brand, we also take into account the principle of reciprocity. If an Influencer gets PR packages and shows them on his channels many times, it is a form of an implied contract accepted by both parties under which each party obtains the assumed benefits (the donor –advertising its products, and the Influencer –obtaining a financial benefit in the form of a free product).

For examples, see the Recommendations (pages 14 and 15).

Situations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances. What matters more than  time, is rather the nature of the relationship established between the Influencer and the donor.

Example: If gifts are sent systematically (e.g. once a month, once a quarter or after a longer period of time, but each time in connection with the launch of a product or its new line) and Influencer publishes materials on this subject, we acknowledge the principle of reciprocity. Such publications should be tagged in accordance with the Recommendations.

This kind of situation is rather unusual. It is worth analysing them individually to determine whether we are actually dealing with an advertisement of a product or service, as defined in the Recommendations (“commercial communication aimed at promoting the sale or use of goods or services against payment” – p. 4), which requires tagging.

Example: An Influencer received the first gift from XYZ brand. He tried the product and was satisfied with it, so he published content on his channel on social media. He tagged the publication as a gift (in accordance with the Recommendations). XYZ brand started to send him gifts systematically, but the creator was no longer satisfied with them. The Influencer asked XYZ brand to stop sending him products, but the brand continued. The Influencer told about this situation in his next publication. Such content does not have to be tagged as advertising financial.

If an Influencer promotes social and charitable activities for free, he does not have to tag such collaboration. However, if this is a collaboration for which the Influencer receives financial benefits, he should tag the published materials as advertising.

If the purpose of the content published by an Influencer is to sell services or products for which he receives a financial benefit from the supplier of the product or service, this should be tagged as advertising material, irrespective of the form in which he accepts the compensation under the contract – a percentage of product sales or a discount on services.

It should always be determined if the advertised form of selling a product or service is not a promotional system based on a pyramid scheme where a consumer renders a service for the opportunity to receive financial benefits which depend above all on the introduction of other consumers to the scheme and not on the sales or consumption of products. Establishment, operation and/or promotion of promotional systems based on a pyramid scheme is prohibited, regardless of whether the advertising material is tagged in accordance with the Recommendations.

In cases where donations are voluntary, they do not involve access to any additional services, products or content, they do not need to be additionally tagged. But if the transfer of a specific amount involves special benefits for the donor (e.g. access to additional content, gadgets, admission to meetings with the Influencer), the situation is analogous to encouraging the purchase of their products or services and it should be tagged as self-promotion.

Influencer marketing - Instatips


We have prepared some practical tips for consumers – instatips on how not to fall into marketing traps and how to make conscious consumer choices.