Why #ad is essential in paid influencer posts

Sep 5th '19

Clarity for Consumers: why #ad is essential in paid influencer posts.


The key finding of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) new report, published today, reveals that people struggle to identify when social media posts by influencers are ads, and confirms that our current approach of requiring influencers to use a prominent reference, such as #ad, is necessary as a minimum.


ASA findings dispel any argument that labels aren’t needed, and re-emphasise the importance of influencers being upfront and clear with their followers about when they are advertising.


Over the last 18 months the advertising watchdog have conducted a comprehensive review, including research with the public and a broad look at existing academic literature, into how and what kinds of labels and other factors help people understand when social media posts by influencers are advertising. The ASA undertook the project to gauge whether regulation is in the right place and as part of their ongoing work to provide guidance and clarity to influencers, brands and agencies on how to stick to the ad rules so that consumers aren’t misled.


Where an influencer is posting about a brand because they’ve been paid to do so (either in money or ‘in kind’ e.g. with free goods), the post must be obviously identifiable as an ad.  Both the ASA and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommend upfront disclosures, such as #ad.  Labelling a post clearly as an ad allows people to know when they’re being sold to, enabling them to make an informed judgment about the commercial intent behind it.



A finding consistent across the research was that for an influencer post to be obviously identifiable, a label must first be noticed and then understood. Crucially, a visible and well understood disclosure, such as #ad, increased the likelihood of participants in the research identifying influencer adverts as ‘definitely an ad’.


While the research also indicated that other presentational factors may be important to ensure influencer ad posts are obviously identifiable as ads, our focus will be on ensuring influencers and brands are being upfront and clear with #ad. The ASA, alongside the CMA, are active in ensuring transparency in this area. Influencers and brands who don’t disclose ads are not only treating their followers unfairly, they erode trust in the wider and legitimate influencer community – and run the risk of potential investigation and enforcement action.


The ASA will now consider carefully the outcomes of this work. They will follow-up on the themes and issues brought to light by its research and target those parties involved in influencer advertising to make sure they’re following the rules. This includes hosting an influencer training event on 1 October with the CMA at which we will further explain when a post counts as an ad and how and when they should be labelled. The ASA will also share the findings of this new, original research with other regulators, both domestically and internationally, to facilitate ongoing discussions about how best to make sure ads are obviously identifiable as ads.


Read the full report and the Ipsos Mori research:



Source: ASA


Did you forgot to #ad? Is your Instagram advertising missing a disclosure message? Find out about our influencer marketing services, here.


Need A Regulatory Marketing Compliance Consultant? A Bit More About Us


How we can help advertisers!

LS Consultancy are experts in Marketing and Compliance. We provide a cost-effective and timely bespoke copy advice and copy development services to make sure all your advertising and campaigns are compliant, clear and suitable for their purpose.


We also work with a range of firms to assist with improving their documents, processes and systems to mitigate risk.


Our range of innovative solutions can be tailored to suit your unique requirements, no matter whether you’re currently working from home, or are continuing to go into the office. Our services can be deployed individually or combined to form a broader solution to release your energies and focus on your clients.


Contact us today for a chat or send us an email to find out how we can support you in meeting your current and future challenges with confidence.


Explore our full range today.


Contact us


Why Not Download our FREE Brochures! Click here.


Call Us Today on 020 8087 2377 or send us an email.



Connect with us via social media and drop us a message from there. We’d love to hear from you and discuss how we can help.


Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | X (formally Twitter) | YouTube


Contact us