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How to properly label sponsored influencer posts

#Advertising, #ad, #sponsored – What to consider? The labeling of advertising on social media is important. There are many opinions about it. Responsible for the correct labeling is the person who shares a post about his or her social media profile.

The following guidelines are based on practice in Germany. This is the updated version of our article from August 24, 2018.

When should a social media post be labelled as advertising?

  • As soon as an influencer or creator has an economic advantage through a cooperation. All resulting contributions must be marked as advertising. Also a permanent loan, a remuneration or a gift are affected by it. This applies to products as well as to services.
  • Labelling is also necessary if specifications are made for the type of presentation or the result of a product made available. This also applies if, for example, images, texts or text parts are specified. This also includes the obligation to post a contribution.
  • It is questionable whether a product purchased by the customer and subsequently recommended on social media must be labelled as advertising. If the product is the focus of attention similar to an advertising film, the labelling is certainly to be recommended.

How is advertising labelled correctly?

  • If possible, it is recommended to mark the cooperation partner using the “Paid partnership with” function. However, this function is not available for all accounts. More information about the tool for branded content can be found here.
  • It is recommended to use “advertisement” or “Werbung“. The marking should be inserted clearly at the beginning of the text.
  • The marking should always be made with a term in the language of the creators content.
  • A label should NOT be hidden between the hashtags.
  • If the labelling is also specified as a hash tag, it should be listed at the beginning of all hash tags.
  • A labeling only in English (e.g. #ad) is not sufficient if you’re posting German content. However, you can make the label multilingual.

Hashtags via the PICSTARS App

During the planning of a campaign, we discuss with the client which hashtags are included in the PICSTARS app. We also recommend the integration of a hash tag to identify the advertisement. Even if the customer decides against it, it is up to the influencer to label the contribution correctly.

The person who publishes a social media article is responsible for correctly labeling it.

For the orders placed by Picstars the rules of identification apply. With this article and in our communication with clients (advertisers) and creators (influencers) we inform the parties about this topic of advertising.

From our research collaboration with the ETH on influencer marketing, we know that social media contributions with a correct advertising label have no statistical disadvantages (with regard to interactions, sentiment of followers). Clear labelling of paid cooperations is transparent and promotes the trustworthiness of influencer marketing.

The correct labelling of advertising does not only protect against fines and warnings. It creates more trust in Influencer Marketing and helps to achieve more transparency. Our comments refer to an information sheet published by the management consultancy Weber Shandwick in June. A very descriptive guide to the labelling of social media offerings was also compiled by the Directors’ Conference of the State Media Authorities (DE). For further information we recommend you the detailed guest contribution of lawyer Dr. Thomas Schwenke on allfacebook.de. Our comments do not constitute legal advice. Depending on the circumstances, applicable law, further development of jurisdiction, etc., a closer look is necessary.

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Bruno Thurnherr Ferrari

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