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Crackdown on influencer advertising with new guidelines this month

The Advertisement Standards Authority (ASA) is implementing wide-reaching rules for Kiwi influencers to abide by when advertising products on their platforms, which will come into effect on September 14.

Simone Anderson Source: Supplied

The move comes after prominent Instagram influencer Simone Anderson had four complaints against her upheld, with the ASA finding she had not clearly labelled her content as advertising.

Most of the new rules revolve around the clear identification of content as advertising, and they lay out specific language and techniques which will need to be adhered to by influencers in New Zealand.

Those include a strong recommendation to include "ad" "advert" or "advertisement" in any post which has commercial value, rather than relying on less clear methods.

Complaints against influencer Simone Anderson upheld by Advertising Standard Authority

Influencers have often used hashtags to identify their content as being an ad, including terms like #gifted or #CoLab, but the ASA said influencers now have to make it absolutely clear to people engaging with the content, from the outset.

The ASA's measures spell out that influencers can't try to hide their advertising hashtag among several others, and that the ad identification needs to be prominent in each part of their content, as well as being the first thing people see when they engage.

The responsibility to identify advertising will now also be shared with the company involved with the influencer.

"Advertisers need to take all practical steps to ensure influencers identify ad content about the free product or service the influencer has been given," the ASA guidance says.

Notably, the guidelines also make it clear that posts by influencers about free gifts they receive are to be considered advertisements, and labelled as such.

Hillary Souter, Chief Executive of the ASA, said a range of people and organisations were consulted while creating the new guidelines.

"The ASA recognised the need for strong guidance in the rapidly evolving space of Influencer advertising," she said.

"We're pleased to release this resource in response to complaints and queries we have received on this issue.

"This will be followed up with training opportunities for the sector to support a level playing field across all media."