Many advertisers market their products through so-called influencers in social media. Behind the most popular influencers, there are professional networks that connects advertisers with these profiles.
A sweep The Consumer Ombudsman conducted last autumn showed that four out of five commercial posts published by Norway’s most popular influencers either lacked labelling or were labelled inadequately. Advertisers are liable for ensuring that posts promoting their products are clearly labelled as advertisements.
– The consumers should not need to be in doubt whether the post they see on Facebook is advertising or not. Advertisers must make sure that the marketing they contribute to spreading in social media is clearly marked, says Consumer Ombud Elisabeth Lier Haugseth.
Influencers in social media and blogs are not necessarily experienced marketers. Therefore, advertisers are required to take extra care for ensuring compliance with the law.
– Advertisers must set requirements both on the content and the design of the advertisements. They should have control mechanisms in place to ensure that the influencers follow the law when they spread marketing. We expect networks to help their members to get this right, says Haugseth.
This spring, the Consumer Ombudsman and the Media Authority in Norway launched new guidance for advertising labelling in social media. They contain examples of what you have to label as advertising and how to label.
- The Consumer Ombudsman’s guidance on labelling advertising in social media and Labelling of advertising in social media (short version)
- Guide for labelling of advertisements in YouTube-videos and Quick guide for labelling of advertisements in You Tube-videos
The guides have also been sent to the networks, the Norwegian Advertiser Association and The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports, which are asked to distribute them to their members.
Can impose enforcement penalties
The Consumer Ombudsman will later this year follow up with controls. If the advertisers or networks violate the Marketing Control Act, they may be subject to financial sanctions. The Consumer Ombudsman and the Market Council are also authorized to prohibit illegal marketing.
– We will carry out supervision in the autumn. We hope that both the networks and advertisers will clean up in their own rows, so that advertising is clearly labelled as advertising. Ultimately, both influencers, advertisers and networks that violate the Marketing Control Act can be sanctioned, says Consumer Ombud Elisabeth Lier Haugseth.