How should you provide information on commercial cooperation? The new guidelines for influencer marketing helps to act correctly

The Consumer Ombudsman has published new guidelines for influencer marketing. The guidelines instruct companies and influencers on commercial cooperation that is in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act. The consumer has the right to know when someone is trying to influence them for a commercial purpose.

Influencer marketing is commercial cooperation between companies and influencers whose goal is to promote the sale of company products or raise their brand profile. The end product of influencer marketing might be a video, audio or photographic presentation or blog entry published by the influencer that deals with the company or its products. Acting as a brand ambassador is also considered influencer marketing.

The guidelines include example pictures, which demonstrate how consumers should be told about commercial cooperation. The principle rule of influencer marketing is that it must be clearly stated at the beginning of publications that it is an advertisement. Additionally, the company or a recognisable commercial name such as a trademark must be mentioned. The Consumer Ombudsman recommends that these publications are labelled with the term “advertisement”. Alternatively, the term “commercial cooperation” can be used.

The actual cooperation is not always agreed upon – a company may send an influencer their products or invitations to various events without being asked to do so. If the influencer presents the products in their social media channels, they must also mention that they have received the product from the company. The Consumer Ombudsman recommends that the influencer states this at the very beginning of a publication, such as by using the phrase “gifted free product”.

“It must always be easy to spot advertising. However, the practices for labelling marketing are lacking and very diverse. By complying with the guidelines, companies and influencers can ensure that they comply with the Consumer Protection Act,” states Consumer Ombudsman Katri Väänänen.

The Consumer Ombudsman previously had guidelines on the Recognisability of advertising in blogs. The renewed guidelines will meet the needs of both influencers and companies better than before. The Finnish Direct Marketing Association (ASML), Marketing Finland (formerly known as the Association of Finnish Advertis-ers) and IAB Finland were heard during the process.

Guidelines: Influencer marketing in social media