New rules mean full disclosure for Irish bloggers

Online influencers are already required to adhere to a code of standards

New rules mean full disclosure for Irish bloggers

A man using a laptop | Image: Dominic Lipinski PA Archive/PA Images

New guidelines for bloggers are looking to make sure Irish consumers are not misled by influencer marketing.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) is calling on bloggers and influencers to fully declare marketing communications.

It says advertisers looking to engage with consumers through bloggers and celebrities "must fully declare their online marketing communications".

"Primary responsibility for the recognisability of marketing communications rests with the advertising company, however all parties involved have a duty of responsibility", it says.

The ASAI also say that where celebrities or influencers are sponsored by brands or paid directly to promote a product, it must be clear these posts are marketing communications.

It is encouraging the use of a clearly identifiable hashtag - such as #Ad or #SP.

This must also be immediately included and clear from the beginning before people read the material.

"If the advertiser has any control over the content, it has to be declared", a spokesman told Newstalk.com.

However, if a blogger is sent a gift by a company who has no control over the post, that is not included in these guidelines.

The new 'Recognisability of Marketing Communications' guidance issued by the ASAI outlines general requirements of advertisers across social media.

This includes:

  • Independent reviews, including bloggers and vloggers
  • Recognisability
  • Key watch outs
  • Free Products

Bloggers and online influencers are already required to adhere to the ASAI's Code of Standards for Advertising - which applies to all commercial marketing communications, regardless of where they appear.

However, it says the onus is on the advertiser to ensure that vloggers adhere to the guidelines, and that all marketing communications are identifiable by consumers "while also remaining legal, decent, honest and truthful."

CEO of the ASAI, Orla Twomey, says: "The area of influencer marketing has seen a number of in-depth conversations both online and in the media recently as consumers voice their concerns about bloggers who may or may not be declaring marketing communications.

"Bloggers have also engaged in online forums where they have discussed best practice in so far as what exactly needs to be disclosed and when.

"The new ASAI guidelines aim to address these concerns and develop a uniform set of standards applicable to both companies and the bloggers who deliver the marketing communications."