Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

16.05 28 Feb 2021


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There needs to be clarity around the rules on how influencers on social media disclose products they receive from companies.

That's according to Louise Cooney, a blogger who has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers across her online platforms.

It comes as a new survey from the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) found just 7% have 'great trust' in what an influencer posts on social media.

A majority of 80% believe that when an influencer posts an ad they are being paid by the brand to post positive content.

While 75% believe that any mentions of a brand in a post means it is advertising.

The research also found that while 76% have used social media for tips and inspiration, 57% find too much sponsored content 'annoying'.

Louise told Lunchtime Live this week that influencer marketing is a grey area because it may not be always paid ads, it can be gifting, a collaboration or other remuneration.

Louise Cooney: Clearer rules needed for marketing communications on social media

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"It's so hard to regulate that because it's not necessarily a paid partnership and it's not necessarily an ad, but it is some sort of collaboration, it is a marketing communication at the end of the day, and that is what the ASAI is trying to say that if there is a marketing communication there of any sort, it needs to be disclosed and that's where the trust can come in," she said.

"It's an interesting one because they also spoke about if there's an overuse of ads, people get annoyed by that too, so you're nearly trying to disclose everything and that can annoy people as well so it's hard to get that balance."

Louise explained there are different revenue streams for influencers and various hashtags that must be used to reflect each source of income.

She added that when she gets contacted by a company to promote a product, she would never accept a job for something she hasn't already tried and loves.

"I really do stand behind that, I believe in integrity and I think that's why I've gotten as far as I have in the industry because people can trust me and that's such a huge part," she said.

"The industry has grown so much, it's gone from €1bn five years ago to €15bn next year and I think in order to keep it growing, you need to keep that trust and transparency there.

"Because it's such a new industry, it's new to all of us and you can see how confusing it and how many strains there are.

"I think honesty is the best policy and it's always better to be safe rather than sorry and to put some sort of disclaimer or just explain the situation and people will be more understanding of it."

Louise said she would like to see some measures brought in to both regulate the industry and reduce the proportion of people who feel they can't trust influencers.

"First of all, I hate the word influencer because I hate to think I'm influencing people's decisions and I suppose you are, but the word influencer already has a negative connotation with it.

"I would call myself a blogger because that's where I started.

"For what rules I would like to see come in, I think making it more clear about marketing communications, when it's press drops, when it's gifting, I think that can sometimes be unclear depending on how much the company has been in touch with you, depending on what the gift is.

"I always try to be clear on that and sometimes I do it too much, I'll put 'ambassador' or 'collab' on something even when I'm not being paid, and people get annoyed by that.

"It's going to take time and it's just about listening to my audience, what annoys people, what people enjoy and what's engaging, and that's what I try to do."

Main image: Louise Cooney. Credit: @louisecooney_/Instagram

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