From the Influencers

Australia Changes Influencer Marketing Standards

February 02, 2017

In recent months, influencer marketing has become a favorite strategy of brands worldwide. Many consumers feel that these influencers are more relatable and accessible than celebrities who are often paid to endorse products, and report that they are more likely to trust reviews from market influencers. Couple this with the fact that influencers are often hired for less than more famous celebrities and marketers are enjoying significant returns on investments when pursuing influencer marketing.

However, that sect of marketing may be getting a little more difficult to navigate, at least in Australia. The Australian Association of National Advertisers recently released a new set of guidelines that zero in on influencer marketing with the goal of making it more transparent. The Ethics section of the new guidelines, which go into effect in a few months, emphasize that ad content must be “clearly distinguishable” from other content that is created by an influencer. In other words, influencers must now be explicitly clear when they are being paid to showcase a product or brand.

While some in Australia welcome this new regulation because they feel it protects consumers, others, like We are Social’s Marketing Director Suzie Shaw, feel it unfairly targets marketers leveraging new technologies. Influencer marketing “no less transparent than PR, for example,” she said in a statement. "The ruling is obviously a pre-emptive move to avoid more rigid government-enforced regulation and in my view, it's a sound strategy on behalf of the industry. However, the regulations do present challenges for marketers. Particularly when it comes to social media marketing.”

The fact that Australia and other government agencies are considering placing greater restrictions on influencer marketing is by no means a death sentence for the practice. Indeed, the success that influencer marketing has demonstrated thus far will continue to make ti a vital part of the marketing industry. Marketers should simply take precautions to make sure they are thoroughly familiar with the laws surrounding influencer marketing in the locations that they advertise, and ensure that their efforts are entirely legal and ethical.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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