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5 Sep 2019

Social influencer ads still not clear enough

Have you ever been misled by an endorsement from a social media celebrity?

Social media users are still struggling to tell when influencers and celebrities are posting ads, according to a report teleased today.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said its study into how influencer ads are being regulated shows that, despite its guidelines, people still find it hard to identify paid posts on social media.

Many celebrities and high-profile personalities have been subject to ASA action in recent years over they way they've labelled paid posts on social media.

Social influencer promotions under scrutiny

The ASA reviewed people's understanding of ads posted by influencers on social media to see how effective its regulation has been.

Under its current rules, influencers must make it clear if they have been paid or given a freebie in return for a post.

The ASA and Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) have previously recommended clear disclosure with the use of a tag such as #ad.

Does using #ad go far enough?

While the ASA has confirmed that tags such as #ad are 'necessary at minimum' to make sure followers know they're being sold to, the study found that, even if labelling is used, social media users can still find it hard to tell between advertising content and editorial posts.

It also found that users still aren't sure whether or not influencer content is an ad, even if posts clearly show brand logos, promotional product shots and 'Shop now' buttons or links.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: 'The research tells us that all of us can find it hard to identify when an influencer is advertising, so it's crucial that ads are labelled clearly. Our message to influencers and brands couldn't be clearer: be upfront with followers.'

The ASA says it is now carefully considering its next steps following this research

Have you ever felt misled by a social influencer?

Have you been disappointed by a product or brand that an influencer recommended on social media? We'd like to hear about it: email news@which.co.uk to share your story.