Hands up if you’ve ever been influenced by an Instagram post to buy a dress, top, or beauty product? I’ve certainly parted with my hard-earned cash after seeing my favourite fashion bloggers wearing a must-have item – like the Topshop satin skirt.
But that’s all about to change thanks to a new ruling by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who last August launched an investigation ‘concerns that social media stars are not properly declaring when they have been paid, or otherwise rewarded, to endorse goods or services.’
They targeted 16 celebrities and influencers, who included Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Millie Mackintosh and Zoella, and realised that it was not always clear from the get-go whether a product post was an ad or not.
While no sanctions have been given, the CMA sent a warning letter to all of the above that they needed to be more transparent, to which they agreed.
CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli explained, ‘Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy. You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on.’
So in theory, you’ll now immediately be able to tell whether a post is an ad (for example if it’s tagged as a paid partnership), and therefore make a conscious decision whether to go and buy the product or service or not.