Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Instagram and coming across your favourite celebrity with a product in hand, describing their love for said product and noticing #ad within their comments? What exactly does this mean and why do they need to do this?
As social media grew, platforms expanded their capabilities and celebrities began acquiring a large following, so did the trend of utilizing social media and their influencers in marketing tactics. There has been a growing trend where companies are using “influencer marketing” in order to promote their product. Wikipedia defines “influencer marketing” as:
Influencer marketing (a.k.a.influence marketing) is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from influencers, people and organizations who possess a purported expert level of knowledge[dubious – discuss] and/or social influence in their respective fields.Source: Wikipedia
As influencer marketing grew, the rule and regulations to their marketing strategies were being identified and investigated. According to BBC.com in April of 2017:
“Celebrities and “influencers” in the US have been warned to clearly identify when they are promoting products on Instagram in return for payment.“Source: BBC.com
The BBC went on to explain that over ninety individuals and marketing first were handed letters by the consumer regulators regarding the issue of marketing and non-transparency. The article continues to explain that regulator also put in place guidelines for these influencers to use in order to be transparent about their post.
“The regulator did not give specific wording which should be used to make a disclosure but said that phrases such as “paid for” “Sponsored” and “Promotion” may help get that message across, as well as “#ad”.”Source: BBC.com
It is not that uncommon now to see #ad more prominently within posts following the investigation listed above. What is interesting is the increased number of YouTube videos that provide step by step instructions on how to effectively use influencer marketing for your business.
With social media being used by those young and old, it was inevitable that marketing firms followed along with this trend. I believe that it is important that influencers use their high volume of followers properly and be as transparent as possible when it comes to marketing.
#ad? Do you feel that this is truly necessary in the social media world?Tweet