Does the Federal Trade Commission have its eyes set on the emerging Influencer Marketing economy as a potential target? It sure looks that way:
[The FTC is] focused on ensuring that consumers receive clear notice that content generated for an influencer marketing program is an ad — and not something else.
The roots of the FTC’s guidance are found squarely in its approach to native advertising; in December 2015, the agency laid down guidelines that made clear the need to distinguish between editorial and promoted content. At the time, the language of the FTC’s guidelines left the door open when it came to disclosure requirements for different kinds of sponsored content: product placements, likes, tweets and other paid social amplification of content — in other words, influencer marketing.
Earlier this year, the FTC clarified that all sponsored content is governed by the FTC guidelines for native advertising and that regardless of platform, all paid social endorsements must be labeled as such.
With 75% of brands using influencers to reach consumers, and a handful already finding themselves in hot water, this should be something that is followed closely. However, it's not yet a given that any new regulation will be passed.