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Advertising With Sponsored Posts: What Marketers Need To Know
Social media provides brands with a unique opportunity to reach millions of consumers who spend hours each day watching YouTube videos, scrolling through Instagram photos, and reading blog posts. As social media audiences are confronted with an increasing amount of content—on YouTube alone, over 500 hours of video content is uploaded every minute—collaborating with social media influencers to create sponsored posts, YouTube videos, and/or Snapchat Stories is now one of the most effective ways for companies to capture the attention of engaged users (ReelSEO).
For brands, knowing the salient differences between sponsored posts on different platforms and the guidelines marketers must follow can ensure that campaigns accomplish their goals and keep the sponsoring company in good standing with both consumers and consumer protection agencies.
[Tweet “Over 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every single minute.”]
Related Post: What Is Sponsored Content?
Why FTC Guidelines For Sponsored Posts Are Important
In addition to upholding anti-trust laws and monitoring predatory lending practices, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) helps people make informed purchasing decisions by protecting consumers from deceptive advertising (FTC). The growth of influencer marketing and the prevalence of sponsored content & posts on social media has led the FTC to develop strict guidelines regarding how both paid and unpaid sponsorships and sponsored content must be presented to audiences.
Related Post: Native Advertising vs Sponsored Content vs Influencer Marketing
For brands, asking social media influencers to divulge sponsorships is not only ethical, it is also required by law. Companies who fail to meet FTC guidelines may incur penalties and risk tarnishing the reputation of both the collaborating influencer and their own brand image.
For more resources on making sure your company’s influencer marketing campaign abides by all FTC guidelines, see the following list of resources and helpful blog articles:
Sponsored Posts 101: Instagram, YouTube, Blogs, & Snapchat
Though sponsored posts share similarities across every social media platform, there are subtle differences in formatting, campaign execution, and FTC regulations when it comes to marketing on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, or when collaborating with bloggers to create brand-sponsored content. For marketers, it’s important to know the distinctions between:
- Not to be confused with Instagram native ads (which are created and managed through Facebook’s Power Editor), Instagram sponsored posts usually appear as product placements integrated into an Instagrammer’s content. Instagram influencers may also include promotional codes in post descriptions to drive consumer action.
- FTC Guidelines: Instagram sponsored posts must include an appropriate hashtag (i.e. #sp, #spon, #sponsored, #ad) in the post description.
- YouTube sponsored videos can take a variety of forms, including product placements, product reviews, unboxing videos, tutorials, vlogs, and creative campaigns that center around a specific theme or concept. YouTube gaming channels further expand the scope of sponsorship opportunities, and include Let’s Plays and machinimas, as well.
- FTC Guidelines: YouTube sponsored videos should lead off with a verbal indication of sponsorship such as “X company gave me this product to try,” as well as a written divulgement of sponsorship in the description section of the video. The FTC also says that a YouTuber must not make any claims about a product that are not factual (ReelSEO).
- Depending on the type of blog, sponsored posts may take the form of a product placement (integrated within a blogger’s photos), a product review, or a creative campaign that integrates the product, service, or location into a larger experience/theme.
- FTC Guidelines: Like Instagrammers & YouTubers, bloggers are required to disclose their sponsorships by clearly stating “This post was sponsored by X brand” somewhere within the post.
- Snapchat Takeovers, products placements, unboxing videos, and brand promotions on an influencer’s Snapchat account are the most popular types of brand-sponsored Snapchat content, though innovative companies are experimenting with new and different ways to engage Snapchat’s large audiences.
- FTC Guidelines: Though branded on-demand geofilters and lenses are obviously sponsored content (and therefore don’t require explicit statements of sponsorships), neither Snapchat nor the FTC has determined exactly how to regulate brand-sponsored Snapchat Stories or Takeovers. To be safe, companies should require influencers to divulge the sponsorship at the beginning of the campaign (during the first Snap of the Story).
Also See Our Posts On:
5 Reasons Why Brand Influencers Are Better Than Celebrities
How To Ace Your Influencer Outreach
The 5 Different Types Of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Our 10-Step Guide To Creating An Airtight Influencer Marketing Strategy