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BizReport : Advertising archives : August 12, 2016

Shhhhh... brands ask influencers not to reveal commercial arrangements

A new survey of influencers reveals that some brands are asking them to keep their commercial arrangements quiet, something that the FTC actively discourages.

by Helen Leggatt

Research conducted earlier this year by Twitter and analytics firm Annalect showed just how influential online influencers are when it comes to impacting buying decision. They found that social media influencers have almost as much impact on a person's buying decision as might a friend or family member.

More than half (56%) of Twitter users said they relied on recommendations from friends, while 49% they rely on influencers. Among Millennials, a third said they follow "handheld" names, or influencers, on social media as opposed to "household" names.

Such influencers are supposed to disclose any commercial arrangements they may have with a brand but, as a new survey of influencers from influencer marketing and media platform SheSpeaks reveals, some brands are trying to do a bit of influencing themselves - and not in a good way.

SheSpeaks' survey of 347 influencers found that, while nearly all (95%) clearly disclose to followers that they have a commercial arrangement with a brand, some have been approached by brands to keep this detail hushed up.

In fact, 25% of influencers said that brands has explicitly requested them not to disclose that they were being paid for their influencer work.

SheSpeaks founder and CEO Aliza Freud told Ad Age she attributes the high number of advertisers asking influencers not to disclose paid posts to the increase in marketers becoming involved in influencer marketing without understanding FTC requirements.

Freud added that she was surprised by the survey's findings, telling Ad Age that "any decent influencers are highly aware that they have to disclose and do it properly".

Tags: disclosure, FTC, influencer marketing, survey

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