The Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing


The Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing

Disclosing an influencer-brand relationship in blog posts, social media posts or other types of content isn’t just a good idea — it’s an actual requirement.

Small Business Trends caught up with Rachel Honoway, CEO of Performance Marketing Association at the recent Influencer Marketing Days conference in New York City’s Times Square. The Performance Marketing Association is a trade association for the performance marketing industry, which includes things like affiliate marketing and influencer marketing.

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Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing

At the event, Honoway discussed some of the legal issues involved in both affiliate and influencer marketing. One of the biggest requirements for influencers and affiliates is disclosure. Per the Federal Trade Commission, influencers must let consumers know they’re receiving compensation for posting about a particular brand or product, no matter what format the content or compensation might take.



Honoway elaborated, “What happens is a lot of influencers and even the brands want to be able to get product reviews and these blog posts and these Instagram posts out there that look authentic. But it’s a little bit of a gray area there because the FTC says consumers need to know that this was a compensated positioning, right? This was an actual advertisement. But just the compensation might not have been as straightforward as something like a TV ad or a radio ad.”

That disclosure might take a lot of different forms depending on the type of content you release. For example, you might include a short sentence in a blog post. But in an Instagram post, you could just use #ad. However, Honoway warned against using any language that could be confusing. The FTC has said not to use #spon in posts, for instance. To simplify, Honoway recommends using “the mom test” or “the grandma test.”

She explained, “If you sent your mom to that page, would she know that there’s a material relationship between you and that brand. If not, if she can’t look at that and say, ‘oh I get it, he’s getting compensated for this in products or in exposure or sometime — or money,’ then you have to say that.”

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions

  1. Hello Annie,

    Thanks for sharing these great tips here. Disclosure is very important to build trust among users. I am also adding a disclosure on my blog.

  2. Aira Bongco

    There is a disclosure requirement for affiliates. But I don’t know if it applies to influencers. Nice to know about this so that I can look out for it.

  3. Geno Prussakov

    It does apply to influencers; and the PMA has a great Compliance Guide out there about it: https://thepma.org/project/compliance-guide-influencer-marketing/

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