#Sponsored – The FTC’s Crackdown on Influencer Disclosures

05.01.2024 | Category: Advertising |

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently stepped up its enforcement of regulations around influencer marketing. In the past few years, several cases have been brought against brands who have failed to disclose their material connections with influencers. 

This recent crackdown on influencers comes in response to the growing scale of influencer marketing. The influencer marketing industry has grown exponentially in recent years and was estimated to be worth $21 billion in 2023, doubling since 2019. 

The FTC has made it clear that it is committed to protecting consumers from misleading advertising, and influencer marketing is a key area of focus.The question must now be asked, how can brands approach influencer marketing whilst maintaining their reputation and avoiding legal trouble.

What Are The Guidelines?

Here are some of the key points to note from the FTC’s current guidelines for sponsored content:

  • Sponsored content must be clearly labelled and unambiguous.

If a brand has either paid an influencer for a post or sent them a product with the expectation that a post will be made, this must be clearly communicated to the audience. 

Placing a #ad or #sponsored at the very end of a post no longer cuts it. The FTC has made this point very clear in their revised guidelines. In order for sponsored posts to remain compliant, the influencer must place their disclosure in such a way that it cannot be missed; e.g. above a “read more” button. 

Someone that is passively viewing a sponsored post cannot be left with the impression that it has been organically created. 

  • Do not incentivize positivity

A brand cannot threaten an influencer with withheld payment or future opportunities based on negatively reviewing a product. Inversely, a brand cannot incentivize an influencer on the condition that they speak positively about a product e.g. “If you love the product, we’ll be sure to send you more and increase your payment for another integration!”.

  • Exceptional or outlier results must be disclosed

When sending a product to an influencer for review or to be showcased in sponsored content, it is important to clearly communicate what results or benefits should be expected from the product. 

For instance, if an influencer is reviewing a supplement and states that it has helped them overcome a health condition, despite there being no claim from the brand that their supplement can help with this condition the onus falls on the influencer as well as the brand to disclose that this is not an expected outcome. 

Failure to do so may lead a consumer to purchase the product under false pretences. 

  • All parties are potentially liable

Just because an influencer has of their own volition decided not to disclose an endorsement or financial relationship with a brand, that does not mean that the brand is in the clear. 

Under the FTC’s guidelines, if disclosures are not clearly made all parties that were involved in the creation of the advertisement are culpable including the brand, the influencer and any agencies that may have facilitated the agreement. 

Best Practices For Influencer Campaigns in 2024

The trend toward the influencer marketing industry becoming more heavily regulated is not likely to slow down any time soon. As the industry continues to grow, the need to better police deceptive marketing becomes ever greater. This however should not inhibit brands from capitalising on the incredible opportunity that influencers present. Here are some guidelines for running successful, compliant influencer campaigns:

Work with the right influencers

Often issues around compliance can be dealt with at the recruitment stage. Before working with an influencer, a brand should look at their previous sponsored posts, ensure that they are disclosing paid relationships, and check to see if they have worked with the same brands multiple times.

A recent study found that consumers have a more positive perception of influencers that post sponsored content on a regular basis. Engaging with influencers that have a track record of creating consistently compliant sponsored content is essential to running a successful influencer marketing campaign.

Monitor and track your sponsored content

There can be a tendency to think that influencers can provide an unquantifiable positive effect on the growth of a brand. This is an attitude that needs to be stamped out if you are to run a successful influencer marketing campaign. 

Once a piece of sponsored content is live, it is crucial that the brand is tracking sales generated through the use of affiliate links. Influencer marketing is a channel that cannot be as tightly controlled by the brand, so understanding the ROI of this activity is crucial in order to justify the inherent risk of working with influencers.

Communicate openly and honestly with influencers

Full understanding the rules around influencer compliance can be difficult. As a brand, it is important to lead the conversation around disclosures when running an influencer campaign. Ignorance as to what the influencer will say or post is not a valid excuse for lack of proper disclosure. 

When sending over ad read copy or creative assets, this is the perfect opportunity to include details of what must be said/ included in order for the influencer’s work to be FTC compliant. 


The FTC’s crackdown on influencers is a sign that the agency is committed to protecting consumers from misleading advertising. As the industry of influencer marketing continues to grow, it is important for influencers and brands to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and trends. By following the tips above, you can help to ensure that your influencer marketing campaigns are compliant with the FTC’s regulations.

Sound like a lot to take in? At Your10k, we’ve made it our priority to be abreast of the latest trends, regulations and best practices when it comes to influencer marketing. To learn more about how we can help your brand scale, get in touch today.

Additional Resources

  • FTC’s Endorsement Guides: https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/ftcs-endorsement-guides
  • FTC’s Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers: https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/disclosures-101-social-media-influencers
  • CCPA’s Guidelines for Social Media Influencers: https://vakilsearch.com/blog/new-guidelines-for-social-media-influencers/


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