Ireland's ad watchdog is monitoring online influencers who don't declare paid-for posts

The ASAI has issued new guidelines for those operating in the fast-developing industry.

By Fora Staff

IRELAND’S ADVERTISING WATCHDOG has issued new guidelines for bloggers and online ‘influencers’, warning that it will be keeping an eye on those that don’t declare paid-for posts.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) said that it had “begun monitoring blogs and online channels” and was already contacting bloggers to remind them that all marketing communications must be declared.

The aim of the new guidelines, it says, is to “ensure that all marketing communications are easily identifiable as being separate to independent editorial content”.

In recent years, blogging has escalated from a pastime into big business, with popular bloggers able to make thousands of euro every time they post, due to partnerships with brands and businesses.

One such example is Zoella, or Zoe Elizabeth Sugg, a prolific blogger and vlogger who reportedly earns up to €50,000 each month through sponsorship from brands.

Towards the end of last year, the Public Relations Institute of Ireland called for a set of rules to protect consumers from rogue influencers who fail to disclose advertisement payments.

Tutti Fruity Zoella collection launch YouTube vlogger Zoella, real name Zoe Sugg
Source: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

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Under the new guidelines proposed by the ASAI, “where celebrities or influencers are sponsored by brands or paid directly to promote a product, it must be clear these posts are marketing communications”.

In order to ensure that this is indeed the case, the ASAI encourages the use of clearly identifiable hashtags such as #Ad or #SP to signify an advertisement or a sponsored post.

ASAI chief executive Orla Twomey said: “The area of influencer marketing has seen a number of in-depth conversations both online and in the media recently as consumers voice their concerns about bloggers who may or may not be declaring marketing communications.

“The new ASAI guidelines aim to address these concerns and develop a uniform set of standards applicable to both companies and the bloggers who deliver the marketing communications.”

They add that the onus is on the advertiser to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to in sponsored content.