The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has released new guidelines for vloggers who work with brands and make videos paid for by companies. Vloggers have been told that they have to make it crystal clear to their viewers if a video contains an ad for a product, or if it has been sponsored by a company.
The guidelines are to help viewers, so you’ll know if your favourite YouTuber is talking about a product because they genuinely like it, or because they’ve been paid to do so. Top vloggers are paid many thousands of pounds to mention products, so this is big business.
According to the new guidelines, paid-for content must clearly display the word “ad” or “advert” or “advertising feature”, so that viewers know what they’re clicking on before they click. It’s not enough to have that disclosure at the end of the video or in tiny writing in the details section.
Where does this leave bloggers?
The new guidelines specifically refer to vloggers and not bloggers who write posts rather than making videos. Therefore technically, it doesn’t apply to non-vloggers. But if the ASA are looking at vlogs then blogs won’t be too far behind. So even if you don’t have any commercial stuff on your blog right now, you need to be aware of the issue because it might happen as your blog grows.
Ultimately, if you stick to being clear and honest with your audience then you won’t go wrong. If you’ve been sent something by a company to review, or given free tickets to an event, just be honest and say so. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It would be more embarrassing if you weren’t honest with your readers and got found out, because then you would lose their trust. And once that’s gone, it’s very hard to regain.