Recent changes to advertising standards have increased the need for influencers to make it clear when social media posts are advertising. Find out what this means for people promoting health messages online.
New advertising standards have been introduced to help protect consumers in the rapidly evolving space of influencer social media advertising. The standards apply to all influencer ad content posted from 14 September 2020.
For the purposes of applying the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) codes, an influencer is a broad term used to describe people who have influence over the choice, opinion or behaviour of their followers. As long as your practice operates a business page it is clear your posts are business related - influencers are individuals, not businesses.
It is also important to note the ASA's definition of advertising is much broader than what many think of as an ad.
The onus is on the influencer/advertiser to ensure it is clear the content is advertising, at the first interaction with that content (i.e. not in a list of hashtags at the bottom, or after expanding to read the full caption).
The intent of the post is important. If the individual making the post intends to promote a service in return for some form of payment, it is an ad.
This change in standards is designed to protect the general public/consumers from being marketed to unfairly. For example, a person could follow a celebrity sportsperson on Instagram and choose to eat and drink the things shown on that influencers Instagram account without realising the person is paid to make those posts.
We sought clarification from the ASA on posting on matters of public health, such as on time immunisation for children. Your practice will claim for the service provided, but the visit is free for the patient.
For individuals writing posts that promote services consider prefacing the caption with something such as 'ad' or 'advert'. Examples are shown below.
Amber Bremner, Communication and Marketing Manager
021 254 0031
Marie Simpson, Communication and Engagement Director
027 226 6767
Sarah Naidu, Senior Communication Advisor
027 598 1341