Since the ASA ruling in 2013 to regulate and make transparent sponsored posts and endorsements on Twitter, things have become a lot clearer for brands, celebrities and social influencers looking to leverage the scale of social networks for their campaigns. YouTube however, and the fast-growing stars that reach hundreds of thousands of avid viewers every day, has remained a grey area with brands falling victim to unclear guidelines around product endorsement on the channel.
Now, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and ASA have introduced new guidelines to ensure that sponsored videos or adverts on YouTube are clearly highlighted via text in the description box, video title and even onscreen. Much like the use of #ad on Twitter, Vine and Instagram, any videos featuring product placement or promotion of a campaign must be clearly labelled and the same applies to ambitious vloggers looking to promote their own products. Basically, if video content is controlled by a brand or marketer, viewers need to be clearly told about it.
It’s a telling move and demonstrates the growing power of vloggers in the advertising and marketing sectors when it comes to reaching their audiences. It is also important that young talent creating this content and working with brands are protected when it comes to brand endorsement.
Elliot Willis, at vlogger talent agency Channel Flip, has been working with the ASA to make sure that this popular model is beneficial to everyone; “We have been working closely with the ASA over recent months to help define the new code of practice for branded content on YouTube Influencers’ channels. To everyone’s benefit, the new guidelines are now standard practice and what we have been enforcing for a number of months. It is imperative for brands and YouTube influencers that these guidelines are adhered to, both for the integrity of the brand and the YouTube channel.”
These new guidelines act as yet another sign of the maturing world of online influencers and demonstrate the importance for brands and influencers themselves to behave appropriately in this exciting space for marketers.