Insights Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) publishes updated Guidance for Influencer Marketing


Having considered feedback from key industry stakeholders, CAP has updated its guide to help influencers stick to the rules by making clear when their content is advertising. The “Influencer’s guide to making clear that ads are ads”, first published in 2018 and now on its third edition, was developed in collaboration with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The Influencer’s guide is a best-practice guide intended to provide a good understanding of the rules and how to follow them for the benefit of the audience and the wider influencer marketing industry. It includes:

  • what the rules are;
  • when content should be disclosed;
  • advice around affiliate marketing;
  • how to make clear ads are ads;
  • visual examples of best practice; and
  • what happens if content isn’t disclosed.

The Influencer’s guide also includes a flowchart to help users quickly work out whether a post needs to make clear that it is an ad.

CAP explains that under the rules, when a brand gives an influencer a payment or any other incentive, or an influencer is otherwise personally or commercially connected to the brand, any content featuring or referring to that brand will need to make clear that it is advertising. This is a requirement under consumer protection law and the CMA has also published advice on this.

When a third-party brand also has “editorial control” over the content, the ASA can also take action under the CAP Code. Where an influencer is promoting their own brand or products that they have collaborated in the creation of, such content also falls within the ASA’s remit, as does affiliate marketing, a type of performance-based marketing where an influencer receives a commission for clicks/sales generated by a personalised link or code.

CAP says that consumers must always be aware when they are being advertised to, and both brands and influencers have a responsibility to ensure the content makes that reality clear upfront. Failure to disclose a commercial relationship leaves both parties at risk of action from the ASA. To read CAP’s press release in full and for a link to the updated guide, click here.