Influencer Marketing – What are the rules?

Rules of influencer marketing
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has issued a reminder that primary responsibility for the recognisability of paid for marketing communication rests with brands and advertisers. Although all parties have a duty of care, it’s important that brands encourage responsible advertising practices and that consumers are not mislead. So, what does this mean for brands, bloggers and influencers ?
ASAI guidance may be summarised as follows:
  1. Where celebrities, bloggers or influencers are sponsored by brands or paid directly to promote a product, it must be clear these posts are marketing communications.
  2. Bloggers and online influencers are already required to adhere to the ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland, which applies to all commercial marketing communications, regardless of the medium in which they appear – blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and twitter posts all included.
  3. However, the onus is on the advertiser to ensure that bloggers or influencers follow the ASAI Guidelines and identify all marketing communications, while also ensuring the content is legal, decent, honest and truthful.


Non-adherence to the code may ultimately result in the ASAI upholding a code breach which may be published in the general media. See below for a recent news article concerning a public complaint about content posted by a blogger to Snapchat.

The advertising watchdog has handled its first complaint about a Snapchat influencer.The Journal,  June 2017

 Best Practice

  • Guiding principle is that all marketing communications should be legal, decent, honest and truthful, inclusive of online influencer marketing.
  • To achieve code compliance, the ASAI is recommending the use of a clearly identifiable hashtag such as #Ad or #SP. See the example below.
  • The chosen identifiable hashtag must be clear from the beginning of the content.
  • Disclaimers should be visible for consumers to see before they interact with or read the relevant material.
Influencer marketing2

Example of a sponsored Instagram post containing the hashtag #Ad

The full Guidance provided by the ASAI on the recognisability of marketing communications may be found here.

*Update 23 January 2019:

Celebs vow to say when they are being paid to promote brands online –  Sky News 23 01 2019.  The formal commitment follows action by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which wants to improve transparency and prevent consumers from being misled by celebrity endorsements.

About the author: Suzanne Shaw, MBA, is an independent marketing professional with 20 years’ experience in developing business development, marketing and communications strategies, across a wide variety of sectors and businesses.  Contact Suzanne here, should you need assistance in developing a practical, proactive approach to your marketing activities.