UK ad regulator tells marketers: use #ad to label adverts on Instagram

Bloggers and marketers working with bloggers to promote a brand on Instagram have been warned by the Advertising Standards Authority to be clearer about when they are posting advertising.

In guidance published yesterday, the ASA said: "If your content is an ad, it should be obviously identifiable to consumers." It follows several incidents on social media that the ASA said had caused confusion.

In one recent case, the ASA upheld a complaint about a video post on reality TV star Millie Mackintosh’s Instagram account. The post read "...More of my #BlendRecommends with @drinkj2o Spritz to come! #sp". It was decided that the text did not indicate the post was in fact an ad.

The ASA recommended that for this, a hashtag "such as #ad" should be used, and referred to further rules in the Committees of Advertising Practice code, which is enforced by the ASA.

The ad regulator has also been getting to grips with the realities of advertorial content on news sites this year, most prominently regarding BuzzFeed, when it ruled against it in the case of a 'brand publisher' post on the website.

Some have worried that the ASA is taking too hard a line on native advertising.

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