With new disclosure regulations having hit the legislature earlier this year, we thought we’d find out how they’re impacting the world of influencing. We surveyed a number of prominent influencers and gained some interesting responses. Here’s a rundown of the takeaways:
The regulations have had an impact
…but it’s not caused the major disruption that was first feared. Our respondents were fairly evenly spread across the spectrum when asked how the recent regulations had impacted their business.
Under 15% of respondents described the regulations as difficult to implement, perhaps indicating that this is where the impact has been felt. But, having said this, the majority of respondents said that the regulations were either easy or very easy to adhere to.
Confidence remains high
The mood overall is positive and confident. The overwhelming majority of influencers surveyed think that the introduction of regulation has been a positive move for the industry as a whole. When asked about their confidence in their own business prospects under the new regulations, 89% were extremely, very, or somewhat confident.
Follower and B2C relations seem largely unaffected
71% of those surveyed noticed no change in follower numbers, profile interactions and so on since the regulations came into force. A minority of influencers have observed some impact upon their general interactions with followers but, again, 52% of respondents have experienced little to no change in this regard.
One respondent admitted that “it’s made it more difficult to have good engagement”, but were quick to point out that, under the new regs, “I know the engagement I have is more authentic than ever”.
B2B relations are more of a mixed bag
Roughly 47% of our influencers had noticed no difference in their interactions with brands or felt that it was too early to gauge any impact.
This may reflect the new imperatives which require sponsored posts to be tagged #ad, perhaps making influencer/brand strategizing a bit trickier. Our influencers were also divided more or less straight down the middle over whether or not hashtagging posts as sponsored or paid for diminishes their impact. Exactly 42.86% responded ‘Yes’, and exactly 42.86% responded ‘No’ to this question.
Influencers agree: Transparency is a good thing – when it works
The general consensus seems to be that the regulations are adding clarity and transparency to the world of influencer marketing, and that this is no bad thing. If anything, our respondents wanted more stringent disclosure regulations. “I’ve asked a couple of people about the #ad scenario…and they don’t even care about it” one influencer told us, going on to say that the hashtag #ad was potentially misleading. “#AD is too general”, another agreed.
There is some disagreement over what constitutes an ‘ad’ and whether the regulations hit smaller businesses with unfair force. One influencer explained that “a paid press trip campaign staying in 5* hotels plus flights needs the same disclosure as content where you’ve been sent a notebook”.
However, overall transparency of disclosure is considered a positive move – so long that it is enforced fairly and that everyone plays by the rules. One of our influencers perhaps sums it up best:
“The industry is still in its infancy, and without some sort of regulation, influencers don’t have any kind of guide of what’s right or wrong. This gives them an anchor point to follow.”
And this can only be a good thing.