influencerMarketing is a successful one for brands Strategy, but there are many legal pitfalls. A practice check.

Influencer marketing: legal framework in practice

Influencer marketing by definition: why is the legal framework important?

Influencer marketing has been on the rise in recent years and has become a popular and effective way for brands to reach their audiences through sponsored posts on social media. However, with the rise of this marketing strategy comes the need for regulations and policies to ensure transparency and fairness.

Because we live in one World, in which the People with Advertising being bombed and influencer marketing a big one Shop is. Influencers sometimes have millions of followers and lucrative advertising contracts. that throws Ask on: How do we know, for example, which advertiser we can trust? And, most importantly, how can consumers and customers protect against unfair advertising?

For these reasons, however, the legal framework in influencer marketing is increasingly gaining ground Significance. Because not everything that seems high-gloss, glamorous and great is; Brands, like influencers, must comply with laws created by legislators to protect consumers and ensure ethical practices.

Transparency for sponsored content

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One important aspect of influencer marketing that's getting more and more public attention is disclosure of sponsored content. To avoid legal repercussions or ethical concerns, it is important that influencers and brands clearly identify these sponsored posts. It's important that influencers disclose any sponsored content they post to ensure transparency and honesty with their Audience to protect.

Therefore, it is important that brands klare Establish guidelines and requirements that influencers must adhere to when promoting their products or services apply. By adhering to these guidelines and properly disclosing sponsored content, influencers and brands can maintain transparency and credibility while promoting their products and services to their audiences. And many reputable influencers have now given themselves clear and concise sponsored content disclosure policies,

Legal Framework & Disclosure Guidelines

Since the honesty of the providers cannot usually be relied on, many countries have introduced laws and guidelines on the disclosure of sponsored content. Influencers have to do this with specific Methods and Disclosure Statements describing the sponsored content, for example by using specific hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored or by including a simple and clear notice such as “sponsored” or “paid partnership” in their posts, avoiding ambiguous or vague language.

Also, all sponsored content should be treated equally, regardless of the amount of compensation received. Various court rulings have also made it clear that influencers must clearly state if a post is sponsored or promoted in any way, especially if it is clearly promotional and something has been paid for in return. By having a clearly defined sponsored content disclosure policy, influencers can ensure they comply with legal requirements and promote transparency in the Industry support financially. If they do not comply with the disclosure requirements, they face severe fines and further legal action steps.

Unfair competition: A look at history

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The Problem of unfair competition, according to Germany's legal framework, under which the non-labeling of advertising falls, is nothing new and by no means just an influencer problem: it is probably as old as mankind itself. Selling is always a part Handling and usually works especially well when the Seller does not reveal his true intentions. I would like to explain this using two personal experiences from recent history:

Affiliate advertising: success only thanks to textual introduction

One of my best-performing blog posts has long been one on the subject Health insurance at Minijob, which finds thousands of readers every month under the keyword “mini job health insurance”. Google Adsense advertising performed great on this post. At some point I came up with that Ideato build an insurance comparison into this page - because it somehow fits the topic. It was clicked diligently, but no lead was completed. The reason: Mini-jobbers, who usually have comparatively few Money will rarely take out private health insurance – or only if they have no other Choice have; For example, if you do not meet the pre-insurance times for the statutory health insurance. Not everything that seems to fit fits!

The affiliate provider recommended that I also praise the insurance comparison in the text. However, this would not only be illegal, but would also have contradicted my moral claim to objective, critical reporting. By the way, this is by no means the only time I've complained about the lax attitude of Online-Wonder marketers at blending content and advertising!

In-Text Ads: When the reader feels cheated

In-text ads also left my readers feeling uneasy. It works like this: A script provides certain terms in a text with hyperlinks. Namely in green (while the classic link color is blue) and underlined twice – in contrast to conventional links, which are only underlined once. If you then move the mouse over it, the advertisement marked as such pops up first. Clicking on it will open a new window with the ad. Only here is the link to the advertising partner.

Unlike text links, the automatically built-in links are not relevant to search engines and are also marked. And unlike other forms of advertising, the ad is placed exactly where the reader is most likely to look: in the middle of the text. So the ideal form of advertising? From the advertiser's point of view, maybe. From the reader's point of view, unfortunately not! Because they felt cheated and asked me in a comment why every click on a link would only lead to advertising. In other words, the difference between the normal, correct links and the context advertising links was not clear to everyone. Apparently not even internet-savvy readers. Even if this form of advertising was legally correct: For these reasons, I ultimately removed the in-text advertising again.

3 examples: How influencers were punished

Even if influencer marketing for brands that reach new audiences and their brand awareness increase want has become increasingly important: as with any form of marketing, there are ethical and legal guidelines to adhere to Company and influencers have to keep. Failure to comply with these guidelines can have serious consequences for everyone involved.

There are also court rulings on this: In 2019, influencer Pamela Reif was sentenced to label each of her photos on which she linked brands as “advertising” – regardless of whether it was paid or unpaid. Cathy Hummels, on the other hand, won her court case on a very similar issue. And the YouTuber and streamer Ron Bielecki fined 480.000 euros for participating in illegal gambling and advertising unlicensed offers, as reported by Wirtschaftswoche.

Bilecki's case is a bit special: the videos in question were marked as advertising, but the providers were not licensed in Germany. In fact, you can always find providers who act like a provider licensed in Germany, but it is not clear whether they even have a license and are therefore illegal. And such and similar practices have not only affected this industry for a long time, but also companies in the common Opinions considered reputable, such as banks or insurance companies. So as long as companies can do this kind of advertising for comparatively little money, why should you spend money on correctly labeled advertising?

5 consequences of non-compliance with legal framework conditions in influencer marketing

As a result, nothing will change in practice on the advertising market! And that can also lead to the legal problems described above. But what are the possible consequences of non-compliance with the legal guidelines in influencer marketing?

  1. Legal liability: Influencers and brands can be held legally liable for misleading or deceptive advertising practices, which could result in lawsuits, fines or other legal action.
  2. damage to reputation: Violating legal guidelines can damage the reputation of both the influencer and the brand they are promoting, which can lead to a loss of trust and loss of followers/customers.
  3. Negative Feedback: Influencers who do not comply with legal guidelines may face negative feedback from their followers, which can damage their credibility and reduce their earning potential.
  4. Social media ban: Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have strict rules for influencer marketing. Influencers who do not comply with these rules must expect bans or restrictions on using the platform.
  5. Loss of future business: Brands may be reluctant to partner with influencers who have not followed legal guidelines in the past.

Conclusion: Influencers have a responsibility towards their target group

In summary, influencer marketing has grown exponentially in recent years and therefore the legal framework is constantly evolving. It is essential for influencers, brands and agencies to be aware of the relevant policies and regulations in order to comply and avoid fines, legal problems and damage to their reputation.

Understanding the legal framework for influencer marketing allows all stakeholders to work together to maintain a transparent and accountable industry for all stakeholders. Because it shows again and again how much consumers, especially in their youth, are influenced by social media posts, videos and opinions in their purchasing decisions Internet be influenced - and what responsibility influencers have towards their target group.

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