Many of you will have seen #ad is regularly used by many influencers. But why?
Influencers are generally known as bloggers, celebrities, Youtubers or anybody with a large social media following.
Legally, influencers must now clearly identify when they are sponsored for an endorsement, so the quickest way to show this is to use #ad.
Although paying influencers to advertise your product is the fastest way to get it seen, at Plinkfizz we don’t necessarily think it’s the only way.
PR professionals all over are in debate about whether it’s worth the time and more importantly the money, after all what’s the point in shelling out all that cash to influencers when it’s clear they’ve been paid to endorse a brand.
Traackr and talk PR found that overall the use of hashtag #ad and #spon has increased by 54% over the last year, and engagement with these posts has almost quadrupled; showing that transparency is rewarded.
A study from the UK’s committee of advertising practice in 2016 found that over a third of marketers actively choose not to adhere to rule around this due to a lack of understanding or a reluctance to be transparent about paid for content.
America is already tackling this, 90 letters have been issued to celebrities warning that they must clearly show that posts are sponsored.
When executed poorly, like when #ad is hidden among other hashtags, a post will see 50% to 80% less engagement than an influencer’s organic posts.
The Advertising Standards Agency made a beauty blogger edit her post earlier this year because it didn’t disclose it was sponsored, Sheikbeauty had to edit the post to include “#ad”, which had originally read: “@flattummytea 20% off guys!!!! If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I used this and I genuinely feel less bloated and a flatter tummy … oh yessss”.
Reviews and gifting
Of course, there are alternatives to paid-for posts. We believe that by encouraging the influencer to give a genuine review, readers are more likely to trust their opinion and as a result they will trust your brand. Even if the review is bad, heaven forbid, you can then amend accordingly which shows you are listening and that you care.
By offering a product as a gift or to review you are giving the influencer the opportunity to create an open a discussion which encourages more people to talk about your brand. It might give them inspiration for a new post which already puts you in their good books.
Who should you work with?
You may have ideas about which influencers you want to work with and why, but don’t just consider the number of followers and viewers they have. Many within the PR industry are starting to see that often influencers with more followers might not get the best result for your brand as someone with significantly less followers, but who are more relevant to your brand would. It’s all about quality not quantity.
For example, if you have a home accessory, don’t send it to a beauty blogger because they have numerous followers. Send it to a homemaker with half the following. It’s about identifying interests and going for the right audience.
Of course, what works for one brand may not work for another. If #ad works for you go for it. If you want more advice on working with influencers, contact our friendly team.