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The ACCC's Call for Transparency in Influencer Marketing - Dec 2023 report


A new report (Dec 2023)  by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) highlights the need for more transparency in social media endorsements and testimonials. The report found that many influencers are not properly disclosing their relationships with brands, making it difficult for consumers to know if they are being marketed to. The ACCC is calling for clearer disclosures and is also taking enforcement action against some influencers who have not complied with the law.
ACCA Dec 2023 report cover


Clear Disclosures and Honest  Endorsements

In today's digital age, social media has become an ubiquitous platform for brand promotion and consumer engagement. Influencer marketing, in particular, has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience and build brand awareness. However, a recent report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has raised concerns about the transparency and ethical practices within the influencer marketing industry.

The ACCC's report, titled "Social Media Influencer Testimonials and Endorsements," examines the practices of social media influencers in advertising and endorsements in a sweep in early 2023. It highlights several key issues, including:

  • Non-disclosure of brand relationships: Many influencers are failing to adequately disclose their paid partnerships with brands, making it difficult for consumers to distinguish between genuine endorsements and paid advertisements.
  • Vague disclosures: When disclosures do occur, they are often vague or misleading, making it unclear to consumers whether the influencer's opinion is genuine or influenced by financial incentives.
  • False statements about products: Influencers have been caught making false or misleading statements about products, exaggerating their benefits or downplaying their drawbacks.
  • Lack of expertise: Influencers are promoting products without proper experience or evidence of efficacy, leading consumers to believe that the products are more effective than they actually are.

These practices, according to the ACCC, not only mislead consumers but also unfairly impact market competition by creating an uneven playing field for businesses.

Key findings from their report

ACCA Dec 2023 report key findings
ACCA's Dec 2023 report - key findings


In response to these findings, the ACCC has issued recommendations to enhance transparency in influencer marketing. These recommendations include:

  • Stricter guidelines for disclosures: The ACCC advocates for clear, unambiguous statements about brand partnerships. Influencers should clearly identify sponsored content and disclose their financial relationships with brands.
  • Enhanced monitoring and enforcement: The ACCC suggests increased scrutiny of influencer marketing practices and stronger enforcement measures to ensure compliance with advertising standards.
  • Consumer education: The ACCC recommends educating consumers about influencer marketing and empowering them to make informed decisions about the products they purchase.

Looking ahead to 2024, the ACCC anticipates stricter regulatory actions and greater awareness among consumers regarding influencer marketing. It is likely that penalties for non-compliance will increase, and a shift towards more authentic, transparent influencer marketing practices will emerge.

The ACCC's report serves as a wake-up call for the influencer marketing industry, emphasising the need for honesty and transparency in digital advertising. It is a step towards protecting consumers and ensuring fair market practices in the evolving landscape of social media. As the influencer marketing industry continues to grow, it is crucial for both influencers and brands to abide by ethical guidelines and prioritise transparency to maintain consumer trust and foster a healthy, competitive market.

Final comment

This report, albeit a sample of 150 reports shows the same trend that the RippleXn has observed and measured too. 

ACCA Dec 2023: Number of influencers marking concerning posts by sector
ACCA's Dec 2023 report - breakout by industry

Fashion, beauty and food & drink, travel, health & fitness, home and video games often top the charts. The team has found this is two fold. 1) they are very active and therefore visible. The large quantity of activity here allows more opportunity for marketers and influencers to be busy quickly and not know the rules, 2) the platform. Instagram posts are often reported as it is easy to find and report. Classical video platforms and long form content need more effort to report and have more dedicated viewers who are less likely to report.

If your brand or agency wishes to talk to the team about the RippleXn services please reach out. 

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