If it’s an ad and it’s made to look like it’s not an ad, it’s unethical.
That’s the simple truth behind the FTC’s updated guidelines on ethical social media. According to SocialMedia.org and WordofMouth.org CEO Andy Sernovitz, the new guidelines call out all of the new ways companies try to deceive customers online. Native advertising, the practice of turning brand-sponsored content into something that looks like an article or blog post, is a prime example.
Some other examples from the FTC:
- Obscure hashtags like #spon that half-heartedly label ads
- Hidden or inconspicuous disclosures explaining sponsorships
- Tiny links that expect the customer to hunt for disclosures
In his presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference in Boston, Andy gives brands a lot of great reasons to make social media ethics and disclosure a priority. He explains that while shiny, new marketing tools like native advertising may be tempting, it puts your company’s reputation (and your job) at risk.
Learn more by watching Andy’s presentation below or check out the live blog coverage here.