Influencer marketing and the Competition Act

Truth in advertising is important. As an influencer, consumers rely on the opinions you share online about products and services, and believe they are genuine and impartial. It’s misleading if you don’t make it clear that your online content is actually an advertisement.

The deceptive marketing practices provisions of the Competition Act apply to anyone who is promoting a product, service, or any business interest. So, as an influencer, the Act applies to you.

You should disclose all material connections you have with the business, product or service you are promoting.

Your connections may be “material” if they have the potential to affect how consumers evaluate your independence from a brand. For example, you may have a material connection if you have:

  • received payment in money or commissions
  • received free products or services
  • received discounts
  • received free trips or tickets to events
  • a personal or family relationship

Here are some best practices you should follow when disclosing these connections:

  1. Make sure that your disclosures are as visible as possible.
    • Your disclosures should be prominent. Your audience may not see them if they are in a long caption, group of hashtags, or a profile bio.
    • Your disclosures should be visible on all devices without having to click or tap a button to expand the post.
    • If you share your content on multiple social media platforms, make sure your disclosures are on each one.
  2. Make sure your disclosures are clear and contextually appropriate.
    • Use plain and clear language in your disclosures. Avoid ambiguous terms and abbreviations.
    • Keep in mind the way your audience views or experiences the content you create on social media. Certain content may require both audio and visual disclosures.
    • Linking to or tagging a brand, posting a discount code, or linking to an affiliate webpage is unlikely to be enough.

Ask yourself:

Will it be clear to my audience that I have a material connection with the company that sells this product or service?

You should also base any reviews and testimonials on actual experience.

  • Be honest about what the product has done for you.
  • Don’t make broad claims about a product’s performance. Testing or proof may not exist to back up such claims, so it’s important that you stick to your own personal experience when reviewing a product.

Further reading