Stay Legal and Maximize Your Social Media Ads: The Essential Guide to Proper Tagging
Updated: Dec 25, 2022
Recommendations of the President of UOKiK (Office of Competition and Consumer Protection) on the tagging by influencers, of advertising content on social media, is a document that the marketing industry has long awaited. The recommendations present several practical examples and graphical proposals and have been drawn up to assist online creators to correctly tag their commercial content.
The Recommendations provide for various types of commercial cooperation that differ, for instance, due to the manner in which the contract has been concluded, the form of remuneration, the impact that the advertiser has on the materials published and the duration of cooperation. Regardless of how the influencer is rewarded for cooperation (monetary payment, discounts offered or products received) and irrespective of whether the contract has been concluded in writing, on the phone or via a messaging app - all materials containing a commercial message for which in-kind benefits have been received should be clearly tagged as an ADVERTISEMENT and should name the promoted brand. The catalogue of tags that may be used is broad, and it makes no difference, from the user’s point of view, whether the word “Reklama” (Advertisement) will be preceded by a hashtag or placed in square brackets.
The recommended terms include the following:
· Płatna współpraca z marką XYZ (Paid cooperation with XYZ brand),
· Reklama marki XYZ (Advertisement of XYZ brand).
Self-promotion and PR packages
Self-promotion, i.e. activities undertaken to advertise one’s own brand, has been addressed in the Recommendations separately. If you are an author, dietary services provider or cosmetics manufacturer - when promoting those activities on your channel, you should tag the content as AUTOPROMOCJA (SELF-PROMOTION). For other suggested terms, please see the Recommendations.Be reminded that self-promotion does not involve a situation where you advertise a product of another brand, even if you have used your image or logo in the process. In such a case, we will be dealing with MATERIAŁ REKLAMOWY (ADVERTISING MATERIAL).
When going through the Recommendations, please pay special attention to gifts and examples of PR packages. The type of the tag to be used depends, to a considerable extent, on whether you received the low-value gift, from a given brand, for the first time, as other rules will apply if the gift you intend to present in social media is another in a series of similar presents received from the same brand. When an influencer promotes the first PR package, the publication needs to be tagged as PREZENT (GIFT). For other suggested terms used in this particular scenario, see the Recommendations. If the same brand provides the influencer with more products – the related publications must be tagged as MATERIAŁ REKLAMOWY (ADVERTISING MATERIAL).
Things to remember when tagging advertisements
We recommend a two-level tagging process that involves tags placed by the content author (e.g. in the description, in an image or a video, in the narration) and those placed using the platform’s built-in functionality. It is also crucial to inform the recipients about the brand that is being advertised.
The influencer should tag advertising materials in a clear, unambiguous manner that is understandable for all recipients. The tagging must be visible to regular followers and those who visit a given channel for the first time. Consumers must be made aware of the commercial nature of content at an early stage of the interaction, both on mobile and stationary devices. A list of four principles may be useful in determining whether specific content has been tagged correctly. Start with two-level tagging - use the platform’s built-in functionality and tag the material on your own. Make sure that the content is identified as being of commercial nature. Then, specify the brand you are advertising. Finally, ensure the tag is clear and understandable for the recipients.
Not sure if and how to tag your content? Apply the golden rule.
As a supplement to the Recommendations, we have made available a special tool that may be relied upon to tag advertisements, self-promoting materials or gifts in Instagram or Facebook. The tool has the form of an AR filter and will be available soon. You can check it by using the #OznaczamReklamy (#ItagAds) hashtag.
Activities of the President of UOKiK
UOKiK receives approximately 300 reports each month concerning potential violations and misleading advertisement tags. Information about cases in which no such tags are used on social media is obtained as well. Numerous investigations concerning scam and surreptitious advertising are ongoing. The first fines for failing to cooperate with UOKiK have already been imposed on 6 influencers – inter alia for failing to provide the Office with applicable explanations. In July, the President of UOKiK pressed the first charges concerned with improper use of advertisement tags on social media. Those charges have been pressed against 3 influencers and one advertiser. Please be reminded that influencers, advertising agencies and advertisers are the parties who are responsible for the correct tagging of all advertising content. A penalty equaling up to 10% of annual turnover may be imposed for failing to tag commercial content properly.
Material is based on the press release that UOKiK distributed on Monday, 28/09/2022.