Only a week after the Competition and Markets Authority announced its probe into influencer marketing, blogger and vlogger Lydia Elise Millen has published a candid piece about her experience of dealing with the Advertising Standards Authority (see link below). It's an interesting read for anyone who uses influencers to reach the market.
The most striking, if unsurprising, note is the sense of frustration and unease that she and other influencers feel at being suddenly thrust into the world of ad regulation, when all some of them set out to do was some blogging.
The inconsistencies Lydia perceives in the ASA's approach to this field probably result from a combination of factors. It may suggest of a lack of understanding of the issues on the part of influencers (or a failure of the ASA or others to help them understand better). Of course, the ASA is not immune to inconsistency in developing or complex areas (we're all human). But more importantly, the regulator is not bound by its own decisions and is free to develop its approach to emerging technologies and trends.
And that's generally a good thing, even if it keeps the rest of us on our toes.
I think the main problem we keep coming up against was the lack of consistency. Even when following previous instructions, you could still find yourself essentially in the wrong... The A.S.A. acknowledged that there were clear areas that they needed to work on and we highlighted a number of areas where their systems could potentially be problematic, from ruining relationships with brands to inadvertently providing another anonymous platform for online trolling. In summary, like many of us, the A.S.A. are learning to navigate the space effectively. Feeding back on our experiences, can help improve their processes and procedures as well as help the development of easily accessible information, which is at the forefront of what they are currently doing. They are there to help and guide us because essentially, we all have the same end goal in sight.