An FTC disclosure is a prominent statement that provides consumers transparency about a person's relationship with a brand that pays them to sponsor or promote their products.
As more people are being paid to share their opinions about products online, the FTC wants to clarify when endorsements (a.k.a. opinions, product reviews, and recommendations) are made after a brand connects with the person sharing the endorsement.
While the FTC has published endorsement guidelines, they can be vague. We want to help both brands and experts understand what the FTC is looking for, so we put together this expert-facing overview article to help make compliance easy. In addition, we've outlined more information below specific to product sampling campaigns.
How experts will share their FTC disclosures
Experts participating in product sampling campaigns must abide by the disclosure rules outlined in our user terms and conditions. Brands can also reinforce the FTC disclosures in their campaign application and messaging.
When posting on social media and/or reviewing these products online, experts must:
- Disclose that they received the product(s) for free for testing purposes by explicitly stating "free" or "complementary" at the beginning of their written caption or video introduction. We recommend the expert state, "I received this product for free from (brand name) and ExpertVoice in exchange for my honest review."
- For Instagram in-feed posts: The disclosure must be within the first 125 characters of the caption before the "...more" button (if it's a more extended caption).
- For videos: The disclosure needs to be stated at the beginning and displayed on the video. It can be displayed on the video or written on paper and displayed to the camera.
- Use appropriate hashtags as outlined in the brand's campaign communications and rules on the brand's campaign landing page.
- If the expert tags multiple Instagram accounts, adds a list of hashtags or includes extra links in their post, they need to separate the FTC disclosure, so it stands out.
It's each expert's responsibility to make FTC disclosures in their social media photos and product reviews, be familiar with the FTC's Endorsement Guides and comply with laws against deceptive ads.
Learn more about FTC disclosures and how experts should disclose them adequately in any online product reviews and/or social media posts that they share for a brand's ExpertVoice product sampling campaign in the appropriate expert support articles.