June 20, 2024
Reel-y useful advice on ensuring your ads are a compliant Insta-success-Story

With an estimated 30million+ users in the UK, YouGov puts Instagram as jointly the most popular social network in the UK with Facebook, and the second most well-known. With its mix of content formats including Instagram Live, Stories and Reels, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular choice for many marketers.

As the rules in the CAP Code are largely media neutral – from sponsored posts and promotional marketing to brand accounts and influencer marketing – the same rules and principles that apply in other media are equally applicable to advertising on Instagram. 

Here’s some useful advice to help you ensure your marketing is an ‘insta(nt)’ compliant success.

Make clear when posts are ads

As is true for all social media platforms, and indeed all media, advertising on Facebook – whether it’s a post from a brand about a product they sell or influencer or affiliate marketing content – must be obviously identifiable as advertising. 

The ASA have ruled that personalised discount codes alone, just tagging the brand and use of the term ‘brand ambassador aren’t sufficiently clear. For more detailed guidance on the principles, see the ‘Influencers’ guide to making clear that ads are ads’ and our previous article here.

Always ‘meta’ to target the right crowd!

Ads must be socially responsible and part of this means protecting vulnerable people, in particular children. Targeting on Instagram, and of course across all media, is therefore important for protecting them from certain types of content, and for ensuring ads for age-restricted products do not target or appeal to children. Products with restrictions on placement and targeting include alcohol, gambling, HFSS foods, slimming regimes and cosmetic interventions. 

The ASA’s 100 Children Report found that at least 11% of the children monitored had set up social media accounts which falsely suggested they were over the age of 18, highlighting the importance of robust targeting on such platforms.

The ASA will always expect you to use all the tools available to target appropriately on any platform and ensure that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid your ads being seen by someone who (for example) due to their age, shouldn’t.

When it comes to influencer marketing, there usually isn’t access to the same targeting tools and so marketers should take into account the age demographic of an influencer’s followers when deciding who to work with. For example, the ASA have previously considered the targeting of a Tanya Burr story for Heineken (alcohol) and post from PointlessBlog for Nutella (HFSS) and in both cases assessed evidence that demonstrated the audience was likely to be under 25% under-18s/16s respectively, as required by the relevant rules.

Apply a CAP Code filter to your promotions

If you choose to run a promotion, like a competition or ‘giveaway’ from your Instagram profile, make sure you include all the significant terms and conditions that apply and follow the other rules in Section 8.

Promotions must always be administered fairly and, amongst other things, prizes in prize draws should be awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and conditions for entry should be capable of being independently verified.

For more on this topic, see our resources here.

Not sure what to follow?

If you need help with an upcoming Instagram campaign, feel free to reach out to the Copy Advice team for… well , maybe not instant but certainly very fast bespoke advice!


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