In recent years, the use of influencers in digital marketing campaigns has become more and more common. Although there are many doomsayers who predict a fall in this trend, the truth is that at present it continues to rise.

Brands continue to invest in influencers because it is indisputable that consumer habits have changed, and that influencer marketing is an effective advertising strategy.

Brands choose the influencers with whom they want to collaborate, and they publish content mentioning their products or services on social networks. Although this type of advertising is legal, the truth is that the lack of a clear and specific regulation generates legal uncertainty.

The Code of Conduct on the Use of Influencers in Advertising was born, to provide legal security to this very practice. It was approved on October 9 by the Spanish Association of Advertisers (AEA) and the Association for the Self-regulation of Commercial Communication (AUTOCONTROL).

This Code, which will be applicable to advertisers adhering to AEA and AUTOCONTROL, as well as to any other advertiser or influencer who voluntarily wants to join, is intended to guarantee compliance with one of the basic principles of legal advertising, which is the principle of authenticity or identification of advertising content, which means when we encounter a communication, publication or post for promotional purposes, this must be disclosed to the recipients.

The companies adhering to the Code must inform the influencers with whom they collaborate of its existence and will promote their adherence to the Code. In addition, the contracts signed with the influencers will include a clause that indicates the need to comply with the ethical standards in commercial communications provided for in the Code.

One of the most important points of the Code is that it clearly determines what should be understood as advertising content in order to distinguish itself from the cloud that has always hung over the sector: accusations of covert advertising.

In this sense, according to the Code, we encounter advertising content when, taken as a whole, the advertising:

a. is aimed at promoting products or services.

b. is disclosed in the framework of collaborations or reciprocal commitments, and the disclosure of the aforementioned content is subject to a payment or other consideration by the advertiser or its representatives.

c. the advertiser or its agents exercise editorial control over the content disclosed (previously establishing all or part of it and/or validating it).

In the opinion of Lydia Alberti (@whenimworking), talent manager and expert in influencer marketing: "For years, professionals in the sector have been waiting for the regulation of Influencer Marketing to put an end to our legal insecurity. Unfortunately, we are light years behind other media and countries, and I am concerned that this code will come late and badly. I'm not clear that the definition given to "compensation" is understanding of how social media works, but we'll see over time if the code is able to adjust to such a changing world.Even so, it is undoubtedly a big step for the fastest growing advertising sector in recent decades."

What is already known as the Influencers Code will come into effect on January 1, 2021 and will be applicable to those advertisers and influencers that adhere to it. We will have to wait until next year to see if this Code which is full of good intentions has a real impact despite not being a mandatory rule.

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