‘Background checks’ for online influencers under Core policy

Advertising group brings in formal system for now ‘mainstream’ marketing practice

Core chief digital officer Aisling Blake: “Influencer marketing hasn’t quite been a free-for-all, but it hasn’t been regulated the way that other messaging has been regulated.”

Core chief digital officer Aisling Blake: “Influencer marketing hasn’t quite been a free-for-all, but it hasn’t been regulated the way that other messaging has been regulated.”

 

Online influencers will be subject to “full background checks” under a new policy introduced by advertising group Core.

Core, which is Ireland’s largest marketing communications group, is adopting a formal framework for how it works with influencers, bloggers and brand ambassadors in order to deliver “tangible value” for its clients and ensure it is complying with advertising standards.

The group, previously known as Core Media, said it would move from “ad hoc” relationships and instead develop long-term partnerships with influencers.

The self-regulatory Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) welcomed Core’s move. The ASAI last year told advertisers that they have “the primary responsibility” to ensure that the influencers they pay are abiding by its code of practice.

“Core totally backs what the ASAI is doing. Influencer marketing hasn’t quite been a free-for-all, but it hasn’t been regulated the way that other messaging has been regulated,” said Core’s chief digital officer Aisling Blake.

Previous partnerships

Its background checks will examine influencers’ previous partnerships, product usage and viewpoints and confirm that their follower statistics have not been buoyed by so-called “fake followers”.

A campaign brief will be shared face-to-face with the influencer, outlining their roles and responsibilities, which will be agreed in a contract signed by both the influencer and Core’s client.

The influencer must also agree to use the ASAI’s recommended social media hashtags #ad or #sp in related content, which will be pre-approved by Core and the brand before it it is posted. Campaigns will then be evaluated under what the media group is calling its “social performance index”.

Ms Blake said influencer marketing was “becoming mainstream now”, particularly among brands that are trying to reach younger audiences. However, some brands “aren’t ready to commit” to it yet, with nervousness about doing so relating to a perceived lack of transparency.

“This is the direction in which the market is going, as long as we can measure its effectiveness,” Ms Blake said.