On October 1, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC) presented a ‘Guide to good practices in advertising through influencers’, a self-regulatory document that presents guidelines to protect consumers based on the consumer statute.
Among the recommendations of the SIC they highlight that it is necessary for the influencer to identify when there is a business relationship with an advertiser in detail to his followers.
In that sense, the Superintendency was clear that it should be announced even when the remuneration is not money. “It may consist of discounts on the advertiser’s products, free delivery of the advertiser’s goods or services, invitations to enjoy experiences, payment in kind, among others,” he said.
This guide, which has been in place for some time, is not normative, but, as in other countries, it seeks to regulate this multi-million dollar business based on influencers, agencies, brands and advertising in favor of those who consume the content.
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In Colombia, according to Fluvip, an expert network firm, it is estimated that around 10 million dollars are moved per year in advertising with influencers and this figure will continue to increase over time.
For this reason, explains Sebastián Jasminoy, CEO of Fluvip, it is important to further professionalize the influencer marketing and content marketing industry. “Since there is a regulation, professionals are required to accept, understand and enforce that regulation so that everything is transparent,” he says.
This ‘guide’, Jasminoy explains, will affect those who make informal advertising agreements and will lead to the big brands turning to companies of professional marketing influencers who know the regulations, have a legal department and have technology.
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“The SIC talks a lot about understanding whether influencers have fake followers, and that’s data that you discover with technology,” adds Jasminoy.
In a similar sense, Linda Patiño, digital analyst and author of the book What the hell are influencers doing? Points out that there are still difficulties with those craroes of products that advertise with companies that are outside the country and are not clear in their guidelines that causes problems.
Although there was talk of fines close to 2,000 minimum wages (about 1,780 million pesos), Patiño explains that this is not so easy and the SIC would have to do an investigation based on complaints about dishonest practices carried out by these content creators, of which 10 new ones appear per day, according to Fluvip.
With the exponential growth in viewers and fans, millions of followers accumulate on social networks and create an ideal space for brands to promote their products and services.
The dynamics of advertising underwent a metamorphosis and now, on many occasions, a famous person is more profitable in networks than even in large mass media. But how do these influencers make money? And can anyone be one of them?
Although many believe that influencers are only young people who upload entertainment content to their social networks, there are also models, singers, doctors, dentists, writers or content creators of different aspects who have an influential opinion on those who follow them; For this reason they are very attractive to brands, because those who follow them believe and are close to what they say.
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There are different ways to monetize content made on social media, and each one is different. For example, on YouTube, the platform pays content creators depending on the visits the videos have and the content uploaded to the network. For example, if it is a video that the company considers that it is not for all public, it may be that it does not pay for the visits.
According to Juan Pablo Amaya, a youtuber who accumulates more than a million followers on the platform, the payments depend on the cost per thousand reproductions (CPM), which can vary depending on the content and who sees the content.
“Payments can vary, and the platform can pay different figures for every 1,000 views; in my case there are times when they pay me 5 dollars, as they may pay others less or more, ”says Amaya.
“Influencers are new media,” says Jasminoy. So just like any media, “there are times when what they do is sell advertising space and through there generate income,” he adds.
Then, there the influencer begins to be sought out by different companies that are interested in their reach and audience. The youtuber Amaya says that in his case it is a constant that different companies look for him for his scope and that once you have an audience, these approaches are increasingly recurrent.
And just as some athletes are the ambassadors of brands such as Puma, Adidas or Nike, digital influencers of all kinds also begin to appear in television commercials, posters or banners.
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With a millionaire reach and credibility in their audience, great influencers are increasingly sought after by brands.
“In countries like the United States, the marketing budget focused on digital influencers is almost 63%, and amid the digital transformation this continues to increase. They make quite effective strategies for brands, ”says Ana Bolena Ortiz, CEO of The Ranga Company, an ad agency for influencers.
Ortiz is also emphatic that the main problem of many influencers is that they are not structured and formalized, so a lot of confusion is generated. “You see misleading advertising of these influential people,” he says.
In this sense, for a character who lives off advertising, losing the credibility of his audience can be very serious and for the consumer, also because he can fall into scams or misleading advertising for believing in products promoted by the character he follows.
On the other hand, another way that influencers make money is promoting their own products; but this does not escape self-regulation either.
“If the influencer owns 100% of the brand, they should not advertise that it is advertising; however, if not, you must mention it in your content.
Whenever people receive any type of payment, be it in cash, in products, services or discounts, they have to warn that it is advertising ”, concludes Jasminoy.
The scandals in advertising of ‘influencers’
In recent years, different scandals have arisen in which some influencers are accused by their followers of scam and misleading advertising.
For example, the Colombian influencer and model Elizabeth Loaiza, on her Instagram account, offered the ProMed covid-19 rapid test product with supposed qualities for the rapid detection of coronavirus; however, the SIC opened a statement of charges for Loaiza to show what the nature of the product was, but did not respond to the call. Other influencers such as Luisa Fernanda W, Las Cardachians or Rawvana have also been confronted in networks for alleged scams.
(You can continue reading: The most brazen acts of ‘influencers’ during the pandemic)