AiMCO, the Australian Influencer Marketing Council, updates its code of practice to promote better understanding around affiliate marketing and gifting


Influencer marketing is no set-and-forget endeavour. Dynamics between brand and influencer alter over time. Social media platforms roll out new features and tinker with their terms of service. Regulators revise their guidelines and tighten their regulations. 

To maintain best practice and ensure a bright, robust future for our industry professionals across the ecosystem must come together to understand the shifting sands and to share industry knowledge.

Today, the Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AiMCO) has released two important documents: an update to its Influencer Marketing Code of Practice; and a new Guide to Gifting and Ad Disclosure. 

AiMCO updates code of practice

AiMCO’s updated Code of Practice promotes clear, unambiguous advertising declarations. The additional text aims to ensure awareness that disclosure relates to all engagements including paid or contracted, gifts, value-in-kind, and affiliate. Namely, affiliate marketing engagements must be treated as advertising. The revised code notes: “These without exception are seen as advertising and must be identified as an advertisement or carry #Ad /#Advertisement. For example just providing a unique link or unique discount code is seen as insufficient for affiliate marketing”.

The code updates were informed by recent changes to the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ (AANA) Code of Ethics, its implementation through Ad Standards and recent reports on consumer complaints issued by the Ad Standards Community Panel.  Adidas Australia, Bondi Boost, and Reebok all had influencer marketing advertising campaigns complaints against them upheld by the AANA for breaches of advertising standards under distinguishable advertising rules. I covered this in my weekly industry newsletter for Fourth Floor last month. 

The Code clearly articulates the areas of responsibility and proposed requirements for all involved in the influencer marketing ecosystem. It spans influencer vetting, advertising disclosure, and contractual considerations including content rights usage and reporting metrics.

The Influencer Marketing Code of Practice has been specifically designed for Australia, but with global considerations, to extend confidence in influencer marketing by establishing a common language and providing clear guidance. The Influencer Marketing Code of Practice will evolve as the influencer marketing landscape continues to develop.

AiMCO’s Guide to Gifting and Ad Disclosure offers scenario examples adding practical advice to the expanded section of the update code of practice. The guide provides clarity about when and how disclosure should be made with regard to gifts or value-in-kind products or services linked to influencer/creator content posted on social media. The guide has been developed to help minimise reputational risks to both creators and brands and most importantly to ensure adherence to Australian consumer law.

"The 2021 updates to the AANA Code of Ethics and supporting Practice Note have had a significant impact on how complaints in relation to influencer marketing campaigns have since been determined by the Ad Standards Community Panel” said Tegan Boorman of Social Law. The Best Practice Working Group member added that the revisions to the code and additional guide to gifting “provide useful guidance and case examples to empower and support those working within the Industry to create transparent influencer marketing campaigns.”

AiMCO launched in late 2019 in response to the need for greater transparency and best practice. It now has over sixty corporate members with a growing influencer membership. AiMCO works with all layers of the Australian influencer marketing ecosystem to define applicable best practice and to resource all parties. A key focus of AiMCO is addressing gaps in marketers’ knowledge about the influencer marketing space.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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