Ensuring FTC Compliance in Your Partnership Program
Scaling a partnerships program often requires working with a large number of partners. Unfortunately, given this volume of partnerships, it can be difficult to ensure that these partners are following the rules set by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) around disclosing the paid nature of affiliate and influencer relationships. Whether you’re working with niche publishers to reach a specific, passionate audience, or you’re partnering with the biggest stars in the influencer space, adherence to FTC regulations is something your business has to get right to avoid potential lawsuits and fines.
Acceleration Partners is well versed in the latest FTC guidelines, and we have a proven approach to ensuring our partners comply. We do all the background work to ensure our clients are protected.
Our process is simple but effective. It involves education, communication, and auditing:
1. Client Team Education
FTC compliance is a core part of training for our account teams. Before our account team members start working with brands, we ensure they fully understand the regulations partners much follow. FTC regulations are taught in our live trainings, and we assign a required video course on the topic as well. Plus, we create a selection of internal resources our team can refer back to as needed.
Needless to say, arming account teams with the latest information is an absolute necessity. That’s why, whenever the FTC changes their guidelines, our subject matter experts (SMEs) promptly update our internal resources and let all our account teams know about those updates. This ensures our teams are up to date with how to stay compliant and are sharing that guidance proactively with partners.
2. Partner Communication
Every element of partnership marketing depends on strong communication and transparency, and FTC compliance is no exception. That’s why we consistently message the requirements to the affiliates and influencers we recruit for partnership programs.
Adherence to FTC regulations is included in the agreements our partners sign when they join programs, and we add reminders about partners’ compliance responsibilities to regular partner-facing communications. Even if a partner has worked with us for a while, we keep providing these reminders, especially if there are recent changes that must be followed.
3. Regular Program Auditing
Knowing FTC compliance is a paramount concern for brands, we include quarterly auditing of all our partnership programs to ensure our clients are protected. Our teams carefully sample a selection of partners from each program four times per year—or more frequently, if clients request it—and review those partners’ content closely to identify any issues.
If we find an affiliate or influencer is not following FTC guidelines, we reach out to them to remind them of their responsibilities and follow up to ensure the message is received. If the partner doesn’t respond to our follow ups, we alert the client so they can decide how to proceed. If necessary, we’re always prepared to remove partners from the program if they don’t adhere to regulations.
If you’re looking to ensure your partners are compliant with the latest FTC guidelines, bear these tips in mind when reviewing content:
- Ensure that disclosures are clear and conspicuous, meaning they are unavoidable for people engaging with the content. Users shouldn’t have to scroll to see them, and they shouldn’t need to put on reading glasses to see them in social media posts. To be safe, the best practice is to put disclosures at the top of posts so a consumer can’t miss it.
- Remember that effective disclosures also depend on who you are targeting. For example, if you are speaking to the elderly, or to children, ensure your language and disclosure is appropriate for those audiences.
- For video content, it is important to include the disclosure in the video itself, rather than simply leaving the disclosure in the contextual description of the video. Remember, not everyone reads the text below a video, especially when they’re scrolling on platforms like Instagram or TikTok.
In FTC compliance, the little things make all the difference. That’s why we ensure clients can trust our team to understand the latest details and get them right for their programs.
Connect with our team today to learn more about how Acceleration Partners can ensure your brand is putting the best foot forward in the affiliate and influencer channel—and that your business is protected.
By: Matt Wool, CEO, Acceleration Partners
Helping brands unlock growth through partnerships.