While influencer marketing continues to grow, there is a lack of awareness of how the medium is being regulated with 61% of UK consumers criticising brands for poor transparency around how they use influencers to promote their products online.

Promotions agency Prizeology asked 2,000 UK shoppers about influencer marketing campaigns on social platforms including Instagram, YouTube and Facebook and a staggering 88% said they should be made aware when an influencer is being paid to promote branded products online while 57% want to understand how they are being influenced by brands and influencers.

Backing this further, over half (61%) believe influencers don’t have to disclose that they have been paid to talk about a product.

When it comes to hashtags and language, 49% are not aware on the terminology to indicate there is a commercial relationship between a brand and influencer.

“Consumers do value transparency, because they want to understand exactly how they are being influenced by brands or influencers,” said Sarah Burns, managing director at Prizeology.

Tighter compliance

The study also found 71% of UK consumers wrongly believe that influencer marketing is not regulated at all. Younger people, however, are more likely to be aware of the compliance rules surrounding influencer marketing which is currently regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Despite this, 71% of consumers believe the ASA should be doing more to enforce disclosure among brands and influencers and a further 56% stating both parties should be punished if they fail to disclosure.

Overall when it comes to the impact of influencer marketing, 44% indicated that the medium is damaging to society.

“It is clear that this is an area of promotion that is growing rapidly, and the regulations need to be enforced more rigorously to keep pace with its growth,” added Burns; “I know the ASA has committed to comprehensive education and enforcement this year, and our research shows that this would be welcomed by consumers.”