When they are on your Website or are promoted on social media, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires an online disclosure with affiliate links. Here is a quick overview of the compliance issues from integrating your affiliate statements to promoting social media products in the first place.
What are affiliate programs?
Affiliate links are custom hyperlinks that serve as publicity for another company and are placed on your websites and social media accounts. Users are directed to a third-party website that will introduce them to products or services related to your subject or market when they click on them. You establish a business relationship with a third party when creating affiliate links which allows you to benefit from traffic that you send through the links on your Website.
A commission is paid if a sale is made after a visitor clicks on your link. Sometimes it’s a dollar per sale and sometimes a percentage. You may receive points or discounts to buy the products or services of the company in some cases. Each program of affiliates is unique.
You should be sure to follow the FTC guidelines if you are thinking of becoming a company for a product or service. These are the rules to disclose your affiliate status when promoting products of other people on the internet.
Using affiliate statements
With a piece of visible or audible information, the FTC would like you to clarify what your relationship is to the product you promote to your site visitors and social media fans. Native Advertising: The Federal Trade Commission’s Guide to Business sets out seventeen scenarios where bloggers and website administrators must clearly state that content is used for marketing purposes.
Basic rules of affiliate statements
Refer to the guide to the FTC for more information, but affiliate divulgations in general must:
- Have clear and straightforward language
- Use a font that’s easy to read
- Stay on the screen long enough to see, read and understand (for video ads)
- Significant on the page and as close as possible to the ads
- Use a color that appears on the page
- Speak at a clear, simple pace, using words that your audience understands (for audio disclosures)
Moreover, any ads you place on your property must be exact, not misleading, and supported by evidence (“substantiation”). In particular, affiliate declarations must be clear, relevant, and comprehensible. For example, ads on search engines are identified with the green “ad” boxes that are placed before the URL (see below). It is hard to miss, and users soon realize that it is a commercial.
Including affiliate statements in blogging
You must also communicate your affiliation to a company with which you have a connection by writing blog posts where you are checking or writing about a product or service. Include a clause for your compensation in your posts. Something could be said in this direction:
Then link to your affiliate statement page, where you explain in more detail the methodology of your affiliate participation program. For example, your position to users could be explained as follows:
Since studies show that you can instead of reading online browsers, you may want to take another step. In order to ensure affiliate links are clearly recognized and to comply with the FTC Guideline, consider adding “= AffLink” to your content right after an affiliate link (“as close as possible to the native ads to which they relate”). After an embedded affiliate link, visitors cannot miss the disclaimer unless they read it.
I also include a link to my affiliate statement in my primary website navigation.
What about social media?
The rules on affiliate declarations do not apply to posts on social media. If you promote a product or service and link to a third-party website for possible compensation, you must be prepared for your intentions. The best way to include disclosure is to use “Ad:” or “Sponsored:” in front of your text on any network. You can use the #ad or #sponsored hashtags after that.
Affiliate program requirements
Before signing on to affiliate programs, it is a good idea to read the terms of service, so you know what your product or service provider expects from you. Providers specify how, when, and where their products and their specific divulgation requirements can be promoted. If you do not adhere to these terms, your partnership may be terminated.
In affiliate programs, the following rules are often found:
- Affiliate links cannot be used in spam emails.
- Disclosures should be clear and easy to understand, begin with the word “disclosure.”
- Your disclosure link must be clear unless the user has to navigate to your disclosure page (which is for additional information)
- Link and divulgation The font size and color of your text must be the same as the remainder
Key takeaways for using affiliate disclosures
A membership program can be a simple means of enjoying your online presence, but make sure you follow the rules of the program and keep your users informed. If a free product or service, discount, or potential commission is to be written, tweeted, or printed, be clear in your relationships. Instead, be transparent. Before adding any links to your website or social media accounts, review the following basics:
- Proximity, placement, and prominence matter.
- Be clear when you include affiliate links in the contents of your Website.
- Include a formal Affiliate Divulgation page listing your collaborations’ specifics.
- To make sure you post ads or sponsored tweets/points, use social network hashtags.
- Before publishing links, read the terms and conditions of the affiliate program.
Your visitors will appreciate your honesty, and if you follow these directives and have a detailed affiliation statement on your Website, you will gain credibility.