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Klarna launches influencer council to guide online advertising

By Tess Stenzel

Mar 3, 2021

Business

Klarna, a buy-now-pay-later payment provider, has launched an influencer council to develop guidelines for influencers and brands alike advertising online to develop better marketing practices.

According to Klarna, the council aims to deliver clarity for consumers, brands, influencers, and advertising bodies regarding what is and isn’t acceptable for advertising financial products and services online.

The council comes after the existing Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) guidelines are increasingly open to interpretation and becoming more challenging to navigate as various online platforms evolve. Brands and influencers are more likely to fall foul to the regulations unwittingly.

As part of the council, Klarna commissioned research throughout the UK from Censuswide to understand consumer attitudes on money management and how consumers engage with influencers’ financial guidance.

According to the research, only 27 percent of people in the UK said they understand the purpose of #ad, #affiliate, and #gifted references on influencers’ posts. Additionally, of those who said they understood the meaning of a caption on an influencer’s post, nearly half (46 percent) didn’t know that #ad meant a company had paid an influencer to promote a product or a service.

The research also revealed that 30 percent of consumers who have seen an influencer or a celebrity giving financial guidance had acted upon it, rising to 53 percent when Gen-Z (aged 16 to 24) were asked.

The council will seek to provide input from those with direct experience as to how guidelines can and should be interpreted and develop a user-friendly toolkit for brands and influencers to use on Instagram and other social media platforms, which will be widely available to all.

Christian Howes, a social media expert, will lead the council. Other panel members include retailer Pretty Little Thing; Youtuber and blogger Amelia Liana; founder of Hashtag Ad Consulting Clare Seal; head of policy at Coadec Kia Commodore; authors Joel Gladwin and Owen O’kane; PR expert Lian Hirst; and director of marketing at Klarna AJ Coyne.

“Following the ASA’s ruling in December on four social media posts we commissioned, we reflected on our practices. This is why we set out on a mission to create an Influencer council to better understand how guidelines are implemented and to develop proposals so all parties can act correctly and responsibly,” stated Coyne in a press release.

“This is an issue that cuts across brands and sectors - we are looking forward to the discussions ahead and sharing the outcomes with all our influencers and retail partners.”

Howes, chair of the council, added: “Transparency and consumer protection are the foremost priorities for all our council members and with such a diverse panel, I’m confident that through this council, we will be able to provide better, clearer, and actionable guidance for everyone to use across all social media platforms.”

Image: Klarna