Affiliate disclosures are an important part of your affiliate marketing plan. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) placed guidelines for affiliate disclosures to reduce consumer deception. While affiliate links seem obvious to an affiliate marketer’s eyes, the typical consumer is unaware.
With that in mind, the FTC set up guidelines for consumers to identify if the blogger or site owner receives compensation for promoting a product. Just as Advertorials in print magazines must identify itself as an Advertisement or Sponsored Content, affiliates must provide the same transparency to their audience.
What are affiliate disclosures?
Affiliate disclosures identify existing partnership and business relationships to consumers. In other words, it is where you let your audience know that you received the product or service you are writing about for free from the manufacturer and/or receive commissions from a merchant site like Fanatics if they buy through your link.
Rules of Affiliate Disclosures
Presented in an obvious manner. Do not hide your disclosure in a footer or bury it under the Terms and Conditions link.
Content is clear. Don’t hide behind jargon. Keep your disclosure concise and clean.
What do I need to disclose?
If you received the product for free by the company/manufacturer
If you have affiliate links in your post.
Any time there is consideration like free product, sponsorship, potential commissions earned or any other type of commercial relationship like a shareholder relationship involved in links you’re posting, you need to disclose that relationship.
When do I need to include an affiliate disclosure?
Every time you talk about the free product or include affiliate links. This includes social media!
Three Tips To Creating An Affiliate Disclosure
- Use your voice. It does not need to be formal or sound legal
- Reassure the reader that you are still being true to your values
- Keep it short, your audience wants to get to the good stuff
Examples of Affiliate Disclosures
Generic Affiliate Disclosures
I received product X from company X to review on my site, however, my opinions in the post are my own
Please note, I include affiliate links within this post to support the maintenance and development of this site.
I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed (team name) fan gear out there. If you purchase through my links, I will earn a commission that will support the work I do on this site.
Social Media Examples
YouTube – introduce the product as “I just got this great product from company X” If you are referring to the affiliate link state “If you could click on the affiliate link below it will help me keep up with the costs of creating videos for you guys”
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – If you are linking to the blog where you handle your disclosures, you are ok. However if you are including an affiliate link or providing an opinion, you can include the hashtag #sponsored #ad or including the words affiliate link prior to the link.
If you are interested in learning about disclosures within social media, BloggyLaw gives some great examples.
Transparency is a good thing. If you’re up front with your audience about how your affiliate relationships make it possible to provide them with the great content that they enjoy, they will understand the commercial relationship and more than likely, be willing to shop to help out.
Still confused about Affiliate Disclosures?
The FTC did a great job creating a user friendly and easy to read site. Check it out here.