To help influencers achieve compliance with the necessary disclosures about their relationships with advertisers, YouTube has unveiled a new tool to provide notice to viewers about sponsored content.
The new feature adds visible text on a video for the first few seconds watched by a viewer with a label stating "Includes paid promotion." Creators also have the ability to add the text to any existing videos without impacting their video metrics (such as view count).
"YouTube creators are among the most influential voices in media today," according to a post on the site's Creator Blog. "Since brands increasingly recognize the value of the connection creators have with their fans around the world, they are investing in collaborations to reach viewers in interesting and authentic ways. At the same time, viewers appreciate transparency when brands and creators collaborate on paid promotions such as product placements, sponsorships or endorsements."
The company also asked creators to check the "video contains paid promotion" box in their Video Managers, so that the site knows when a video contains removable sponsored content from the YouTube Kids app to comply with company policy.
YouTube cautioned creators that while the new feature is a helpful addition, different countries have their own sets of rules about how and when disclosures are required. Accordingly, "creators and brands should check and follow applicable laws as they may vary greatly," and provide links to regulators including the Federal Trade Commission and the Committee of Advertising Practice in the United Kingdom.
To read YouTube's blog post announcing the new tool, click here.
Why it matters: The feature will be a helpful addition for influencers and other creators seeking to comply with disclosure requirements for sponsored content. Regulators have been increasingly cracking down on the failure to comply with disclosure requirements, as evidenced in recent actions by the Children's Advertising Review Unit and the Federal Trade Commission. The creative community should remember that simply using the notice provided by YouTube alone might not be sufficient to satisfy legal requirements, however.