FTC Disclosure Guidelines for Influencers and Content Creators

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If you are an influencer or content creator you are legally required to disclose any relationship you may have with a brand if you’re promoting that brand’s products or services and you’re advertising to U.S. consumers. Making sure that you follow FTC disclosure guidelines as an influencer is incredibly important to running a successful and professional business.

This post covers FTC disclosure guidelines for influencers and content creators so that you can ensure that you’re following fair advertising practices when working with brands. Keep in mind that different countries have their own fair advertising laws, so be sure to research what disclosures are required based on where your audience is located.

What is the FTC?

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is a regulatory agency in the United States that was established by the Federal Trade Commission Act (the “Act”). The mission of the FTC is to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. As part of its authority, the FTC requires that advertising tell the truth and not mislead consumers. This applies to online advertisements, including influencer partnerships and affiliate marketing relationships.

What are FTC disclosures?

In order to comply with the Act, influencers and content creators are required to provide a disclosure anytime that they endorse a product or service of a brand they have a relationship with. This disclosure is intended to make it clear to anyone who views the content that the influencer or creator has a relationship with the band.

The FTC disclosure itself is a short statement, which isn’t difficult for influencers or creators to provide. The most commonly used statements include terms like ad, sponsored, or *Brand*Partner.

Why do you have to provide disclosures?

FTC disclosures are designed to protect U.S. consumers by making them aware of when they are being advertised to. Consumers may feel differently about the credibility of an endorsement when they know that the person making the statement has a financial relationship with the brand. The FTC recognizes that consumers have a right to know when someone has a relationship with the brand they’re endorsing because it may affect how the consumer evaluates the endorsement (in other words, it doesn’t matter if an influencer believes their endorsement is unbiased, a consumer may weigh the credibility of that endorsement differently).

It’s worth noting that some influencers engage in tactics to deliberately hide disclosures from their audience (or fail to make a disclosure when necessary at all). Not only can this get you (and the brand) in trouble with the FTC, but it’s also misleading and erodes trust with your audience. Honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of a successful creator, so be sure that you’re doing the best you can to always disclose brand relationships!

When do you have to make a disclosure?

If you make an endorsement about a brand that you have a relationship with you are required to provide a disclosure. Relationships include financial relationships where a brand pays you directly to promote a product, as well as employment, personal, or family relationships.

A disclosure is required anytime you receive something of value from a brand as an influencer or content creator. This can include traditional financial compensation, but also includes things like gifted products, comped hotel rooms or plane tickets, and free services. 

A well drafted brand deal contract will include a provision that lays out the influencer or creator’s obligations to comply with FTC disclosure guidelines. Even if your contract doesn’t mention it, you are still responsible for ensuring compliance. You are also required to provide a disclosure even if you aren’t contractually obligated to share a product that you received for free, but choose to share it on your own. The test isn’t dependent on the details of your relationship with the brand, but the fact you have a relationship that consumers are entitled to be aware of.

What does the FTC consider an “endorsement”?

An endorsement can include statements made about a brand or product (like you would see in the caption of a typical sponsored post). The FTC also considers things like tags, pins, and similar ways of showing you like a brand as an endorsement.

Keep in mind that you can’t make false statements or endorse a product that you haven’t personally tried. You also can’t make claims that the brand itself wouldn’t be able to say in its advertising (such as unsubstantiated medical claims).

How do you make a proper disclosure?

In order to ensure creators make proper endorsements, the FTC has provided disclosure guidelines for influencers to adhere to. Keep in mind that these are not hard and fast regulations. If the sufficiency of your disclosure is ever called into question the FTC is going to evaluate the disclosure from the perspective of the consumer. This is why it’s important to make a good faith effort to ensure anyone viewing your content understands the nature of your relationship with the brand!

Here are some best practices when it comes to making FTC disclosures:

  • Place the disclosure so it’s hard to miss. This means it shouldn’t be small or buried in a group of hashtags or at the bottom of a post. If you’re including the disclosure in a description it should appear before any “read more” button. If you’re making a disclosure on Instagram stories, don’t hide it in the corner or make it the same color as the background.
  • Use simple and clear language. This includes terms like “ad,” “sponsored,” or “BrandPartner.” It’s not necessary to use a hashtag with your disclosure, but you can. You should avoid using shorthand terms like “spon” or “collab” that may be confusing to consumers.
  • Make sure the disclosure is in the same language as the endorsement.
  • You can use in-app tools like Instagram’s paid partner feature or TikTok’s sponsored feature, but be aware that the FTC has warned that these tools may not be sufficient on their own.

When in doubt, look to the 4 Ps when considering whether your endorsement is sufficient: prominence, presentation, placement, and proximity. The more clear and conspicuous the disclosure, the better!


Providing a disclosure when working with brands ensures that you are complying with FTC guidelines as an influencer or content creator. It also helps to maintain transparency and build trust with your audience. Always be sure to follow disclosure best practices when sharing sponsored content to build your authority and credibility as a creator for longterm success!

Follow The Legal Influence on Instagram and TikTok for more legal tips for influencers and content creators!

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