YouTube is giving brands a new way to ensure they are being transparent to viewers about paid content that appears on the video-sharing site.
“We are launching a new, optional video feature that adds visible text on the video for the first few seconds a viewer watches, informing viewers of a paid promotion,” YouTube announced. “Creators can also choose to add this text disclosure to any existing video without losing their view count or other video metrics.”
You can add this text alert to your sponsored videos by selecting the optional “video contains paid promotion” box. And then viewers will see this:
The key word here is “optional.” It will ultimately still be up to brands, businesses, and YouTube influencers to be honest and transparent about their collaborations. YouTube advises you to follow your country’s disclosure rules and regulations.
Transparency is important, especially for brands that want to engage in authentic influencer marketing. People want to know whether influencers are recommending a product because they actually like it, or because they’re being paid to endorse it.
Unfortunately, YouTube’s new feature won’t prevent unethical brands from continuing to do their best to prevent disclosures from appearing, on YouTube and other social networks. But in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is definitely watching closely.
Just a few months ago, the FTC called out Warner Brothers for failing to ensure that top YouTube influencers disclosed when video game reviews were paid for. Those reviews for “Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor” appeared on PewDiePie’s YouTube channel, among others, and racked up 5.5 million views.
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