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In a market-first, Kolsquare’s new Compliance Score feature enables marketers to evaluate in a single glance whether KOL profiles correctly label sponsored posts and comply with regulatory requirements for sensitive or restricted content.
The launch of the Compliance Score follows the introduction of new laws in France that mean brands and communications professionals are now liable for illegal content posted by influencers that originated from a collaboration.
More than ever, brands need visibility over whether KOL profiles are aware of, and compliant with, transparency obligations to clearly label posts that are part of brand collaborations.
Available immediately for the French market and covering all KOLs with 5K followers or more on Instagram, development is underway to extend the feature to key European markets like Germany and the UK.
Following a series of scandals involving top TV-reality influencers and their agents, the French government legislated sweeping new laws in June 2023 that created a legal framework for Influencer Marketing.
Amongst its key provisions, the law defines a statute for a “commercial influencer” as any person who uses their reputation amongst a digital audience to promote goods and services on social networks.
The law also set down clear labeling rules for any content generated from gifted or seeded products, and remunerated posts which must now be clearly and explicitly labeled “collaboration commerciale” or “publicité” (“commercial collaboration” or “publicity”. Failure to do so can attract fines of up to €300,000 and two years’ prison.
Commercial influencers were also banned promoting cosmetic surgery, nicotine products, gambling, and other regulated industries and increased protections for minors working as influencers.
Crucially for brands and communications specialists, the laws now make them jointly responsible for illegal content published by influencers as part of a brand collaboration.
The effect of the laws — not to mention increasing consumer skepticism of influencer content — means that making informed decisions on which influencers to partner with is more important than ever.
From analysis of their previous brand collaborations and lifestyle values, to the quality of their posts and the size and makeup of their audiences, selecting the right KOLs to partner with has always been a major pain point for Influencer Marketers.
“The Influencer Marketing Industry is growing at an incredible pace and the establishment of a dedicated legal framework was absolutely necessary,” comments Kolsquare Founder and CEO Quentin Bordage.
“While most marketers welcome France’s efforts to regulate the sector, it can be challenging to evaluate an influencer’s compliance with laws and ethical standards on a case-by-case basis, particularly as we’re in a fast-moving environment like social media. This is why we have created the Compliance Score, as it enables our platform’s users to check all of a KOL’s conduct and content at one glance.”
Kolsquare’s Compliance Score removes the complexity of this new analytical requirement by allowing marketers to quickly and easily evaluate the extent to which they are compliant with labeling and ethical content requirements.
For the French market, the launch of the Compliance Score follows Kolsquare’s development of a filter that allows brands to search and find influencers who have completed the ARPP Certificate of Responsible Influence.
Kolsquare’s Compliance Score evaluates KOL Instagram Posts and Reels (Stories are excluded) over the previous three months to determine their compliance with French law. A proprietary algorithm does this by extracting brand mentions and evaluating whether the post is a collaboration based on the accompanying text and comments.
Profiles are scored on a five-scale rating from Very Good, to Good, Average, Bad, and Very Bad. A profile with a Very Good rating is deemed to be in strict compliance with French law, and routinely labels posts with terms specific to French law next to the brand mention, with the brand named as a sponsor, co-author or included in the post text.
Profiles which routinely use other labels not approved by French law — such as “sponsorisé” or “enpartenariatavec” (#sponsored or #inpartnershipwith) plus the brand mention — are not in ‘strict’ compliance and will be ranked Bad.
Those that mention a paid sponsorship without including the brand mention are non-compliant with French law, and as such rank at the lower end of the scale, while those which make no attempt at all to inform followers of the commercial nature of the post will be ranked Very Bad.
Although France is one of just two European countries to have introduced dedicated laws for Influencer Marketing, many others have made significant inroads into increasing oversight of the industry.
For the most part, transparency and responsibility in influencer marketing is regulated under existing advertising laws, and overseen by national advertising self-regulatory authorities. Many of these have developed new guidelines and technical tools that enable them to filter and identify influencer marketing posts that are incorrectly labeled.
The past year has seen a flurry of best practice guidelines for influencer marketing released by European SROs, including from the UK, and European umbrella organization the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) which updated its Best Practice Recommendations for Influencer Marketing for the first time in five years.
These updated best practice guidelines give Kolsquare a solid base on which to develop influencer compliance scores for other markets. In addition to setting out labeling and mentions standards, they provide clear guidance on relevant language and cultural differences that should be taken into account.
Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.
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