• April 13, 2017

TapInfluence Launches The FTC Auditor

TapInfluence, a provider of influencer marketing technology and a marketplace of content creators, has launched The FTC Auditor, an automated Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compliance tool for influencer marketing and social media.

The launch of The FTC Auditor is in direct response to a general lack of awareness of FTC guidelines by both marketers and influencers. Working with research company Altimeter, TapInfluence surveyed more than 100 companies and 1,800 influencers and found that while 52 percent of marketers always ask that ads follow FTC guidelines, 34.1 percent ask for adherence on occasion, and 12.8 percent completely ignore FTC compliance.

Amanda Schreyer, a media and marketing attorney in Boston, explains that "an FTC order against a company often consists of more than just a slap on the wrist. Defendants can be required to maintain records of compliance that the FTC can audit, to report compliance to the FTC, to provide a copy of the order to all employees and vendors involved in the company's advertising and promotion, and to pay fines to the FTC in amounts reaching tens of millions of dollars. And these orders can remain in effect for up to 20 years."

The FTC Auditor checks influencer-generated content for FTC compliance by using advances in data science, trained against eight years of historical social network data. Artificial intelligence (AI) models were created using natural language processing to interpret the content of the posts and to score them for compliance with FTC guidelines.

Beyond FTC compliance, the auditor serves as an unofficial reputation tool, helping companies maintain their integrity and an influencer's authenticity with their audiences.

"Influencer marketing works because of the authenticity of influencers. Disclosures are necessary to help consumers understand when something is sponsored by a brand. Because each influencer writes in his or her own authentic style, we used Big Data and data mining to analyze the language, style, and content of every post across a training set of millions on our platform to create a model which works for all brands. The FTC Auditor helps brands ensure they reduce their risk exposure while still benefiting from the proven gains of influencer marketing," said Jason Merkoski, head of data at TapInfluence, in a statement.

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