Responsible Influencer Certificate – winner of the Bronze award

30 May 2023

In the latest edition of EASA’s Best Practice Awards, the Bronze Award went to our French SRO member Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) for their Responsible Influencer Certificate. The main goal of this Certificate is to provide influencers with key rules related to advertising on social media. Thanks to the notions acquired to obtain the certificate, influencer can learn how to correctly disclose their commercial relationship with a brand.

About the project

This project first began in 2021, when ARPP conducted a monitoring exercise on approximately 30,000 Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok content materials, including stories, reels, and posts. The objective was to identify and analyse whether the commercial relationship between brands and influencers was being adequately disclosed. The findings revealed that 25% of the online materials did not accurately disclose the presence of paid advertising.

To address this issue, ARPP took decisive action by forming a Monitoring Committee and introducing a certification program specifically designed for influencers. The launch of the certification program took place in September 2021 and was accompanied by a satirical communication campaign crafted by Socialyse Paris (now Havas Play), an advertising agency. ARPP effectively published relevant content on their Instagram account, which significantly aided in targeting influencers. Furthermore, ARPP made the e-learning module easily accessible through a user-friendly online platform, allowing interested individuals to conveniently access and pay for the module. You can find more information about the e-learning module here.

Results and challenges

The primary challenges revolved around onboarding the entire value chain of the influencer marketing field.

  • Influencer Onboarding: ARPP successfully motivated influencers by organizing masterclasses through agencies. Some agencies and specialized platforms have developed “brand safe” offerings for advertisers, allowing them to collaborate exclusively with certified influencers.
  • Platform Onboarding: TikTok, for instance, introduced a dedicated training module for the session. You can access it here.
  • Advertiser Onboarding: Certain brands made the certificate a mandatory requirement for collaboration.
  • Agency Onboarding: Numerous initiatives were implemented, such as financial support for registration fees, organization of masterclasses, and creation of brand-safe offerings.

Initially, only a few influencers obtained the certificate. However, it gained significant momentum and success. Now, approximately 700 influencers (as of this mid-May) have successfully acquired the certificate. ARPP proudly display the names of these influencers on their dedicated website page.
In 2022, the demand for the certificate experienced a significant surge, largely due to major brands (such as Bel, Club Med and L’Oreal) indicating their preference for working exclusively with certified influencers. Additionally, national authorities (ANJ for Gambling, AMF for Financial Products) recommended partnering exclusively with certified influencers. As a result, new versions of the certificate with additional options have been launched.

These efforts have also yielded positive outcomes for ARPP. Notably, there has been extensive media coverage, even internationally, with approximately 100 media outlets reporting on the launch, in conjunction with the Observatory’s results (thanks to an AFP press release). The industry has displayed a strong commitment to the Monitoring Committee, and this has been favourably received by various authorities, including those overseeing gambling, financial products, ministries, MPs, audiovisual content, and consumer protection. European authorities have also expressed their support. Additionally, ARPP has witnessed an influx of digital players becoming member and participating in these initiatives, including Meta, Snapchat, TikTok , specialized agencies, and brands.

In case you missed the news about the Best Practice Awards, you can find here the other winners. We will post a spotlight on their projects, keep an eye on EASA website!