The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you (the ‘affiliate’) disclose your relationship with the brand when promoting its products through affiliate links. This law is FTC’s effort to ensure that your readers/viewers/listeners (i.e., consumers) know your affiliations and can accordingly decide how much weight they give to your conclusions and recommendations.
In short: If you are a blogger, YouTuber, influencer, or anyone using affiliate marketing for monetization, you must follow FTC affiliate disclosure guidelines to stay compliant.
What Is an FTC Affiliate Disclosure?
The FTC affiliate disclosure is a statement that declares your relationship with companies that compensate you for bringing traffic and/or sales to their business.
It’s necessary to keep this disclosure clear and conspicuous so that the audience knows you are affiliated with the product or service you mention.
FTC Affiliate Disclosure Best Practices
FTC recommends considering these 4Ps to ensure your affiliate disclosure is clear and conspicuous:
Prominence: Your disclosure font size must be big enough for consumers to read easily. Trying to hide the affiliate disclosure in any way – whether by burying it in fine print, using an unreadable font color, etc. – will make you subject to FTC law enforcement. The best way to keep the disclosure “prominent” is to keep the font size the same as the rest of the text and add contrast to the disclosure text.
Presentation: The disclosure should be in an easily understandable language. Don’t try to hide the fact that you’ll get a commission if the audience buys using your affiliate link behind jargon or dense text blocks. State your affiliation in the simplest words possible and in no more than a couple of sentences.
Placement: You must place the disclosure statement where everyone will look. Typically, it’d mean right at the top of each blog post or at the beginning of each video. Trying to hide it by placing the disclosure in the footer or on the policy page means you aren’t compliant with the FTC law.
Proximity: Your disclosure must be close to and visible before your affiliate links. Again, if you place it far away from where you use affiliate links, you are subject to FTC law enforcement.
Examples Of FTC Affiliate Disclosure
Here are some examples of affiliates staying compliant with the FTC law by clearly and conspicuously disclosing their associations with the products they recommend:
FTC affiliate disclosure for YouTubers
Steve from Website Builder Report discloses his affiliate relationship right in the intro of the video:
“My work is supported by affiliate commissions. So if you’d like to try one of the website builders, you can find a link to them in the video description below, and I may earn a commission.”
FTC affiliate disclosure for social media
Social media influencers who monetize their audience with affiliate marketing can simply mention #ad or #sponsored to stay FTC complaint.
Here’s Isabella promoting Macy’s Wine Shop and asking her audience to check it out using the link in her bio:
FTC affiliate disclosure in a newsletter
If you run an email newsletter and use affiliate links for monetization, disclose your affiliate link(s) as Amanda does:
FTC affiliate disclosure in blogs/affiliate websites
The Wirecutter is one of the most popular affiliate blogs on the internet. Here’s how they clearly disclose (without losing audience confidence) that they might earn a commission if you buy through their affiliate links:
Disclosure on each page
The detailed disclosure page
As an affiliate, you are required by law to disclose that you are using affiliate links and will earn a commission if your audience buys through it. And this “disclosure” must be written and placed in a way that anyone can see it, read it, and understand it.