How to Write Twitter Ads the FTC Will Love


Image: Digital Trends
Image: Digital Trends

Want to run an ad on Twitter without incurring the wrath of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)? It's not as simple as it seems.

In March 2013, the FTC released new guidelines that specifically addressed digital and mobile advertising. Even with the updates, there's still a fair share of ambiguity when it comes to what online advertising will get you fined, and what will leave you unscathed.

Here are three sample tweets to aid you through the murky waters, courtesy of the FTC's dot.Com Disclosures guide.

Tweet Example 1: Illegal

"JuliStarz: Shooting movie beach scene. Had to lose 30 lbs in 6 wks. Thanks Fat-Away Pills for making it easy. Typical loss: 1 lb/wk #Spon"

The FTC ruled that this format was illegal because consumers might not know what "#Spon" meant. Note that it is still illegal despite the fact that she lists the typical weight loss.

Tweet Example 2: Illegal

"JuliStarz: Shooting movie beach scene. Had to lose 30 lbs in 6 wks. Thanks Fat-Away Pills for making it easy. ow.ly/mAx"

Even though this tweet provides a link to the full disclosure at the end, the FTC ruled that this violated disclosure laws because most consumers wouldn't click on the link.

Tweet Example 3: Legal

"JuliStarz: Ad: Shooting movie beach scene. Had to lose 30 lbs in 6 wks. Thanks Fat-Away Pills for making it easy. Typical loss: 1 lb/wk"

This is an FTC-approved tweet. By listing "Ad" upfront, it's clear that "JulieStarz" is being paid to shill for Fat-Away, while the typical loss inclusion ensures that the tweet won't mislead consumers into believing the brand is guaranteeing they'll lose 30 pounds in six weeks.

Want to learn more about the intersection of social and legal? Register for the July 11 PR News Webinar, "Social Media Do's & Don'ts for Regulated Industries."

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.