May 30, 2024
The ASA vs Grace Beverley: The creator industry needs to keep up to stay compliant
Tim Mitchell
Co-founder, DRPCRD

The Advertising Standards Authority has shown they understand social media more than people give them credit for. The ruling on Grace Beverley highlights how social media has completely evolved, and the industry has to keep up.

Grace Beverly, founder of TALA promoting her product in her feed

ICYMI: Influencer Grace Beverley received an ASA reprimand for not disclosing reels and TikTok about her own clothing brand as #ad. Cue some articles of agreement, and some articles of outrage.

Grace’s defence was fair enough - she declares she’s the founder of TALA in her profile bio, she put the videos in playlists that says they’re marketing videos, even spoke in the spoke in the first person when discussing the products. She also argued her followers know exactly who she is and what company she owns. She didn’t think she was being deceptive.

The big flaw in the argument? Social media doesn’t work like that anymore, especially not on TikTok, and increasingly not on Instagram either. In the last 3 years, content-led algorithms have taken over how people consume content:

🟢 Followers aren’t the main audience anymore. Most people who saw Grace’s videos won’t be her followers, by a long shot. Maybe 20%-40% were followers. The rest were served up the video in their feeds, decided by advanced machine learning - and it’s likely most viewers didn’t know who she was.

🟢 Bios, playlists, grids, profiles don’t get viewed anymore. For the same reason above, it’s not where people spend their time (they’re all in scroll holes).

🟢 Average watch times - are very low on average. Grace argued she clearly declared her interest in the products in the videos - the only issue is, that happened a few minutes in, when most people would have already scrolled past.

Social content consumption has changed so much in the last 3 years that everything we thought we knew before has moved on, and it’s happened without most people even noticing.

If you watch Grace’s social videos, you can see where the line is with the ASA - much of her content talks about her products, but the nuance in on-screen titles and the script itself makes them instantly clear she owns the brand she’s talking about- instant being the key phrase. In the deleted videos, it seems this wasn’t the case. It's a thin line that influencer-founders will need to tread from now on.

Although the ruling felt a little harsh, the story has become bigger than the indiscretion - and that’s a good thing for the industry, because we’re all now talking about it.