FTC endorsement guidance on sponsored and/or branded content

FTC endorsement guidance on sponsored and/or branded content

Learn how to properly designate sponsored content on your Stream.


What is a sponsored post and/or branded content?

Sponsored posts and/or branded content is essentially any video stream where you have been paid or otherwise provided value to talk about, feature, or otherwise reference a certain brand.

For example, if a popular headphone company offered to give you a free pair of their headphones in exchange for either wearing them during your streams and/or talking about them during your stream, that would be considered a sponsored post and/or branded content. As per the FTC Social Media Guidelines, you should clearly disclose and communicate the sponsorship by adding text to the beginning of your video, announcing the sponsorship in your video, or including a written disclosure in the description of your video.

How to disclose a sponsored post or Twitch stream

Under the revised FTC Social Media Guidelines, proper disclosure of sponsored posts should include:

  1. Clear and Unambiguous Language. The poster must communicate the sponsorship in clear, unambiguous language. This notice must appear at the beginning of posts (or before the “see more” break) if possible. Simply including hashtags such as #sp, phrases like “thanks to…”, or ambiguous terms such as “Promoted” is not sufficient. The FTC has stated the following terms are likely to be understood: Ad, Advertisement, Paid Advertisement, Sponsored Advertising Content, or some similar variation.
  2. Font and color that is easy to read. The disclosure should be easy to read and should stand-out from the background.
  3. Always include a disclosure. The disclosure must be included even if you are negatively reviewing a product or service.
  4. Visibility. The disclosure should be visible on all devices.

Video disclosures should stay on the screen long enough to be read. Audio disclosures should be read at a cadence that’s easy for consumers to follow and in words the consumers will understand. Disclosures made in writing should be easy to read and in a shade that stands out from the background.

For example, for a sponsored Twitch stream, you should consider taking some or all of the steps below:

  • Placing the phrase “Advertisement” or “Paid Advertisement” in the description of your video. Preferably place this in the beginning of the description so that it is shown even when this text box is collapsed.
  • Show a written message at the beginning of your Twitch stream.
  • Verbally announce that this is a Paid Advertisement at the beginning of your Twitch stream.

Examples of sponsored content situations

Some examples of common sponsored Twitch streams include:

  • Use of a particular brand of headphone in a stream,
  • Use of a particular brand of computer or monitor in a stream,
  • Playing a particular video game at the request of the video game company in exchange for a game code, or
  • Playing a certain song while streaming at the request of the artist or record label.