What advertising rules apply to affiliate links?

Blog / Affiliate / What advertising rules apply to affiliate links?
Written by Heimar Svensson
Published 8 Jan 2023Updated 6 Dec 2023
The rule of thumb for those who start working as an affiliate is that your followers should be able to tell the difference between what is advertising and what are your personal thoughts and opinions. This is of course easier said than done. It is important that you understand how to design your posts in order for the advertising to be legal.

The importance of tagging your posts as an advertisement

According to the governing bodies, you must clearly tag your posts as advertisements when promoting a product or service. It does not matter if the advertisement only consists of an affiliate link embedded in the text, the requirement remains. If you refer your followers to a site to buy something, that is a form of marketing and needs to be labeled accordingly.

The difference between opinions and advertising

When you as an affiliate share your thoughts and opinions on social media, you are protected by the Freedom of Speech Act. Saying that you personally think massage is a necessity to feel good is not the same as advertising.

But if you then say that a certain massage product or service is the best choice for those who want to be healthy, we slide over to the area of advertising. Here it is the Marketing Act that regulates what may and may not be said.

According to the Marketing Act, you must clearly and clearly mark that your post promotes a product, service or perhaps company. It does not matter that the advertisement only consists of an affiliate link embedded in the text. If you refer your followers to buy something, that's a form of marketing.

Some rules simply must be followed


The rules for advertising are always the same. This is regardless of whether you are suggesting something in social media, in a film, on TV or perhaps in a regular newspaper.

The difference between your opinions and advertising depends on the intention you have with your post. This is important to understand. If your post clearly has a commercial purpose, it is advertising. If you have also received payment or a free product and then talk about it in a YouTube video or in a post on Instagram, it is clearly advertising.

If, on the other hand, you talk about a service or a product that you yourself have no connection to other than that you know about it, it is not advertising. Here you do not need to mark your post as advertising or advertisement.

How do you mark your post as advertising?

This is where it gets a bit fuzzy because the Swedish marketing law does not have a direct answer to the question. It just goes to show that those who read your posts or watch your videos must understand what is your personal opinion and what is advertising.

Some possible markers of content that are advertising are:

  • Marking in a different color that makes the post different from others on the channel.
  • An introduction where an advertisement or advertisement is written. You may write that this post contains advertisements or promotions for selected products.

Advertising marking must be clear. It should be immediately detectable and cannot be hidden at the bottom of the text or in any other way that misleads your followers.

Important to note: If you write something like: This post is a collaboration with Gothenburg Popcorn and Cirkus, it is not the same as advertising. This phrase is not enough.

When you get free gifts

As an influencer, it may very well be that you get free gifts sent to you. Companies know you have a lot of followers and they hope you will spontaneously talk about what they sent you.

This is not the same as doing advertising which is a direct commission from a company where you get the product or compensation to show it on your channel. If you yourself want to mention a product that you received as a gift because you have an opinion about it, you do not have to mark this as advertising.

However, despite this, it is advised to mention that the post contains advertising. This is because it can be difficult to prove that you only shared your opinion.

When you talk about your own products

It may seem that you should be allowed to talk freely about your own products and it is clear that you can do that. But the same rules apply to ads for your products as well. So you must say that this is a form of advertisement because your purpose is to inform so that you can sell more.


Your own products

Who is responsible for following the rules for advertisements?

You should always familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to advertisements in your posts. If you target families, it may happen that children see your videos and posts. Then there may be a need for special consideration.

When it comes down to it, there are two people responsible for ads in posts on social media:

  • The person who makes the post and runs the channel. You!
  • The person who has given you the product or gives you compensation for selling it via affiliate link. The company you work with!

Some extra sensitive topics to pay attention to

There are some topics that are a little extra sensitive. Health is one such subject. Here it is particularly important that you think about how you formulate yourself. Several influencers have had to pay fines when they claimed unfounded things about health products such as that they can cure diseases and the like.

Regardless of what you advertise on social media, it is important that you are well aware of what you are allowed to say and what may be illegal according to the Marketing Act to claim. If you have studies that you can point to to say that a certain substance has been shown to have a certain effect for a certain skin condition, you can do that.

However, saying that a certain product that has the substance cures the skin condition is not the same thing and may be illegal. As the rules in Sweden for marketing on blogs and in social media are quite strict, companies that offer affiliate collaborations are also careful about how it looks on your channels.

Therefore, it is wise to think through how you will work with this piece from the start so that you can have a structure that future partners appreciate. It can be a big plus when you contact companies for affiliate collaborations via the best affiliate network out there - Addrevenue.

Heimar Svensson
CEO & Co-founder
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