According to an Adecco survey to 2,000 young Spaniards aged 4 to 16, the influencer profession is the fifth most desired in the country. Moreover, according to a recent study by 2Btube, Spain has more than 9,000 professional content creators, considering profiles with more than 100,000 followers.
Influencers are here to stay and not just a passing trend. There have always been influencers and celebrities who lent their image to brands, but the world of possibilities opened by social networks has consolidated one of the most relevant marketing phenomena in recent years.
According to the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), the sector expects to invest 4.25 billion euros in 2023, 5.33 billion euros in 2025 and 6.23 billion euros by 2027.
But… What is an influencer?
This is a first question of “Influencer Marketing” and it may seem obvious to many people, but let’s see what the Real Academia Española, the main institution for Spanish language, says about it. According to the RAE, “influencer is an anglicism used in reference to a person with the capacity to influence others, mainly through social networks”. Within the marketing and communication sector, there have always been KOLs or Key Opinion Leaders, who are what we have always known as opinion leaders and represent the “authorised and reputable” voices on specific topics.
As the RAE says, in this case, after the appearance and consolidation of social networks in our society, the figure of many content creators has emerged. They position themselves as “influencers” using their high number of followers subscribed to their accounts or the high level of interaction (engagement rate) as supporting argument.
One way or another, we must not lose focus on the power of influence that a certain figure can exert on the opinion or purchase decision of a specific group of followers, whether through social media or another channel. An influencer may not have social profiles or their numbers may go unnoticed by brands, but they have enormous power of influence over the target audience of a specific campaign or communication action.
The new influencer law: What now?
The “influencers’ law”, as the new General Law on Audiovisual Communication (LGCA) is known, was approved on 22 July of 2022, and replaces the previous legislation from 2010. The main objective of this new law is the regulation of content on the Internet and the balance of competition in terms of advertising, but obviously, the main reason for discussion is the taxation and payment of taxes that influencers have to assume.
The main new specifications include:
- The audiovisual service provider: scope of application
This regulation explains that any service provider established in Spain must be subject to this law, but … this applies in the following cases:
- If you ‘started your activity for the first time in Spain and maintain a stable and effective link with the Spanish economy’, even if you do not work in Spain or in any EU Member State.
- If ‘using an uplink to a satellite located in Spain’.
- If ‘satellite capacity belonging to Spain is used’.
The answer to those of you who are thinking about the case of the exodus of youtubers or streamers to Andorra is yes: the government has done everything possible to affect these creators who have emigrated in search of more advantageous tax regimes. Although the regulatory details are still unclear, it is likely that any streamer or youtuber who records or edits content for consumption by a Spanish audience will have to adapt to the legislation.
- “Particularly relevant” users
Those users who meet the following requirements must also comply with a series of additional obligations:
- Performing a service as an economic activity leading to significant income.
- To be responsible for the editorial responsibility for the content, i.e. to select and organise on a regular basis the content that is uploaded or disseminated on the channel or platform.
- The service provided is targeted at and likely to have a significant impact on a significant part of the general public.
- The content broadcast is intended to inform, entertain or educate.
- The service is offered through the Internet and is established in Spain.
- Obligations and penalties for “particularly relevant” users:
- Register in the state register as a provider of audiovisual communication services (Yes, just like TV channels or on-demand content platforms).
- Warn users of the possible risk to physical, mental and moral development of the audiovisual content and programmes on its channel.
- Observe some of the general principles of Law 13/2022, such as gender equality, respect for human dignity, disabled persons, self-regulation, etc.
- Protect minors by providing parental control mechanisms, classifying and separating content, etc.
- Differentiate between advertising and editorial content.
Those who do not comply with the obligations will face penalties, which can range from 10,000 euros to 150,000 euros, depending on the severity.
A statewide register for Influencers and Streamers
The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) published a few weeks ago a report on the State Register of Audiovisual Communication Service Providers (Registro Estatal de Prestadores del Servicio de Comunicación Audiovisual). It adds streamers with special relevance to this regulatory framework and develops a classification to differentiate streamers according to the platform in which they broadcast their content (radio, satellite, IPTV), and whether their content is open or paid, as well as differentiating between national or local.
The aim of this State Register is simply to ensure that content creators are better defined and that there is greater control over their commercial activities. It is also intended to differentiate between content for adults and for minors, as well as to ensure that it does not incite hatred. In other words, streamers should be subject to the same requirements as television programmes.
4 tips when proposing an influencer plan to your client
- You are the expert
When implementing a communication or public relations plan, we can often include collaborations with influencers or brand ambassadors, if these are planned in a more strategic way and with the medium/long term in mind. On other occasions, it is the client itself that proactively proposes an activation, even with an already selected profile, for whatever reason.
We have to understand collaborations with influencers as a tool within the brand’s communication strategy and not as an isolated project, also taking into account all that this entails. In this case we have to assert our role as experts / consultants and support or even advise against what the client may have in mind, as we are the ones who know the market and we must know how to identify where the real value of a brand-influencer collaboration lies, for both parties.
- Work in a professional, legal and real framework
Behind an influencer activation there is a lot of work and a lot of people involved. Therefore, it is important to work with the right people, who take care of the main processes established from the beginning:
- Profilling: selecting the most suitable profiles in relation to a client’s needs. There are many tools on the market that can simplify this task, whether they are influencer databases or tools with more complex search and selection algorithms.
- Legal: Collaborations must be developed within a contractual framework, where the commitments to be assumed by each party are clearly included. The vast majority of influencers have a representation agency or a representative in charge of any type of legal arrangements.
- Management: When it comes to managing the collaboration, it is important to have all the details tied up and to have a specialised profile that acts as a link between the influencer/representation agency and our client/brand. Special attention must be paid to matching the client’s expectations with the objectives of the campaign and the deliverables agreed with the influencer.
- Reporting: If it can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist. Establishing ambitious but realistic KPIs is key to being able to measure the success of an influencer marketing campaign. Monitoring the performance of the campaign and producing a good report of results at the end of the campaign is essential.
- Value your work and make the client value it too.
Each of the steps mentioned in the previous point is associated with a high number of working hours, which often end up being more than expected. Therefore, as a communication and/or marketing agency, we have to value our work and make the client aware of what they are being charged for and why.
- Look after the influencer as if they were your own client.
Influencers can be our greatest allies when it comes to taking a communication campaign from outstanding to excellent. We must not get carried away by our client’s needs. It is key to take into account the value that this action can also bring to the influencer, beyond the monetary value. If an influencer is comfortable doing a collaboration, even feeling identified with the values of the brand, this will be a win-win for both parties and we will see it reflected in the results.
Director – Barcelona Office