Influencer Marketing in UAE: Do you need a license now?

Influencer marketing is a new trend that is based on promoting brands and businesses via followers on social platforms. In fact, brands are now found teaming up with several social media influencers to get people engaged and convert them into customers. But what are influencers?

The influencers are users with thousands of followers on social media. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, are all possible ways for influencers to share their photos, videos and, above all, opinions with their followers who they, then, “influence”. That’s the reason why they are sought by companies to reach their targeted audience.

Is influencer marketing worth it? In many cases yes. Pros include being able to reach a wider, captive audience; it can increase traffic, expand business leads and normally has a good ROI. Cons include challenges and risks when promoting or endorsing products through social media (pay attention to the influencer current and future reputation). It is also important to choose the right partner to make sure to target the right public.

Nonetheless, influencers are an important piece of the brand promotion as it allows the possibility to reach directly customers that might be untouched by traditional promotion channels and the direct approach to a customer base.

So far, being an influencers only entailed been active on the web and attracting a good follower base. But from this moment on, the social media influencers who earn from the promotion of brands and companies and who carry out their business in the UAE will have to open a company according to new regulations.

The National Media Council (NMC) Content Guidelines and the NMC Advertising Standards are now regulating this sector. NMC director general Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri says: “The new regulations are part of the Council’s plan to promote and develop an advanced legislative and regulatory environment for the UAE media sector, keeping it up-to-speed with regards to all technological developments that have transformed media in recent times.”

Professionals will need to get a license that is similar to the one that more traditional media, such as magazines and newspaper, need to have. Those that won’t comply by June 30 might be subject to a fine of up to Dh 5000 (currently, about 1,000 euros), verbal or official warnings and / or closure of the website or account. Of course, entities like news agencies and entertainment websites that already own a publishing license will not be affected.

The NMC makes clear that this new measure is in no way an attempt at limiting the activities of influencers online, but is just a much-needed measure to guarantee high quality standards. At the moment, in fact, anyone can present him or herself as an influencer regardless of the actual number of followers. A license would discourage nonprofessionals from entering a market that is quickly becoming more and more lucrative.

VIPs and personalities especially, thanks to the large number of followers, are loving this new trend with a single post being paid even $ 5,000. In the UAE, the promotion of make-up and fashion brands, luxury chains, entertainment activities and food are especially lucrative for social media celebrities.

NMC Director General Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri also mentioned how “today, digital media have become a very influential and widespread tool, and it is imperative that we increase its reliability. This sector is one of the fastest growing in the Middle East (in particular, videos, games and e-books) and will attract new global investments, which, in turn, will improve its development and competitiveness “.

The new regulations will also affect global companies. Before, e-commerce companies in Dubai needed to be licensed, but today, even those who sell not a product but their image or that sell online multimedia content from abroad can now acquire a license and open branches in the UAE.

Nico de Corato owner of Dubai Blog and focused on social media believes the new rules are actually a great news for the influencer marketing industry in the United Arab Emirates. He does not think that investing a few thousand euros to have their own license will influence the business; on the contrary, it will be an effective credential. The regulation of an industry brings stability and a high standard in terms of content. Nico thinks it’s a far-sighted idea that should be presented at a meeting that could bring together the Council and a representative group of influencers to understand what is needed. In the end, everyone has the same scope: promoting the United Arab Emirates.

influencers,marketing in UAE, license, blogs, new regulations

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