Given the bombardment of advertising, promotional and independent content on digital platforms, it’s clear that influencer marketing is thriving. It has the power to reach the target audience, build trust, and impact their purchasing decision. To protect consumers’ interests, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued guidelines for all sponsored content uploaded by online influencers. The initiative aimed at helping consumers distinguish between personal and professional endorsements will ensure they are not misled or exploited. Let’s have a look at the guidelines in detail.
Covers Wide Range of Platforms
The new guidelines concerning online influencer advertising will come into effect from June 14, 2021. They are applicable on all digital platforms. This includes email marketing campaigns, blog posts, apps, websites, video streaming platforms, mobile broadcasts, digital terrestrial television, paid-for links, teasers, and social media.
Influencer Marketing Rules Laid by ASCI
As per the newly launched regulations, influencers must add disclosure labels on all sponsored content shared online. This will help consumers differentiate between a no-benefit and paid promotion and make an informed decision about products, brands, or services. Moreover, the transparency and authenticity of sponsored content will help bolster the trust between consumers, influencers, and brands.
Criteria for Disclosures
The social guidelines necessitate straightforward and prominent disclosures in influencer content that viewers can easily spot. A disclosure included in the ABOUT ME section or influencer’s profile is likely to be overlooked. Also, it cannot be hidden in a series of hashtags and links or placed anywhere in the text description that requires the user to click further.
- Language of the Disclosure: Disclosures should be in English or the language of the advertisement. They have to be placed clearly and conspicuously to be easily viewed and understood.
- Experience Before You Promote: Influencers cannot endorse or discuss an experience with a product they have not tried or found satisfactory. They must refrain from making unsubstantiated claims that require corroboration the advertiser does not have.
- Any Form of Material Compensation: A disclosure is required only if the influencer has any material connection with the brand. This could be terms of monetary compensation, discounts, incentives, freebies, or any other perks discussed between the two parties.
- Disclosure for Product/Service Reviews: Disclosures are compulsory even for unbiased reviews if a material aspect involved.
Disclosure on Different Formats:
- To catch the viewer’s eye, influencers must include a superimposed disclosure over the picture/video content on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories that doesn’t include text.
- For videos with a 15 second or less duration, the partnership label must flash for at least three seconds.
- Disclosures for videos that extend for 2 minutes or more have to be displayed for the entire length of the endorsement.
- In live streams, the disclosures must be declared at the beginning and end of the relay.
- Disclosures for audio media should be proclaimed at the start and end of the clip. And yes, even before and after every pause that is taken in between.
The Last Word
There’s no denying that the influencer industry has evolved over the years and become an important component of the advertising domain. Compliance with the new guidelines will ensure the influencer community keeps the marketing strategy ethical, which is vital to retain customer’s trust and maintain their own credibility.