More than often we are confused about the content we consume. Was it an advertisement? Does that influencer genuinely buy this or was it sent in PR? As consumers, we ought to know what we are consuming.
Influencer marketing is currently estimated at $75 million - 150 million, as per digital marketing agency adlift. Influencer marketing is now mainstream and thus it is important to have a few guidelines for a smooth and fair running of content and advertisement in today’s social media world.
ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) drafted a few laws for influencers to follow when working with the brands. “The biggest part of the new rules is to tell consumers that you are watching an ad and not content. That disclosure has to be in a prominent position:, said Manisha Kppor, Secretary-General, ASCI.
Later Kunal Kishore Sinha (co-founder of influencer marketing platform, Clan Connect) added, “These guidelines will not only streamline the space and offer a direction but also ensure that there is an added sense of social responsibility among the influencer community”
Coming to the guidelines, they include the following points:
1. The primary guideline is, disclosing that the content that has been uploaded by the influencer is an ad. It should be clearly mentioned that it is an ad and visible on all devices be it a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. It should also be visible regardless of any platform that is being used (website or application).
2.The labeling has also been stated clearly, that is, on various media channels like Twitter, Instagram, and youtube.
3. The guidance also states that in the case of the video that is for 15 seconds or more, the disclosure label should be visible at least for 2 seconds. In the case of videos more than 15 seconds, the label should be visible at least for 1/3rd part of the video. And for videos of more than 2 minutes, the disclosure must stay the entire time on screen.
4. In the case of audio media, the advertisement disclosure should be mentioned at the beginning and end.
5. If the post is a picture or a story, the label should be imposed on the pictured and be clearly visible to an average viewer.
6. Filters should not be used when promoting a product. For example, if a skincare product is being promoted, the influencer should not use a filter that may even out the skin tone or hide the acne.
7. The disclosure should be in English or translate into a language that is understood by an average viewer.
8. The influencer must do their part when promoting a technical or a claimed performance for the brand like “2x better, stronger, fast, lasts longer” etc with the statement that the above statement made in the advertisement is capable of scientific substantiation.
This is however a rough draft and it is open for public suggestions till 8th March 2021. After that, the final guidelines will be introduced by 31st March and the same guidelines will be followed on all the posts from 15th April 2021.
Well, these were the guidelines drafted till now, what would you want to include and exclude and what are your opinions on these? How will the brands and influencers benefit or otherwise from these guidelines? Let us know in the comments, and let’s have a productive discussion for the future of Influencer Marketing.