Digital Influencers Mandated To Declare All Promotional Content; Is It Even Possible?

Final guidelines for influencer advertising on digital media have been unveiled by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

Guidelines For Digital Media

Feedback from all stakeholders – advertisers, agencies, influencers and consumers – was sought after the draft guidelines initially were issued in February.

In in order to ensure a collaborative process and expert inputs and get India’s leading digital influencers’ views on board, ASCI has tied up with leading digital influencers’ views on board.

This guidelines shall be mandatory for influencers to label the promotional content they post and shall be applicable to commercial messages or advertisements published on or after June 14, 2021.

It is critical to draw a line between content and promotional advertisements as digital media consumption has become the norm. Therefore, in order to bring transparency to influencer marketing, as influencer marketing has become mainstream in the transformed marketing landscape.

Consumers should know what content has been paid for by brands. These guidelines safeguard the interests of consumers, influencers, marketeers, and the advertising industry as more and more consumers today not only buy the products/services endorsed but also the brand stories.

More About These Guidelines

When the draft guidelines were distributed, they initiated lively discussions within the influential community and among other stakeholders. We received feedback from more than 25 different stakeholders in two months, some of which included industry organizations such as IAMAI, BHA, advertisers such as PepsiCo, P&G, Nestle, HUL, Tata, Star, and received feedback from voluntary consumer organizations. Dolly Singh, Vishnu Kaushal, Ayesha Billimoria, Aanam C, Scherezade Shroff Talwar aka Sherry Shroff, Raghav Meattle, Varun Duggirala and others. ASCI has identified all feedback, concerns and suggestions to reach the final guide.

Subash Kamath, Chairman, ASCI, said: “We have received good consultation and feedback from influencers and others on the draft guidelines, as well as suggestions for monetization and clarification of certain points. After extensive discussions, we now present final guidelines that measure the interests of consumers, promoters, agents, advertisers and all other stakeholders. I urge everyone to follow the ASCI Code and guidelines and be part of this change that promises transparency and accountability. ”

One of the key questions raised is how the ASCI will monitor violations of these guidelines. In this regard, ASCI has appointed a French technology provider, Reech.

Manisa Kapoor, General Secretary, ASCI said: “The Reech Influence Cloud platform uses Artificial Intelligence to identify non-disclosure of commercial communications on social media. The machine learning algorithm and Regex pattern search (Standard Display) increases accuracy. As part of ASCI’s growing focus on digital content, we will continue to use state-of-the-art technology solutions to keep track of ads that violate ASCI code.

Along with the guidelines, ASCI aims to establish an inclusive learning approach to create effective marketing narratives. To this end, ASCI introduced the ASCI.Social platform, a single platform for all information related to the guidelines itself. The digital platform will work with the do’s and don’ts, FAQs, information related to guidelines etc. Over time, the ASCI.C Social hopes to create a community of communications motivators, consumers, advertisers and skills management organizations.

Dhruv Chitgopekar, Founding Partner, Collective Artists Network and CEO of BigBang.Social said: “Guidelines have been an hour requirement in view of the rapid growth of branded communications for consumers through social media. -ASCI, lending our learning to work more closely with social media influencers and understanding products in an effort.I am pleased with the complete and practical final guidelines.

Since the digital marketing space is growing rapidly and so are its participants, one of India’s leading digital influencers, Dolly Singh said that it is perhaps a right time to have a codified system of disclosure and also supports the move as it shall result into viewers having more trust in influencers.