New Influencer Promotion Rules You Need to know
With the growth of digital marketing, influencer marketing too has improved in popularity; however, the fundamental drivers that make influencer marketing effective lie in the TRUST factor. There are deeper, natural traits that are essential in influencer marketing other than superficial ones like terms, the number of followers, type of content, geographical location, and channels it operates on. Businesses need to follow certain guidelines when they promote something with an intention to influence consumer opinion or behavior for an immediate or eventual commercial gain.
So if you are in pursuit to reach your customers by using Influencer marketing, here are certain guidelines released recently by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) that you need to know:
The ASCI has been vigilant and working on rules of influencer marketing for 2 years, in March 2021, it invited the feedback, and based on it, the final guidelines were issued on 31st March 2021, and are set to come into effect from June 14, 2021.
So let’s go back and understand why the disclosure was necessary?
For a consumer, it is difficult to differentiate between an advertisement or editorial and independent user-generated content posted by their idols, only when they click or interact with it, they understand the difference. As there is a significant difference between user-generated content and advertisement, consumers need to know upfront what they are viewing or hearing or reading or experiencing is an advertisement and based on which they can take the decision.
Let’s decode the disclosure guidelines
The onus of disclosure is upon the Influencer or publishing account and ASCI has allowed only five disclosure label options: #ad, #collab, #promo, #sponsored, and #partnership. These hashtags will be further reviewed to ensure the popular ones to connote advertisement or promotional content are recognized. Also, the disclosure label should be upfront i.e within the first 2 lines and the consumer should not be required to click on see more to understand if it is an advertisement.
What if it is just a picture post? ASCI has specified that the label needs to be superimposed on the picture and it should be visible. Similar way, the disclosure labels are required to be superimposed on the video and should stay for the specified time frame.
Further, there are platform-specific rules:
|The disclosure label to be included in the text that shows. If only the image/video is seen, the image/video itself must include the label eg reels, insta stories|
|Include the disclosure label in the title of the entry or post. If only the image/video is seen, the image/video itself must include the label eg FB story|
|Include the disclosure label or tag at the beginning of the body of the message as a tag|
|Include the disclosure label at the beginning of the message|
|YouTube||Include the label in the title/description of the post.|
|Vlog||Overlay the disclosure label while talking about the product or service|
|Snapchat||Include the disclosure label in the body of the message in the beginning as a tag|
|Blogger||Include the disclosure label in the title of the post|
Source: Quartz | Data: ASCI
Additional rules like the application of filters that exaggerate the effect should be discarded, it is the responsibility of the influencer to do their due diligence regarding claims by the brand and the contractual agreement is essential between influencer & advertiser specifying the disclosure, filters usage, and due diligence.
How this affects Advertisers, Influencers, and Consumers?
Advertiser: Brands have to ensure that the communication they put through influencers meets the standards of disclosures prescribed by ASCI guidelines. By adding such disclosures to the content, brands can increase transparency and instill consumer confidence in it. In the short term, it will hamper their sales; however, in the long run, the customers will be glad to see them as an outspoken brand and one that does not hide its intentions from consumers.
Influencers: Influencer marketing has had some bad press, As the viewers trust what an influencer says, it is their responsibility to disclose the promotional intent. This way the influencers too will be perceived as trustable, authentic, and credible. Also, they can identify the fake claim about the product in the sponsored content and refrain from doing it.
Consumers: These guidelines are specifically designed for the consumers to identify the difference between promotional content and the user-generated one and see if their favorite influencer really uses the promoted products or not.
Thus, this disclosure puts the influencers’ brand identity and relationship with their audience at the forefront. While this disclosure is perceived as authentic, it simultaneously projects influencers as authentic and builds credibility by disclosing when they are working with commercial brands.
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