ASCI drafts promotional content guidelines for social media influencers
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued a set of draft guidelines that directs influencers to prominently label content that promotes products and services on social media. The guidelines have been drafted as companies in India are becoming increasingly dependent on online marketing. The goal is to help average consumers distinguish between advertisements and independent user-generated content.
Guidelines mandate disclosure labels for promotional content on Facebook etc.
The guidelines mandate promotional influencers' posts and services should be labeled as such. On Facebook, the influencer posts should include a disclosure label in the title and if only an image or video is visible, it should include labels such as, but not limited to, "FB Story". Similar guidelines have been drafted for Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vlog, and Snapchat.
Approved labels should be visible irrespective of content viewer's device
ASCI has drafted a list of approved labels which can be used. Labels include #ad, #collab, #promo, #sponsored, and #partnership. ASCI Chairman Subhash Kamath explained that a consumer has the right to easily recognize promotional content as regular posts and promotional content are often indistinguishable. The body made it clear the labeling should be visible irrespective of the device used to view the content.
Indian social media influencers' contribution to global influencer advertising market
Notably, digital marketing agency AdLift estimates India's influencer advertising market is worth $75 to $150 million a year while the global influencer advertising market is worth roughly $1.75 billion.
Scientific claims should be verified, use of beauty-enhancing filters prohibited
The guidelines dive into specifics regarding where the identifying labels should be placed in promotional audio, text, video, and live-streamed content. The guidelines say it is the influencer's responsibility to verify any scientific or performance claims made by a company they promote. Further, the influencers shouldn't use filters that exaggerate the brand's claims, for example beauty filters that radically improve appearance.
ASCI will finalize the guidelines by March 31
ASCI has said the guidelines will be finalized by March 31 and will apply to posts published on or after April 15. The draft was prepared by ASCI in collaboration with social storytelling marketplace BigBang.Social. Last year, ASCI had worked with TAM Media Research to monitor 3,000+ digital platforms to curb misleading digital marketing.