New Advertising Standards, A Threat To Digital Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is nothing new and has been around for almost a hundred years. One of the popular examples of that is Coca Cola’s modern-day invention of Santa Claus. That marketing strategy was so successful that it became ingrained into popular culture and continues to shape marketing to this day. That goes to show how successful influencer marketing has been in the past and can be in our future. The last few years did see a huge change in how influencer marketing worked though, especially regarding the use of celebrities.
Access to cheap and fast internet in India saw a quick influx of creators who would soon become online celebrities on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. These internet celebrities have become easily accessible to people, and as an effect, so has brand awareness. It has helped both brands and influencers to increase their reach through each other. The biggest advantage of using social media influencers for marketing has been the readily available fanbase and the significant savings in expenditure. All that is set to change however for both brands and influencers.
So What’s Changed?
In India, social media influencers have been free from any advertising regulations so far. As a result, influencers could promote brands freely in their content. According to a new proposal by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) however, it will soon become mandatory to disclose clearly whether their content is editorial or not. As per ASCI, a significant number of influencer posts are promotional and should be identified to not mislead anyone. Examples of such advertisements include paid music promotion in a video, promoting service through a post on influencer media handles. Here’s a summary of the draft highlights that ASCI is going for:
● Only standardised disclosure labels will be permitted to make sure consumers are easily able to identify the nature of the content. The disclosure label should also be upfront and suitable for all potential devices in a language understandable by the average consumer.
● Blanket disclosure in profiles or about sections will not be permitted. For picture posts, the labels need to be superimposed on the picture. In the case of videos, the label should be clear enough that it is visible to the viewer. Video labels must stay for a minimum of two seconds to longer, as per the length of the video. Where audio content is concerned, the content creator should mention the disclosure at the beginning and end of the content.
● To ensure that the claim in the content isn’t exaggerated, filters should not be used in the content. The influencer must also be diligent when putting up claims regarding the performance of a product or service. ASCI also recommends for contracts to carry clauses about disclosure and the use of filters.
Where Does Digital Influencer Marketing Go From Here?
These guidelines are being seen as a welcome change for consumers while adding awareness of self-generated content and editorials. This will however have a significant impact on both influencers and brands. There is of course a silver lining to this for brands as the new set of guidelines could streamline the influencer marketing that is conducted throughout India. The growing concern is that making consumers aware of editorial content could make influencer marketing ineffective, but we believe it will only benefit the brands in the long run as trust is established through transparency. Many from the influencer marketing industry believe that these guidelines will promote an organised and structured approach to influencer marketing.
Brands won’t be the only ones benefiting from this, however. Some influencers believe that strict guidelines add more value to marketing. They also think that the guidelines will make sure that brands invest in the right influencers for their products and services. From an influencer’s perspective, the guidelines will make sure that content creators are held accountable for the type of content they create. This could promote influencers to innovate, to drive engagement not just for the self-generated content, but also for branded content. As for the question of what happens now? The guidelines are going throughthe feedback phase right now, with final guidelines to be issued on April 15. We will know for sure howthis impacts digital influencer marketing once it becomes applicable from May 1. For more information onthe guidelines, you may take a look at this https://bit.ly/3rS9Ky6.