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Home >Industry >Advertising >ASCI's influencer guidelines to bring accountability, transparency: Experts
On Monday, ASCI issued new draft code which aims to clearly identify and label upfront that a said communication across social media platforms is an advertisement.
On Monday, ASCI issued new draft code which aims to clearly identify and label upfront that a said communication across social media platforms is an advertisement.

ASCI's influencer guidelines to bring accountability, transparency: Experts

  • Influencer marketing is currently estimated at $75 million-$150 million
  • Some experts argue that these guidelines have the capability to dent the engagement value of influencers

The Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI) draft rules for advertising and promotions by influencers on digital media platforms will bring accountability and transparency to online promotions, said experts. Influencer marketing is currently estimated at $75 million-$150 million, according to digital marketing agency AdLift.

On Monday, ASCI issued new draft code which aims to clearly identify and label upfront that a said communication across social media platforms is an advertisement. It also added that if the influencer is making some specific claims, they should be diligently substantiated by the advertiser or brand owner.

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“As the guidelines state, consumers, here disguised as a follower, should have all the rights to know what’s being uploaded organically and what’s a paid advertisement. This declaration also will motivate the influencer to study about the brand/product and investigate their claims before they go all out publicizing them. Post formulation we’ll surely see less cases of misleading advertisements," said Aayush Tiwari, head of talent acquisition at influencer marketing agency Monk Entertainment.

The guidelines will also help provide clarity to content creators or social media influencers to better negotiate the terms and conditions of brand endorsements. "This move by the ASCI will act as a guiding light for new and established content creators, who will now be more mindful of the kind of content that they are bringing to their target audiences," said Kunal Kishore Sinha, co-founder at AI-driven influencer marketing platform ClanConnect.

While several influencers label sponsored content, industry bodies making it a mandate only benefits the consumers at large.

"A lot of time the content is promoted as a part of the larger story and seeded in subtly, making the whole placement look rather organic. However, consumers have full right to know what is paid and what is organic," said Ankita Chauhan, group head strategy of digital first creative agency Tonic Worldwide.

However, some experts argue that these guidelines have the capability to dent the engagement value of influencers. According to Rajni Daswani, director at SoCheers – an independent digital agency, digital consumers today are smart enough to understand the difference between an advertisement and organic content.

"Hence, brands are willing to pay more to get their promotional material to look as organic as possible. With these guidelines kicking in, we might see the overall engagement and reach with influencers drop and might see it get the same status quo as a paid media ad on digital. I think while these guidelines are necessary but they should not be extremely stringent so as to avoid creating a dent in the overall influencer marketing industry that is growing at a faster pace than ever," she added.

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