So much is changing in the online business world, as for influencer marketing. It is one of the only marketing mediums that has shown sustainable growth during the COVID pandemic. Influencer marketing is a kind of marketing where brands collaborate with social media influencers to market their products or services. As the business is booming, the governing bodies have imposed certain rules.
Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has unveiled new guidelines for influencers. The final guidelines came into effect on June 14th, 2022. The new guidelines are applicable to all influencers who post content on various social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook (META), Instagram, etc. You might have noticed that influencers are now adding disclosure labels for their paid advertisements and collaborations. This has been strictly implemented so that a consumer, follower, or viewer does not miss it. The program and advertisement can easily be distinguished on television and in newspapers. But the fact that people might miss out on social media has led to this new rule. For sponsored videos of more than 2 minutes duration, the disclosure label must stay for the entire duration of the video. The government has also come up with a digital domain that would monitor influencers, agencies, and marketers. ASCI has made it clear that every influencer must review the product or service before promoting it on social media. As social media consumption has increased, the distinction between paid advertising and the actual content has become crucial. The new guidelines are encouraged to educate influencers and brands about ethical obligations. By imposing the rules, ASCI helps brands, influencers and consumers ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are preserved through a self-regulatory approach. Similarly, the Australian Marketing Council (AIMCO) released its first influencer marketing code of practice on July 1st, 2020. The code affects everyone associated with the influencer marketing industry, like influencers, talent agencies or managers, PR agencies, platform service providers, etc. The codes are categorized into four sections.
- Selection & Qualification: The brands and marketers should be able to access and review the influencer’s details and audience demographics for authenticity. Similarly, brands should take compulsory action to ensure that the brand is safe and authentic.
- Advertising Disclosure: All posts must follow the rules under the Australian Consumer Law and must not make false claims. A disclosure label similar to ASCI should be given, where all posts must feature #Sponsored or #Ad so that people would be able to differentiate between paid posts and regular posts. For video ads, it should be declared within the first 30 seconds.
- Contracts and Brief: A valid contract must be put forward and practiced by influencers and brands. It should cover the areas like industry code compliance, brand safety, and reputation, remuneration, intellectual property rights, etc.
- Metrics and Reporting: Both the brands and influencers are required to facilitate metrics and sources in order to ensure consistency.
Government bodies around the world are imposing certain rules to monitor the business under influencer marketing. However, all social media platforms come with their own set of rules and regulations. Instagram has its own sponsored content guidelines. Every influencer wants to establish trust with their followers. The more transparent an influencer is, the more authentic their profile becomes. The new rules and regulations for influencer marketing are not only urgently needed, but will also benefit influencers, marketers, consumers, and related agencies in the long run.