Digital media:Final guidelines for influencer advertising in 2021

It has an ASCI digital media platform where you can find all the information on the guidelines and a community of influencers, marketers, agencies, and consumers.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has established definitive guidelines for influencing digital media advertising. The draft guidelines were initially announced in February and feedback was sought from all stakeholders: advertisers, agencies, influencers, and consumers. To ensure a collaborative process and expert input, ASCI has partnered with the Big Bang Social, an important market in social history, to represent the views of India’s leading digital influencers. The guidelines apply to commercial communications or advertisements posted on June 14, 2021. The guidelines require influencers to name the promotional content they post.

As digital media consumption becomes the norm, the distinction between content and advertising becomes essential. The marketing landscape is changing and influencer marketing has become popular. Therefore, consumers have a right to know what brands are paying for, and the guidelines are aimed at promoting transparency for influencer marketing. As “Influence equals action” is now a reality, consumers today are buying not only influencer-approved products and services but the brands they create. Therefore, these guidelines protect the interests of consumers, influencers, marketing professionals, and the advertising industry.

Guidelines for digital media influencers


An influencer is someone who has access to an audience and has the power to influence purchasing decisions or public opinion about a product, service, brand, or experience through the influence, knowledge, position, or relationship of influencers with your audience.

Virtual influencer

Virtual influencers are imaginary “people” or computer-generated avatars who have realistic human traits, traits, and personalities and act in the same way as influencers.

Material connection

A material relationship is any relationship between an advertiser and an influencer that can affect the weight or credibility of the influencer representative. Physical complaints include, but are not limited to, perks and incentives, such as cash or other compensation, free products with or without conditions, including coupons, discounts, gifts, participation in contests and sweepstakes, travel or hotel accommodation, prize coverage not required by any media relationship or family or service relationship, etc.

Digital media

Digital media are media that can be sent over the Internet or digital networks, including communications, received, stored, sent, modified, or processed by a digital multimedia platform. Digital media includes, but is not limited to

1.Internet (advertising games, sponsored posts, branded content, promotional blogs, paid links, gamification, in-game ads, teasers, viral ads, augmented reality, native ads, connected devices, influencers, etc.)

2. On-demand on various platforms, including video on demand, video on demand with subscription, closing film on-demand, free video. Video on demand transaction, video on demand transaction, video-on-demand request, paid video, etc.

3. Mobile broadcasts, mobile communications, communication content, websites, blogs, programs, etc. Digital TV (including digital video broadcasting, portable and terrestrial services), etc.

4. NSTV (non-standard television)

5. DDHE (home entertainment with digital delivery)

6. DTT (digital terrestrial television)


As digital media becomes more prevalent and more consumers start advertising on digital platforms, it becomes important to understand the peculiarities of these ads and how consumers perceive them. As the lines between content and advertising blur, it’s essential that consumers can discern when something is being promoted with the aim of influencing their opinion or behavior for immediate or ultimate commercial gain. Consumers can see these messages without realizing their commercial intent and become inherently misleading and violate clauses 1.4 (misleading standard) and 1.5 (abuse of consumer confidence or abuse of their lack of experience or knowledge).


1. Disclosure

Any ad posted by social media influencers or their representatives on those influencer’s accounts must have a banner that clearly identifies the ad.

a. The following criteria should be used to determine if the disclosure is required:

b. Disclosure is required if there is a material connection between the advertiser and the influencer.

c.The material connection is not limited to monetary compensation. Disclosure is required if something valuable is provided to name the advertiser’s product or service. For example, if the advertiser or its agents offer products or services or other benefits for free or at a discount and the influencer names one of their products or services, disclosure is required even if they have not been specifically asked to discuss the product Or maintenance.

d. Disclosure is also necessary if the reviews are unbiased or derived entirely from the influencer, as long as there is a material connection between the advertiser and the influencer.

e. If there is no material connection and the influencer reveals to people a product or service they have purchased and enjoyed, it is not considered an ad, and no disclosure is required for these posts.

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