What ASCI's draft guidelines for influencer marketing mean for micro-influencers?

As the lines between organic and paid communication become more transparent, some experts feel micro-influencers with their limited reach might lose out while others say they could gain more attention from brands for their organic, opinionated reviews

Akanksha Nagar
New Update
Post Thumb

With the influencer marketplace taking a considerable and recognisable shape, micro-influencers are emerging to be the first preference of some brands. Micro-influencers with followers between 1,000 and 100,000 focus on a specific niche or area and are generally regarded as an industry expert or topic specialist and are said to have stronger relationships than a typical influencer. A micro-influencer, as opposed to a celebrity or regular influencer, often has a very uniform audience.

Experts feel they will be the most impacted with the implementation of the Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) draft guidelines.

Anuja Deora Sanctis

Micro-influencers build their community on the basis of relatable, snackable content that provides a sense of familiarity with their audience. Because micro-influencers are known for their relatability and organic content, the ASCI guidelines may pose a challenge for these creators, as the lines between organic and paid communication will be more transparent, said Anuja Deora Sanctis, Founder and CEO, Filter Coffee Co.

She said while these guidelines are a great fit for representing larger partnerships and branded content, micro-influencers are missing out on the opportunity to be creative, and show real organic associations with a brand.

“I believe the guidelines need to distinguish between the larger influencers and the more niche influencers while having separate guidelines for the type of content or depth of association with a brand. This will ensure that micro-influencers, who may be in their early stage of associations with the brand, or maybe real loyalists, are not affected in their reach and growth,” she said.

Many times, micro-influencers often enter into barter agreements for a brand. In those scenarios, experts feel there has to be more clarification.

Shaan Singh

Shaan Singh, Head of Operations, Humanz India and Director, Boss Entertainment, said Brands are not tapping into the micro-influencer market more in-depth. And this community might not actually have the knowledge of the guidelines. Therefore even though it might be a straightforward process, it needs to be set out in clear terms to all influencers.

Madhur Acharya

Madhur Acharya, Head of Marketing, Wow Skin Science, sees the micro-influencers stumbling a bit to get all the points right at the beginning. He said, “They will need to be careful about how to make clearer and evident the difference between an actual review or personal opinion and endorsements and paid showcases.”

However, he said the guidelines might help micro-influencers to build a trust relationship with their audiences. “Eventually, these guidelines will help strengthen micro-influencers as they have a closer touchpoint with the consumers,” he said.

Possible opportunities for them

Sanctis said despite the issues, the guidelines may work as milestones for micro-influencers whose audience may be able to review their growth based on the kind of brands they partner with.

Divij Bajaj

Micro-influencers often purchase products on their own to share their reviews, and yet they are unable to fetch higher engagements and follower base. But once the guidelines come into existence after March 31, micro-influencers could gain attention from brands as people would know that the content being put by them are candid or organic reviews, said Divij Bajaj, CEO and Founder of Power Gummies.

But macro-influencers would need to choose wisely before opting to promote a brand, product or service as an informed influencer would be equally accountable for what they speak.

In recent years, influencer marketing has grown to become a serious career option for many. Products or services endorsed or mentioned by influencers create a buzz for brands as they can influence the decision-making process of consumers.  But the new guidelines could also mean many influencers might have to build a fan base from scratch as they would also be liable for their posts and may have to redo their strategies.

Vivek Shah

On the positive side, this could help micro-influencers to generate serious fan bases for themselves. They will have to build their base with their expertise such as fashion, technical, financial backgrounds, etc., said Vivek Shah, Manager, Marcomm, Spykar.’

influencer marketing micro-influencers ASCI