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Advertising Labeling: Promotion Under New Rules

Date: 2023-09-14 | Time of reading: 12 minutes (2324 words)

Advertising Labeling: Promotion Under New Rules

On September 1, 2022, the advertising market underwent significant changes due to amendments in the advertising law that came into effect on that date. What changed is that all online advertisements promoting goods and services must now be labeled in a specific way. The aim of these changes is to make the advertising market more transparent and reliable for all its participants.

For a whole year, everyone prepared for the new rules, and as of September 1, 2023, penalties for the absence of proper labeling on advertisements have been activated.

According to a survey conducted by the Retail.ru portal in August of this year, 49% of respondents had just heard about this innovation and were planning to start understanding it. Now, the law on advertising labeling is fully in effect, and ignoring its requirements is no longer an option.

This article provides up-to-date information on the new rules, penalties, and where advertisements are automatically labeled.

Advertising labeling and its meaning

Advertising labeling is the process of registering all advertising campaigns in a unified resource, which includes obtaining a special identifier (token). Each marked post must contain information about the company promoting itself online.

All the information is submitted to the Unified Registry of Internet Advertising, which is monitored by the following authorities:

  • Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation;

  • Federal Tax Service of Russia;

  • The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media.

Information about the advertising is only visible to these organizations and the creators and ordering customers. It is submitted online through a specified form in a personal account.

Which ads are accurately labeled

In 2023, advertising labeling applies to all advertisements promoting something.

The law defines advertising as information:

  • distributed through any communication channels, formats, and means;

  • targeting a certain (precisely unknown) audience;

  • intended to draw attention to products or services, create and maintain a high level of attention to them, and promote them.

However, informing customers about a company's operations or product variety is not considered advertising.

The following types of content fall under labeling: contextual ads, social media targeted ads, product-related videos, broadcasts, promotional posts, stories, podcasts, and other content with integrations, link and QR code placements, and collaboration with bloggers.

Reviews initiated by individuals are not considered advertising; they are classified as information.

Example:

A female blogger went to a beauty salon for a hair coloring session that she paid for herself. Afterward, she wanted to share her impressions of the service and overall experience. During her storytelling, she mentioned the salon without encouraging others to go there or providing additional incentives (promocodes). Such a review is not considered an advertising announcement.

It is permissible to publish information about your product or service range without labels if you don't highlight anything specific in terms of style. It's also essential to integrate them seamlessly into your content. Therefore, advertising labeling on the internet is not required in such cases. Links to your events, subscription-based resources, and similar content can be published without a token.

However, if a banner with a promotional offer is in a separate section on the website and includes a call to action for making a purchase, then it qualifies as advertising.

Forget about labeling if you're publishing:

  • Product listings on an aggregator;
  • Email newsletters;
  • Descriptions of a company's activities and its products;
  • Push notifications;
  • Advertising inserts in TV broadcasts and radio;
  • Social media videos and posts;
  • Native integrations without a clear emphasis on the product.

Example:

On a clothing brand's website, they have products listed with descriptions and prices; essentially it’s a product showcase where the store informs customers about its range. There's no need to mark these listings. However, if there's a banner on the website's front page that says "Up to 50% off the autumn collection," such an announcement cannot be published without marking.

Product showcase needs no labeling according to new rulesProduct showcase needs no labeling according to new rules

Proper marking advertising

Marking advertising according to the rules typically follows this process:

Advertiser (or intermediary) → Advertising Data Operator (ADO) → Unified Register of Internet Advertising (URIA).

It's essential to decide in advance who (the clients, distributors, intermediaries) will go through this process; otherwise, everyone may be held legally responsible. Special agencies can submit documents on behalf of all participants, but only if there is a contract.

Participants in an advertising campaign who may be penalized if something is done against the rules include:

Participants of ad campaignsDescription
Offering customer (aka advertiser)It can be a business or an individual that is promoted through advertising.
Advertisers (publishers)These are owners of online resources (website, blog, group in social networks), where they publish ads from customers for money or barter.
Advertising platformsPlatforms for publishing targeted and contextual advertising: Yandex services (Direct and others), VK, myTarget, etc.
MediatorsSpecial agencies, private individuals (freelancers), services to whom the rest of the campaign trusts the right to transmit information to the ADO.

Rules for marking advertising: breaking it down step by step

What you need to do to launch advertising and sleep soundly:

  1. Gather all the information about the advertising campaign, including the creative materials and texts, to send to the Advertising Data Operator (ADO). There are several official organizations that have received permission from the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media for this activity. The client of the advertising or other participants in the campaign do this themselves (depending on the agreements).

The ADOs currently accredited by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media include: "Yandex," "MediaScout," "Ozon ADO," "First ADO," "VKontakte," "ADO-A," "ADO Development Laboratory."

What to send to the ADO before publishing advertising:

  • description of the advertised product;

  • advertising format;

  • platforms for publication;

  • ad types (text, creative, video, audio);

  • data about the audience that will see the advertisement;

  • campaign duration or the date of the ad post;

  • contracts with all participants in the advertising campaign.

However, it's essential to first establish a contract with the ADO. Include details such as taxpayer identification number, participant company details, the contract itself, platforms where the ads will be placed, and costs.

Companies can delegate the task of providing information to a third-party organization or freelancer. In this case, a separate contract will need to be signed or amendments made to an existing one.

Some platforms have simplified this process by becoming ADOs themselves (such as "VKontakte" and "Yandex"). This makes it easier for companies to mark advertising on social media (specifically VK) and when launching context ads through Yandex.Direct. The client typically accepts the platform's offer and launches their ad promotions.

  1. Obtain the advertising marking token (instantly generated by the ADO) and insert it into the advertising content (post, banner, etc.). This token is a label that includes the word "erid:" followed by a set of alphanumeric characters in Latin. Additionally, the advertisement should include the label "Advertising" and specify the company's information (the advertiser). Typically, this includes the legal entity name and the taxpayer identification number.

Example of the token:

Example of the token for ad labeling

If it's possible to add a link to a post, then this code is embedded within it. It would look something like this: https://site.ru/?erid=NNN

Another option is the AdChoice menu, which typically consists of three dots in the corner of the advertisement.

NNN represents a code made up of numbers and letters.

  1. Generate a report for ADO about the campaign results, including impressions and the budget spent. Provide service reports and information about the platforms used within thirty days from the end of the month in which the advertising was displayed. The ADO will forward all this information to the Unified Register of Internet Advertising (URIA).

Example of advertising marking from VKontakte:

Example of advertising marking from VKontakte

The identifier is placed within the AdChoice block, and at the bottom, the brand that launched the advertisement is indicated.

Here's another example where a marketing campaign is published with marking from a Telegram channel. In this case, the token is placed directly on the banner, and the company's name along with the taxpayer identification number is placed at the end of the post for compliance purposes.

Ad labeling, example of token on the bannerMarketing campaign with token in the Telegram channel

Ad labeling, example of taxpayer identification number at the end of postTaxpayer identification number at the end of post

This is what an advertisement in an advertising block on a media website might look like:

Ad labeling on the most popular platforms

Yandex.Direct

Yandex has the right to issue tokens through its Advertising Data Operator. The service automatically adds the word "Advertisement" to ads and includes company information (such as the taxpayer identification number or other details). To allow the platform to do this, you only need to accept the offer.

Yandex itself creates descriptions for advertising cards (including brand, product, and content) based on specified parameters. However, it's advisable to manually edit them if needed.

VKontakte

VK Advertising automatically sends data to the Unified Registry of Internet Advertising because the social network has registered its Advertising Data Operator. If you launch advertisements independently through your personal account, no additional information is required. However, when using an agency account, you will need to accept the offer and fill in the necessary fields. Agencies should also add reports on their work with clients to the platform.

myTarget

This platform uses the ADO of the company "VKontakte," so sending information to the Unified Registry of Internet Advertising is also automated here. Advertisers will need to accept the offer and create ads.

Telegram Ads

Telegram's advertising platform does not provide automatic marking, so you'll need to follow these steps manually:

  • Fill in your brand information in Telegram Ads;

  • Generate a token (any ADO will work);

  • Add the label to your ads;

  • When the campaign is completed, create reports for the operator on your own.

How much you will be fined for not labeling an advertisement

The fines for the absence of advertising labeling will now be enforced. Starting from the beginning of autumn, you can be penalized if your advertisements do not contain marks indicating registration in the operator's database.

Fines can also be imposed for incorrect data. Previously, no fines were applied during the transitional period.

The amount you will have to pay depends on your status: companies, individual entrepreneurs, and officials will face different penalties.

Who paysPenalty in rubles
Individual person30000–100000
Legal entity200000–500000
Public official30000–100000

If the advertisement is unlabeled, then:

Who paysPenalty in rubles
Individual person30000–100000
Legal entity200000–500000
Public official100000–200000

Operators can also be fined if they fail to provide information or if the information they provide is incorrect.

Who paysPenalty in rubles
Public official100000–200000
Legal entity300000–700000

What if the advertisement was launched before September 2023? There will be no fines for such ads. For articles with advertising, there must be a publication date, otherwise, it will be impossible to justify the absence of marking.

How businesses should adapt to the new marking system

The 2023 law on advertising marking cannot be repealed, so businesses have no choice but to adapt and get used to the new way of working.

What's important for companies:

  • Register within the Unified Registry of Internet Advertising through "Gosuslugi" (a government services portal).

  • Study the changes in the rules of advertising platforms and provide the necessary information according to their requirements.

  • Modify contracts with intermediaries if you work with them.

Some features in the rules for marking advertising announcements

  • Only advertising that circulates in Russia is marked. Moreover, even foreign companies must register their ads if they are promoting themselves within our country's territory. However, if a Russian business is advertising on a foreign market, no marking is required. In this case, it is also permissible to promote through Russian services without registration.

  • For online broadcasts, tokens can be obtained after their publication. Then, the identifier will appear in the description.

  • Each creative is assigned a separate unique label. It is not allowed to copy the same ID for all at once.

  • Barter transactions are also marked according to the general rules.

Conclusion

Advertising that circulates within the territory of the Russian Federation is now registered in a single resource – the Unified Register of Internet Advertising.

This information is sent there by advertising data operators. Starting from September of this year, marking of advertising is inevitable for any business that is promoting itself in Russia.

Any advertising is marked with special symbols (the ADO generates a token), the mandatory word "Advertisement," and customer data. When the campaign period ends, the ODA must provide a report on the ad impressions, budget, and work performed (via acts).

Mandatory advertising marking is a new headache, as it is likely to be closely monitored. Ignoring reporting deadlines and improperly documenting advertising information carries the risk of fines ranging from ₽10,000 to ₽700,000.

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Author: Natalia Makarova

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