Government to advertise on social media platforms, drafts norms

The information and broadcasting ministry has issued draft policy guidelines to improve social media outreach of various ministries and government departments. Under the guidelines, social media platforms will be empanelled with the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC), the nodal organisation for the government’s paid outreach campaigns.

Government ads will run on websites that have a minimum of 25 million unique users in India per month and have been operating under the same domain name or access address for a minimum of six months. Social media platforms seeking engagement with BOC for government advertisements should not have been suspended or blacklisted or be under the period of suspension by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeITY) or any other ministry, department or agency and autonomous bodies or PSUs.

Social media platforms operate on the basis of dynamic pricing or auction. BOC will participate in the bidding process for buying inventory or space for government messages, determining which social media platforms are relevant in light of planned outreach activity of the client ministry or department based on target audience, theme and content of proposed activity, budget and duration of the campaign. Preference may be given to the social media platforms which are based in India without affecting the desired outcome from the campaign activities, the guidelines said.

The ministries or departments would place 100% funds in advance with BOC for the campaign to be run, the guidelines added. This is non-negotiable as default in payment by one ministry or department may adversely impact social media campaigns of other ministries or departments. If the actual expenditure exceeds the planned expenditure, the balance shall be paid by the client ministry or department to the BOC.

The need for advertising on these platforms arise from the fact that a majority of the Indian population is presently active on various social media platforms where they consume news, information and entertainment, the guidelines said.

The platforms not only cater to an increasing number of people but also facilitate targeted approach which helps reach out to desired set of people in an efficient and cost effective manner. A number of ministries and departments have substantial presence as well as organic reach across various social media platforms which they utilize to connect with the public. However, the organic reach is limited to only those who have connected with the social media handle of the concerned ministry or department. Hence, there is a need to reach or connect to others as well.

—Livemint

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