I&B Ministry Frames Strict Guidelines on Digital Ads Run by Govt


Advertising concept: Digital Advertising on keyboard background

Government is getting serious when it comes to digital advertisements, as they have formed guidelines so that only the best and high traffic websites gets Govt. ads.

In a twist of events, Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) has designated Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) to grade and rank websites based on various factors, and then enlist them for running Government ads.

The websites shortlisted by DAVP would be considered as final for considering running State sponsored advertisement, and the advertisement rates would be determined by DAVP as well.

Pawan Chopra, a former secretary at the ministry of information and broadcasting said, “The government as an advertiser has a right to evaluate the medium through which the advertisements are given. These ads have to be directed within India— to Indian citizens, so the ministry has given an apt criteria,”

Some of the features and pointers which DAVP would consider before empaneling a website for Govt. ads:

  • Only those websites which are owned and incorporated in India shall be considered for enlisting under DAVP for running Govt. ads.
  • In case a company is incorporated outside India, then their local branch can approach for enlisting, in case it meets all criteria
  • DAVP will examine the ‘structure and framework’ of the website, and will determine the strategic location of the advertisements on that website
  • In the first week of April, DAVP shall examine and cross-verify total number of unique visitors on each enlisted/empaneled website under the Govt. sponsored advertisement program
  • Based on the website traffic, DAVP will divide all eligible websites under three categories: A: Websites with ‘user-base’ of 5 million+; B:User-base between 2 and 5 million; C: User-base between 0.25 and 2 million
  • From now on, all Government advertisements shall only run via 3rd-party ad server, which would be determined by DAVP
  • Online billing and online payment of the advertisements served shall be managed by the 3rd-party ad server
  • DAVP would be the nodal agency for approving all enlisted and approved websites; however, public sector units and banks can also directly approach these enlisted websites, only at the rate finalized by DAVP

The new policy guidelines lays emphasis on cross-checking total users and traffic using 3rd party verified tools so that Government advertisements are shown only at high traffic websites, with a minimum traffic base of 0.25 million per month.

As per DAVP, during 2015-16, Government of India spent Rs 353.31 crore on electronic media advertisements, (out of Rs 842.89 crore spent overall).

It would be interesting to note whether website owners will need to pay 6% equalization levy on the income generated from Government advertisements or not. We will keep you updated.

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