Updated October 27, 2022
This article was first published on October 4, 2022, when we were negotiating with the advertising data operator (ADO) the possibility of handing over advertising campaign data through Solar Staff, and the previous version of the article reflected that. At the end of October, it became clear that this arrangement would be an ill fit for freelancers, clients, and our company's philosophy alike. Transferring the advertising data through Solar Staff would basically require creating an ADO inside our service, which would in turn entail numerous new forms and fields to fill out.
Instead, clients and freelancers can now choose any operator from the officially approved list (original list in Russian) and independently register creatives, submit data, and thus comply with the amended law.
All online ads that run in Russia must now point to the advertiser and be labeled. Ad creatives must be marked as such and contain a reference to the advertiser and to a website with details thereon. Each ad needs a token – a unique ID that should first be obtained from the ADO. All stakeholders (advertisers, agencies, freelancers) must transfer info about themselves and advertising campaigns to the ADO.
The labeling amendments aim to regulate online advertising by gathering data on each ad and storing it in the Unified Register of Online Advertising (UROA).
What data will go to the UROA and be available to the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Federal Tax Service:
– Ad creative's token.
– Campaign type and platform.
– Advertising scale, distribution and placements.
– Advertised goods and services.
– Campaign duration as set in the advertising tool.
– Advertising contract info.
– Info about contractors involved in the advertising process, starting with the end advertiser.
Each link in the ad placement chain is now responsible for "information being provided in a complete, reliable, up-to-date and timely fashion" (Federal Law "On Advertising" as at September 1, 2022).
Before the amendments, the process looked as follows: an advertiser assigns a task to a freelancer (targeting specialist, blogger, etc.), who proceeds to place creatives through an advertising tool, and the tool then displays creatives on the internet.
Now, that process involves an ADO, which needs to be contacted twice:
First time – before launching a campaign; the ADO is given info about the ad, advertiser and ad distributor.
Second time – in the month following the calendar month during which the ad was placed online; the ADO is given the campaign stats.
The workflow now looks as follows:
1. The advertiser (client, end advertiser, or intermediary) assigns a task to the ad distributor (freelancer) through Solar Staff.
2. The advertiser (client) or ad distributor (freelancer), depending on the arrangement, contacts the ADO and receives tokens for the ad creatives. Each creative requires its own token. The ADO needs the following data to receive the tokens:
Campaign type and platform.
Info about contractors involved in the advertising process, starting with the end advertiser.
Advertising contract info.
Advertised goods and services.
3. The freelancer integrates the tokens into the creatives (be they text, banner, video or something else) and can now launch the campaign.
4. The freelancer sends the marked creatives to the advertising tool (for example, uploads them to the Yandex Direct account).
5. The advertising tool publishes the creatives on the internet to be viewed by users. At the second stage, the ADO needs to receive the campaign stats, plus data from certificates.
6. The freelancer sends to the ADO impression stats for each creative, as well as certificate data.
7. All the stakeholders furnish the ADO with the information on the placed ads that's required by law, as well as the data from each stakeholder's closing certificates.
8. The ADO passes the data along to the UROA.
Starting November 1, 2022, the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation is amended with clauses on liability for failure to comply with the new requirements. Before that, there had been no liability for non-transmission of data to the state register. That said, companies may get fined for non-compliance with the requirements regarding full and timely notification (Part 11 of Art. 18.1 of Federal Law No. 38-FZ). The Tax Service may also not recognize online advertising spend as a deductible expense. The Federal Tax Service may charge additional tax and impose a fine if no information is provided to the UROA (Part 15 of Art. 18.1 of Federal Law No. 38-FZ).
There is also a fine for breaching the Federal Law “On Advertising,” which can run up to RUB 500,000 per violation.
What's changed for companies
Companies must provide data both about themselves and about all advertising chain links up to the end advertiser. Ad distributors are responsible for their own reporting.
What's changed for freelancers
Verification and INN requirement. This is necessary so that Solar Staff also complies with the law. As an example, verification is mandatory for bloggers and SMM, targeting, and contextual advertising specialists. Read our guide to learn about the verification process. For instructions on adding an INN (taxpayer identification number) in your account, head here.
Addendum. The Offer Agreement now has an addendum with the relevant provisions – you can read it here.