Who: The Internet Advertising Bureau (the “IAB”)
Where: Online only
When: 9 February 2015
Law stated as at: 4 March 2014
The IAB has published the first phase of its native advertising guidance. The guidance is designed to provide clear advice for brand owners, publishers and marketing practitioners regarding compliance with the CAP Code and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (the “CPRs”) when using native advertising.
The IAB discusses the regulatory framework that applies to native advertising, namely the CAP Code and the CPRs as well as setting out three principles that it suggests brand owners, publishers and marketing practitioners agree to when entering into an agreement with a third party to publish marketing content on their behalf via a “native” distribution format. The principles are as follows:
1. provide consumers with prominently visible visual cues to enable them to understand, immediately, that they are engaging with marketing content that has been compiled by a third party in a native ad format and is not editorially independent. This can be achieved via a number of means including but not limited to:
• the deployment of prominent brand logos either around or within the native format, to clearly display the brand’s association to the content; and
• the use of different design formatting by the publisher and/or provider of a native distribution format, such as fonts or shading behind the native distribution format, to mark it out as being different to accompanying editorial content;
2. ensure that the publisher or provider of the native ad format uses a reasonably visible label. The language of the label must demonstrate a commercial arrangement is in place. Testing consumer interpretations of labeling is recommended, as readers/users will have different expectations of language of different publishers/platforms; and
3. ensure that the content of the ‘marketing communication’ within the native distribution format adheres to the CPRs and the CAP Code (and any other relevant industry codes). See www.cap.org.uk/The-Codes/CAPCode.aspx
The guidance also refers to the IAB’s 2014 research entitled Content and Native Consumer Research (click here for a link to the research) which discovered that, amongst other findings, consumer trust in a brand is often diminished where the provenance of a piece of content is unclear.
Why this matters:
The IAB’s guidance provides clear and succinct advice for the use of native advertising by brand owners, publishers and marketing practitioners. Compliance with the guidance will help these parties to prevent falling foul of the CAP Code and CPRs and will also hopefully avoid any consumer dissatisfaction or loss of consumer trust in a brand following the use of content whose non-editorial nature is not sufficiently clear.
The IAB’s guidance is supported by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Association for Online Publishers which further validates the authority of the guidance.
Phase 2 of the guidelines will address advertorial and sponsored content and is expected to be published in Q2 of 2015.