Who: French Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance and French Minister for Culture and Communication
When: No later than 1 January 2018
Law stated as at: April 4, 2017
What happened: The French Law No 2015-990 for growth, activity and equality of economic opportunities dated 6 August 2015 (Loi n° 2015-990 du 6 août 2015 pour la croissance, l’activité et l’égalité des chances économiques), also known as the “Macron Law”, confirmed that online advertising falls within the scope of French Law No 93-122 of 29 January 1993 (Loi n° 93-122 du 29 janvier 1993 relative à la prévention de la corruption et à la transparence de la vie économique et des procédures publiques), better known as the “Sapin Law”.
As a result, the Decree No 2017-159 of 9 February 2017 relating to online advertising services (Décret n° 2017-159 du 9 février 2017 relatif aux prestations de publicité digitale) was published into the French “Journal Officiel”, thereby becoming law, on 9 February 2017. This followed pressure from the French advertiser’s unions pushing to implement the provisions of Article 23 of Sapin Law (reporting duties on sellers of ad space) into the framework of the digital advertising world. These provisions do not, however, apply to sellers established in another EU or EEA state member where these sellers would be subject to similar reporting duties.
Pursuant to this text, specific reporting duties will fall on sellers of online ad spaces. These will vary depending on the type of advertising campaign conducted:
For advertising services involving the dissemination of ads through any Web connected media (exclusive of the second category below).
The seller is required to provide advertisers with key information about their ad placements, such as:
- date and place of dissemination of the advertisements;
- overall price of the campaign;
- unit price of the advertising space invoiced.
For programmatic advertising, and more precisely for advertising campaigns based on methods of real-time purchase of non-guaranteed inventory (notably through bidding mechanisms), for which determining criteria are the web user profile and the optimization of the ad performance
The reporting duties are numerous. Specifically, the seller is required to provide the advertiser with the following information within its report:
- information regarding the service’s effective performance:
- the advertising dissemination environment;
- the content of the ad displayed;
- the format used;
- the result of the services regarding the performance indicators agreed at the time of their purchase, such as the number of displays completed (e.g. “prints”, “pages viewed”), the number of interactions intervened between the web user and the ad displays (e.g. “clicks”, “actions”) or any other unit of measure substantiating the performance of the services; and
- the overall amount invoiced for the same campaign and, where appropriate, any other element, agreed with the advertiser, concerning the inventory price.
- information regarding the service’s technical quality:
- the technological tools, the technical skills as well as the identity of the technical providers involved with the provision of the services;
- the identification of the consulting players (as distinct from the digital technology providers) involved with the provision of the services;
- the results obtained in relation to the quality targets as defined by the advertiser (or by its agent) before the campaign launch (such as targeting, optimization or effectiveness).
- information about the means used (i) to protect the advertiser brand image, (ii) to prevent the dissemination of ads through unlawful media or into an environment reported by the advertiser as detrimental to its brand image or reputation.
- where appropriate, the conditions required to fulfil the commitments made in accordance with the best practices charters applicable to digital advertising. Digital advertising industry businesses have been given until 1 January 2018 (the date of entry into force of the Decree) to comply with these new provisions. However, specific guidelines should be are expected to be provided by the French Government in this respect before that date.
Why this matters:
These provisions aim at bringing transparency into online media buying, for the benefit of the advertisers, and in particular to prevent “kickbacks” being given to intermediaries.