NEWS9 February 2015

IAB releases native advertising transparency guidelines

News UK

UK — The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released the first part of a set of guidelines intended to improve transparency around native advertising.

Supported by ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – the Association for Online Publishers (AOP) and the Content Marketing Association (CMA), the guidelines, available here, provide advertisers, publishers, agencies and advertising technology companies with practical steps to make it easier for consumers to spot native advertising – digital ad formats designed to look and feel like editorial content. Native and content advertising spend hit £216m in the first half of 2014, accounting for 21% of display ad spend, according to the IAB.

Two of the key guidelines are to provide consumers with visual cues to make it clear that they are seeing marketing content that is not editorially independent; and that native advertising must be labelled using wording that indicates a commercial arrangement is in place.

The guidelines meet the UK advertising industry’s CAP code (UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing).

“Paid-for advertising units which are deliberately designed to replicate the look and feel of the editorial content that they appear against needs to be obvious to consumers,” said Alex Stepney, public policy manager at the IAB. “The guidelines help companies involved in developing and publishing such native ad formats to provide the necessary levels of transparency to consumers and uphold the integrity of online advertising.”

The guidelines were based on a study commissioned by the IAB, and carried out by research agency 2CV, to understand consumer knowledge, attitudes and tolerance to content and native advertising.

Part two of the guidelines will be published in Q2 2015.