ASA publishes new advice on native advertising

ASA LogoThe UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have published new advice on “key issues to consider when creating native advertising in its various forms”.

The advice, published on October 16, 2020 is not legally binding but asks that marketers “ensure that ads remain recognisable as ads”.

For those who do not know what native advertising is, the published advice also tries to define the concept: “Native advertising is content that has been designed so it doesn’t look out of place in the habitat within which it’s being viewed.  In this way, it goes beyond simply targeting consumers with ads relevant to the editorial they are viewing.”

The advice makes three main points:

1. Adverts must be distinguishable from editorial content as this is the basis of advertising codes and the prime way that advertisers try to trick audiences

2. Affiliate marketing can easily resemble editorial content and is also subject to the advertising codes

and

3. Click-through links by content generating services are also easily mistaken as editorial content and must be clearly marked.

The ASA points to a ruling in 2014 where it found that “the heading and the footer “Recommended by”, were insufficient to ensure it was obvious to consumers that the links were marketing communications.”

The ASA is the UK’s independent advertising regulator and along with the CAP, which writes the advertising codes, the two aim to encourage responsible advertising and respond to complaints from consumers and businesses.

This gentle reminder serves to remind that native advertising is a tricky matter for audiences, and even trickier for publishers who chase advertising revenue through this cunning but ultimately regulated form of advertising.

Read more here.