At a time when critics of native advertising contend that there are too few guidelines underpinning the white-hot marketing practice, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) has published what it calls comprehensive new guidelines outlining best practices regarding the disclosure of advertising and marketing communications for native distribution formats online.
Dropping this week is part one of the new set of guidelines, the first wave of which is designed to provide advertisers, publishers, agencies and advertising technology companies “with clear and practical steps to make it easier for consumers to spot native advertising.”
The IAB adopts a definition of native ads that is almost universally recognized — “digital ad formats designed to look and feel like editorial content.”
The organization says its efforts are supported by ISBA, the Association for Online Publishers (AOP) and the Content Marketing Association (CMA).
Additionally, the guidelines meet the UK advertising industry’s CAP code, which is enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Despite the comprehensive nature of the guidelines, there are two key guidelines for native advertising formats that quickly bubble to the surface in the provided documents. For native advertisers, they are as follows:
- Provide consumers with prominently visible visual cues enabling them to immediately understand they are engaging with marketing content compiled by a third party in a native ad format which isn’t editorially independent (e.g. brand logos or design, such as fonts or shading, clearly differentiating it from surrounding editorial content)
- It must be labeled using wording that demonstrates a commercial arrangement is in place (e.g. ‘paid promotion’ or ‘brought to you by’).
“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,” says 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.”
To review the first set of the new native advertising guidelines from IAB, click here.