ASA To Oversee UK Websites & Social Media

The IAB in the UK is reporting that from 1st March 2011 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will now have its coverage extended to include additional forms of online marketing and communication.

It was thought that this might come come into play in September (or at least 3rd Quarter) along with other revisions to existing coverage in the CAP codes which come into effect today, September 1st 2010.

The FAQ (pdf) provided by the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) states:-

However, this is a major step for advertising and the internet which will potentially impact upon everyone doing business online. There needs to be a period of grace to raise awareness and therefore long-term compliance.

Why is the money to police this coming from?

The ASA and the self-regulatory system are advertiser-funded: that means that advertisers themselves foot the bill. This is currently achieved via a 0.1% levy on ad spend collected at the agency level. To meet the expected additional costs, this levy is to be applied to PPC search marketing, mobile marketing and affiliate marketing (none of which was previously levied). Google has also agreed to supplement this.

Bold added for my PPC and Affiliate marketing readers benefit.

What Is Covered

  • advertisers’ own marketing communications on their own websites
  • advertiser controlled marketing communications in other non-paid for space

This includes marketing communications on advertiser-controlled ‘pages’ on social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

User-generated content (UGC) will not fall within the extended remit unless it is incorporated – solicited or unsolicited – into an advertiser’s marketing communication. For example, only the advertiser’s marketing communication on a social networking page will come within the extended remit.

Thats mean it will also probably cover things like paid tweets and affiliate marketing on social networks, even if users are allowed to word their promotions themselves.

I have no idea how you can comply with Twitter – there isn’t even sufficient characters in a profile to include some disclosure, let alone things like company registration information in an accessible manner.
The same information would also have to be available through Twitter clients – you can’t really use a background graphic due to accessibility problems, and it doesn’t get seen by client users.

I also hope the ASA will follow through with their investigations into the activities of UK marketers using Strategic lawsuit against public participation tactics against bloggers who cover their announcements of decisions.

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  1. Advanced Payroll Ser says

    I look forward to seeing how they will go about doing this and what rules they will put in place

  2. holiday france says

    I don’t know what to expect now when I log in to any of these social sites. Marketeers plans and strategies are just some times out of my league to understand. Any how, I’ll be looking forward to see what changes they have made in their advertisement of these sites. Thanks you for sharing.

    • says

      I never know what to expect when someone leaves a comment on my blog, but 95% of the time they break my comment policy, and what they are advertising could well influence B2C transactions in the UK.
      If someone from the ASA happens to read this, they might decide they need to also look into this.