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BizReport : Advertising archives : February 10, 2015

IAB: 'Visual cues' must distinguish native advertising from editorial content

The Internet Advertising Bureau has released a new set of guidelines to make it easier for consumers to distinguish native advertising from editorial content.

by Helen Leggatt

Marketers using digital advertising must put in place 'visual cues' to make it clear to consumers that the content they are viewing is paid-for by a third party and not editorially independent. The new guidelines, supported by the ISBA, the Association for Online Publishers and the CMA, have been developed to regulate what is now a £216 million industry in the U.K, 21% of overall ad spend.

The visual clues could come in the form of "brand logos or design, such as fonts or shading, clearly differentiating it from surrounding editorial content", says the IAB. Furthermore, labeling of content to make clear that a commercial arrangement is in place should be used including phrases such as "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," 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."

According to the Association of National Advertiser's (ANA) latest report, "Advertising is Going Native", for which 127 client-side marketers were polled, more than half said their company had employed native advertising in the last 12 months and nearly two-thirds (63%) expect to increase budgets for the ad method in 2015.

Marketers agree, however, that clear disclosure is vital so that consumers are able to tell the difference between native advertising and editorial and that the onus lies with both the marketer and publisher to enforce this. Just 13% of marketers feel that such disclosure is unnecessary. According to the ANA's survey, "disclosure/transparency is the single biggest issue about native advertising that keeps respondents up at night".

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, native advertising

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