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Advertising Online and in Social Media: What You Need to Know

The Committee of Advertising Practice has published new guidance to assist advertisers to stay compliant with the advertising codes when operating in the social media space. In March 2011 CAP also became responsible for policing advertising standards in online media.

Online advertising is increasingly becoming the shift of focus for how companies reach their audiences – it represented 28% of the workload in 2012, and according to a recent report by the Internet Advertising Bureau now accounts for nearly 32% of total ad spend. There are many reasons why advertisers are spending more of their budget online: tighter ad targeting, cost savings and immediacy of engagement; transferring a potential consumer into an actual consumer there and then.

While these are great benefits, it’s just as important for an advertiser to apply the same diligence online as they would when preparing their ads offline. That means ensuring that your ads are in line with the Advertising Codes, and that really doesn’t have to be a challenge.

Advertisers must make it easy for the average consumer to be able to judge whether or not they are seeing an advert (for example, by using #spon or #ad when advertising on Twitter).

Advertisers should also be conscious of the fact that all media in any form including images, video, and text will be caught by the advertising rules protecting children and will always need to consider whether content is appropriate for where it is displayed, and who it can be seen by.

Advertisers also have to ensure that content being added (including text, images and videos) is appropriate for the audience, and does not breach any of the advertising rules. Advertisers who may, until now, have believed that they do not have responsibility for user-generated responses or publically available feedback that can be viewed buy others, will have to put in place systems to monitor and where appropriate, moderate or edit these responses

Here are some simple guidelines to consider when placing adverts online or through social media:

  •        Make sure user generated content is appropriate, true and accurate, if it’s part of your advertising
  •        Make clear that it’s an advert
  •        Target your audience appropriately particularly where children are concerned
  •        Take care with running competitions – they must be open and fair with publically available rules, details of how to participate and the closing date

For more information and easy to follow guidance visit the CAP website www.cap.org.uk or contact Alex Green or Adam Waller at Graham & Rosen

Adam Waller

Written By: Iain Boyle

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