Due to the rapid increase in content-based advertising online, the need for transparency in posts is now essential. Owing to this, the IAB set out principles governing the use of content advertising online.
Earlier this year, the IAB released the first phase of these guidelines for native distribution methods. They recently released the second phase of their guidelines which details the best practices and behaviours for content-based advertising online.
There are three main principles underpinning these guidelines:
- Visible visual cues
Is the consumer immediately aware that they are reading a sponsored post or content-based piece around an advertiser? The consumer should know straight away, that they are reading a piece of branded content. The IAB recommend placing the brand’s logo or name on the piece, so that this is immediately recognisable.
- Clear commercial labelling
Is it clearly visible as a piece of content marketing? The whole article needs to be fully recognisable as a piece of content advertising and the language needs to be indicative that this is a commercial piece. The IAB advocates the use of focus groups, to test consumer interpretations and to ensure marketing is done correctly and fairly.
- Adhere to regulations
Does the piece rest within the limits set out by the CAP code? The Committee of Advertising Practice has set out a code when it comes to advertising. This must be adhered to by all agencies, media and advertisers, and is constantly updated. Any piece of content advertising must make sure it stays within the limits of the code.
What does this mean for publishers?
In essence, this has simply firmed up on the process and use of content advertising online. Publishers and brands must work together to create pieces that adhere to the practices set out by the IAB. Both parties need to ensure transparency in the pieces.
Before engaging in content marketing, or publishing a sponsored post, it’s important to make sure you have your checklist:
- Is the brand clearly visible? Via a logo/brand name.
- Does the consumer know immediately that they are engaged in a marketing piece?
- Is the language and tone appropriate for the piece?
- Does it adhere to rules and regulations for advertising practice?
See below for an info graphic on the guidelines, provided by the IAB.
The full IAB report can be downloaded here.