• 15 February 2018

    Last June Google announced they were taking measures to start blocking intrusive ads from their platforms.

    Those changes have finally come into effect and from 15 February 2018 Google's desktop browser, Chrome and their Android system will automatically block ads that do not adhere to the 'Better Ads Standards'.

    Ads deemed to violate standards include pop-ups, prestital ads, flashing animated ads and full-screen ads.

    ISBA is supportive of any moves to improve the online experience for consumers, many of whom feel bombarded with advertising. Therefore we welcome this initiative from Google. We would like to see the adoption of common, higher standards among all publishers.
    As an industry we must ensure we are always delivering ads which deliver a positive consumer experience.

    Google has provided full details on how their ad filtering system works, which is available on the Chromium Blog.

    Further information on the Better Ads Standards can be found on the Coalition for Better Ads website.

  • 14 February 2018

    The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) has today released an updated guide on content and native advertising.

    Designed to help the digital advertising industry provide transparency in content and native advertising, the updated guidelines outline clear and practical steps to ensure that content-based advertising is easily identifiable.

    The guidelines, which are supported by ISBA, are available here. The full IAB press release on the new guidelines can be viewed below:

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    IAB UK launches latest content and native guidelines

    The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) released refreshed guidelines to help the digital advertising industry provide transparency in content and native advertising. The update is a result of the growth of social media advertising, rapid rise of influencer marketing and ease of self-publishing.

    The IAB first published its disclosure good practice guidelines for native ad formats (e.g. in-feed and third-party recommendation units) in 2014 with a second phase that focused on online content-based advertising in 2015. The latest version combines and updates both phases along with previously-published guidance on paid promotions in social media.

    The primary aim of the guidelines is to set out clear and practical steps that brand owners, publishers and marketers can take to help consumers easily identify content-based advertising, particularly in photo- and video-based platforms, audio and influencer marketing.

    Supported by ISBA – the voice of British advertisers, the Association for Online Publishers (AOP) and the Content Marketing Association (CMA), the guidelines help advertisers meet the requirements of the CAP Code, the UK advertising industry’s rules for non-broadcast marketing communications that are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

    The updates reflect changes in online behaviour and media usage, and show how existing principles apply to new and growing advertising environments and approaches – such as influencer marketing.

    Key guidelines for content-based and native advertising:

    • Provide consumers with visual cues, or verbal brand mentions in audio formats, so consumers immediately know that they’re engaging with marketing content. 
    • e.g. brand logos and design features (such as fonts or shading) for native ad units that clearly distinguish them from surrounding editorial content
    • Use a clear, up front label and/or verbal descriptor (as appropriate) to show there’s a commercial arrangement in place and identify the content as marketing. One option where space is limited (e.g. in social media) is the label #ad.
    • Take visibility into account and design disclosures so that they are clear and prominent in different formats and devices (e.g. on mobile and in-app as well as desktop)
    • Ensure the content of the advertising adheres to the CAP Code and all other relevant legislation.

    “It’s essential when brands are using content and native advertising to reach their audiences that they understand the rules about disclosure, and how to comply with them in practice,” said Christie Dennehy-Neil, Senior Public Policy Manager at the IAB.  “Transparency is vital, not just because it’s required by the advertising rules, but because it is key to audience trust, which is so important for brands and anyone they partner with to create or publish advertising content.”

    Native and content advertising spend¹ – including paid for sponsorships, advertisement features and in-feed distribution – hit £563 million in the first half of 2017, accounting for 28% of display ad spend, 82% of which is in-feed.

    Richard Reeves, Managing Director at the AOP said: “We are always supportive when industry standards are reviewed and evolve in-line with changing consumer behaviour and best practice. As the loss of publisher revenue continues to increase due to ad blocking, there has been a growing demand for engaging and interactive ads that don’t disrupt the user experience, which content marketing and native formats can provide. The updated guidelines firmly put the user first, ensuring that publishers and advertisers maintain and continue to strive for a two-way relationship with users built on transparency and trust.

    James Erskine, Director at Social Circle, added, “Influencer marketing depends on trust, and disclosure is a key part of helping creators and brands to produce great content that is authentic and that people love. Having clear guidelines like these helps everyone ensure they are being open and transparent with their audiences.”

    Read more on the IAB website.

  • 29 January 2018

    The two leading cross-industry standards bodies in the UK and US today announced they are aligning many of their key initiatives to create a consistent approach to tackling the big issues facing digital advertising and to increase industry adoption.

    The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) will continue to drive brand safety efforts in the UK while the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) will take the long-term lead on fighting fraud, malware, and piracy. TAG will endorse the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Brand Safety initiative to companies active in the UK market. 

    Commencing with immediate effect, the alignment will roll out in three stages:

    1. JICWEBS will offer TAG Registration in the UK market and introduce TAG’s Certified Against Malware and Certified Against Piracy initiatives into the UK;

    2. JICWEBS’ existing anti-fraud programmes will be merged into TAG’s Certified Against Fraud programme by the end of 2018. A recent study found that fraudulent advertising was cut by 83% in TAG-Certified distribution channels; and

    3. TAG’s and JICWEBS’ brand safety initiatives will be aligned by 2019. Until this combined programme is in place, TAG will endorse and promote the JICWEBS version to all existing and future members trading or seeking to trade in the UK.

    Current JICWEBS subscribers will be encouraged to have first-hand practical involvement in the development of these initiatives.

    Richard Foan, Chair of JICWEBS, said:

    JICWEBS and TAG are both committed to raising standards in digital advertising, so it makes sense to create a consistent approach across the UK and US, which is what many from both the buy and sell side want. Initially, the partnership will offer a practical way for companies operating in the UK market to buy and benefit from both TAG’s and JICWEBS’ products, with the ultimate aim to fuse the best bits from both approaches to create a "super" programme that maximises brand safety and minimises fraud.”

    Mike Zaneis, President and CEO of TAG, said:

    By working together, TAG and JICWEBS can ensure that UK advertisers have a clear and consistent approach to building brand safety while fighting fraud, malware, and piracy. By reducing redundancy and harmonising the existing efforts, TAG and JICWEBS will be able to expand their efforts, increase adoption, and further protect the digital supply chain worldwide.”

    For further information please contact:

    - Alex Burmaster at alex@meteorpublicrelations.com (JICWEBS)
    - Andrew Weinstein at andrewwstn@gmail.com (TAG).


    About JICWEBS:
    JICWEBS defines best practice and standards for online ad trading in the UK and is made up of the following trade bodies: Association of Online Publishers (AOP), Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA). For more information on JICWEBS please visit www.jicwebs.org.

    About TAG:
    The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is the leading global certification programme fighting criminal activity and increasing trust in the digital advertising industry. Created by the digital advertising industry’s leading trade organizations, TAG’s mission is to eliminate fraudulent traffic, combat malware, prevent internet piracy, and promote greater transparency in digital advertising. TAG advances those initiatives by bringing companies across the digital advertising supply chain together to set the highest standards. TAG is the first and only registered Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry. For more information on TAG, please visit www.tagtoday.net.

  • 17 January 2018

    Following the ongoing conversations ISBA and advertisers have had with Google over the past year, they have today announced new measures to protect brands and ensure their ads run alongside content that ‘reflects their values’.

    The measures, outlined by YouTube’s Paul Muret, include:

    Stricter criteria for monetisation on YouTube

    • The process that determines which channels can run ads on YouTube changes from merely relying on views to include channel size, audience engagement and creator behaviour
    • Starting from today, new channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads
    • The platform has also committed to monitoring signals such as community strikes, spam and other abuse flags

    Manually reviewing Google Preferred

    • Google Preferred aggregates YouTube's top content into easy-to-buy packages for advertisers and will now include the most vetted channels
    • Channels in Google Preferred will now be manually reviewed and ads will only run on videos that have been verified to meet ad-friendly guidelines
    • Manual reviews of Google Preferred channels will be completed by the end of March in the UK

    Greater transparency and simpler controls over where ads appear

    • Plans for more transparent controls include introducing a three-tier suitability system that allows advertisers to reflect their view of ‘appropriate placements for their brand’
    • Google has also begun working to provide third-party safety reporting on YouTube and will be scaling their third-party measurement offering

    View the full update here >

    We have been in regular discussions with Google for some time and it’s clear from these changes that Google is listening to advertisers and ISBA in the UK, especially in increasing the availability of proactively vetted YouTube content for advertising.

    We welcome the raised thresholds and additional checks for monetisation and will continue to work with members and Google to determine if the new policy proves effective.

    In March 2017 Google advised ISBA and its members that they would be working with third party vendors on brand safety, so we look forward to the successful completion of these integrations. In December’s blog, YouTube promised regular transparency reporting on brand safety and we hope to see more detail on this very soon.

    We will continue to update you on all relevant developments as they occur. 

  • 12 January 2018

    Facebook has announced that they are to make significant changes to their news feed, focusing on content allowing more "meaningful social interactions."

    The shift away from branded posts and news stories follows research which indicated that passively reading articles or watching videos may not be good for our well-being.

    The key changes, outlined by CEO Mark Zuckerburg, which advertisers should note include:

    • Users will see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media
    • Where public content is featured, it should encourage meaningful interactions between people
    • For brands, pages should expect reduced engagement / decline in their organic reach, referral traffic, and total video watch time
    • Ad rankings will not be affected by the changes

    While some have called out the updates as a move to 'pre-empt the regulators', many industry commentators have focused on the financial implications, and how it will force brands to 'become better media planners'.

    ISBA will welcome any changes that result in the public feeling less bombarded by poor quality advertising and having to feel less wary about what is being presented in feeds.

    However, more detail is needed and we would strongly urge Facebook to be more open and accountable to advertisers and the public in its assessment of the current position and in its reporting of the impact of any measures it takes.

    View Mark Zuckerberg's blog which outlines the key changes here.


    Press Contact:
    Abi Slater Director of Communications

    T: 020 7291 9020 M: 07917 048835

    ISBA 12 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8LH


    Follow us on Twitter: @isbasays

    About ISBA
    ISBA represents the leading UK advertisers. We champion the needs of marketers through advocacy. We influence necessary change, speaking with one voice to all stakeholders including agencies, regulators, platform owners and government. Our members include the UK’s biggest brands.

    ISBA is the voice of the advertiser in the UK Advertising Association tripartite. They are the advertisers’ representative on CAP and BCAP the UK advertising code body. ISBA represents UK advertisers in the WFA and ISBA's Director General, Phil Smith sits on the Executive Committee and the National Associations Council.


  • 03 January 2018

    I wanted to start the year by reiterating ISBA’s commitment to ensuring that the major platforms step up fully to their responsibilities to society and are held to account to the same standards we would expect of responsible advertisers.
    While we acknowledge the increased efforts by Google to make YouTube a safe platform for its users and suitable for advertisers, we continue to press for a more open and proactive approach to the vetting of content to address the issues identified and concerns raised in the UK.
    The media continue to be able to uncover examples of unacceptable content, it appears with relative ease. Two such stories have run over the Christmas break allowing journalists to continue to assert that major brands are funding the publishers of unacceptable content, albeit inadvertently.
    • Jailed sex pests profit from YouTube ads
    • Call for crackdown after claims YouTube is shop window for child abuse
    Please note these links are behind a paywall.
    Political frustrations are also growing. Government Security Minister Ben Wallace gave an interview calling for the major tech platforms, including Google and Facebook, to face greater taxes to cover the costs of extra surveillance incurred by the security services because of lack of access to encrypted messaging. He made clear Government impatience with the tech industry in key areas: low levels of corporation tax compliance, the hosting of child abuse images and terrorist propaganda and online harassment. He is also concerned about the collateral damage to the media industry and democracy. The original article is behind a paywall but was also covered by the BBC.
    For many advertisers, we recognise that there are huge commercial and competitive pressures to continue to invest. The platforms enjoy unassailable positions in search, social media and user-generated video. For many businesses, these channels are now essential parts of the business system. And audiences continue to migrate online and to mobile. However, advertisers should be concerned that unwelcome attention may turn to them in the near future, as the platforms’ principal source of revenue.
    As the only organisation dedicated to representing advertisers, ISBA has a crucial role in addressing these challenges. We can and do represent our members’ perspective to the platforms and can and do work with Government where we share interests. While we understand, and indeed share Government’s frustration, we do not think that a fiscal response is the right one. Instead, we would like to explore with Government, our members and the platforms a range of statutory and self-regulatory policies, which we believe would be more effective.

    In the meantime, we have recently reissued our Online Brand Safety Guidance which can be found here.

    We have also convened another meeting with Google in February, where they will be presenting their action plan to strengthen content control to our members.

  • 02 January 2018

    CAP/BCAP have today (Tuesday, 02.01) introduced strict new rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s in advertising.

    The rules have come into force following a full public consultation and six month implementation period and also prohibit the sexual portrayal of those who appear to be under 18.  

    The new Codes are as follows:

    New CAP Code rule:
    4.8 Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.

    New BCAP Code rule to replace rule 5.5:
    4.13  Advertisements must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to advertisements whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.

  • 19 December 2017

    The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) is an advisory body consisting of a representative from the data protection authority of each of the EU member states, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. WP29 provides expert advice to member states regarding data protection.  

    WP29 have released draft guidelines on transparency and consent, two key areas of the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    The guidelines, which were published in mid-December, aim to provide further clarity on the core requirements of each area under the GDPR, offering more detailed definitions, plus insights on issues such as the rights of data subjects, exemptions and specific areas of concern.

    Both documents are now available to download and are open for comments until 23 January 2018.

    Guidelines on transparency
    Transparency, under the GDPR, is now a ‘fundamental aspect’ of the EU’s fairness principles and is ‘intrinsically linked to accountability’ under the new regulation.
    In addition to outlining the meaning of transparency, the guidance produced by the WP29 also provides a thorough overview of: 

    • Elements of transparency under the GDPR
    • Information to be provided to the data subject
    • Exercise of data subjects’ rights
    • Exceptions to the obligation to provide information
    • Transparency and data breeches

    The full guidance is available here.

    Guidelines on Consent
    As one of the legal bases to process personal data and one most crucial aspects of the regulation, it’s of paramount importance that companies comply with the new requirements.
    The concept of consent has evolved under the GDPR and the new guidelines focus on the main changes and include practical tips to ensure compliance.

    The key aspects of the guidelines include: 

    • Elements of valid consent
    • Obtaining explicit consent
    • Additional considerations
    • Data subjects’ rights

    The full guide is available here.

    ISBA is currently working with members of our Data Action Group to submit a response to the guidance. Advertisers can submit their own response directly.

    For further details on the GDPR, please contact David Ellison.

  • 13 December 2017

    We are delighted to announce that Carolyn McCall will deliver the keynote address at ISBA's 2018 Annual Conference.

    Recognised as one of Britain's most powerful women, Carolyn built a successful career at the helm of the Guardian, before becoming CEO of the FTSE 100-listed airline easyJet in 2010 and is set to take over as CEO of ITV, another FTSE 100 listed company early next year.

    Carolyn joins a stellar line-up of senior industry figures at next year's Conference, which aims to challenge current thinking on accountability and look at how all parties, from brands and agencies to publishers and platforms, can come together to inspire change.

    Don't miss your opportunity to Carolyn's first industry address as CEO of ITV.

    Find out more about the event and book your place here >

  • 05 December 2017

    Following the recent criticisms regarding how inappropriate content is controlled, monitored and removed from YouTube, CEO Susan Wojcicki released a statement outlining the actions they are taking to minimise the risks associated with appearing on the platform.

    These actions, designed to tackle problematic content and protect advertisers from inappropriate content, include:

    • An increase in the number of people reviewing content and an expansion of expert networks
    • Expanding the application of machine-learning to flag child safety, hate speech and other challenging content
    • Regular reporting of aggregate data on flagging and removals
    • Tightening policies and conducting more manual curation of content fit for advertising
    • Increasing the number of ad reviewers                                                                

    Having met with senior representatives from Google last week and having pushed for more proactive vetting of content, tighter monitoring and tougher action, we are encouraged by these measures and look forward to receiving further detail on the plans outlined.

    ISBA's position on the issue remains clear. While advertisers need to make their own assessments as to whether advertising on a platform carries a significant risk to their brand reputation, we urge Google to take all required steps possible to ensure advertisers have access to content that is stringently vetted, family friendly and can satisfy reach targets.

    We will continue to work with Google on the issue and will update you on any developments in due course.    

    The full statement from YouTube is available here.