FTC Spells Out Its Guidelines for Native Ads

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×

FTC Spells Out Its Guidelines for Native Ads

By Jeremy Barr

The Federal Trade Commission has released an enforcement policy statement and a business guidance spelling out its rules for native ads more explicitly than ever before.

“In evaluating whether an ad's format is misleading, the Commission will scrutinize the entire ad, examining such factors as its overall appearance, the similarity of its written, spoken, or visual style to non-advertising content offered on a publisher's site, and the degree to which it is distinguishable from such other content,” the policy statement said.

When labels such as “advertisement” are necessary, they need to be prominent upon first contact with consumers, according to the statement. “For example, disclosures that subsequently inform consumers of a natively formatted ad's commercial nature after they have clicked on and arrived at another page will not cure any misleading impression created when the ad is presented in the stream of a publisher site,” it said.

“The more a native ad is similar in format and topic to content on the publisher's site, the more likely that a disclosure will be necessary to prevent deception,” said the commission's guidance, a supplement to the policy statement.

In many respects, the FTC was only elaborating on its longstanding effort to make sure ads don't deceive consumers. “Although digital media has expanded and changed the way marketers reach consumers, all advertisers, including digital advertisers, must comply with the same legal principles regarding deceptive conduct the Commission has long enforced,” the FTC's statement said.

Advertisers that err in this regard could be found in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which bans “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” according to the statement.

The documents issued Tuesday clearly convey the FTC's preferences for disclosure labels on native ads, said Linda Goldstein, an advertising lawyer for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. They even make clear where the commission wants those labels placed, she said: on the left side of the page, close to the headline.

The FTC has historically been reluctant to act against media companies, instead going after advertisers, but that could be changing as publishers increasingly create ads through in-house content studios, Ms. Goldstein said.

“I think we can expect 2016 to be the year of the FTC bringing native advertising cases,” she said.

In the new statement, the FTC made clear that it doesn't consider native ads inherently deceptive. Some “may be unlikely to mislead consumers acting reasonably,” based on the nature of the advertisement, the commission said.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau said it commended the FTC for its work examining native advertising over the last two years but would be studying the documents closely.

“Much like the Guidance concludes, IAB has been telling our members for years that ‘disclosure is not optional' for native advertising — it is a requirement,” said Brad Weltman, VP-public policy at the IAB, in a statement. “At the same time, we want to evaluate more carefully the FTC's specific recommendations, to assure they are technically feasible, creatively relevant, and do not stifle innovation. For now, it's worth reminding all advertisers, agencies, networks and publishers: Our job is to inform, entertain, and edify consumers, not to fool them. When in doubt, make the disclosure clearer.”

Jason Kint, CEO of the publishing trade group Digital Content Next, said the association is “still digesting this guidance,” and is waiting to see what action the FTC actually takes.

Read the full article and learn more about Native Advertising and the FTC here.

Here’s How To Make Sure You,
Your Business & Website Is FTC Compliant

By now it should be clear how important it is for you to be FTC compliant. But how can you do that without spending $7,500-$8,000 or more on Internet Attorneys?

Smart business owners around the world are doing it with the help of FTC Guardian.

FTC Guardian is a service that is 100% focused on helping to keep you get and stay FTC compliant and fully protected. And right now, we are offering a free training to give you the knowledge, information, and guidance that you need to stay out of trouble with the Federal Trade Commission.

The training is titled: 3 Tragic (Legal) Privacy Policy List Building Mistakes That Can Get You In Hot Water With The FTC Today – Resulting In Your Business Being Shut Down… And How To Solve It!

Here are some of the things you’ll discover on the training:

  • Real-Life Examples of People Who Didn’t Think They Were At Risk, But Who Got Nailed By The FTC, And Why It Could Happen To You, Too
  • Why 2014 Was a Significant Year For Online Businesses, And Why You Should Be Worried!
  • The 3 Enormous Powers The FTC Has That Can Change Your Life – And Your Family’s Life – Forever!
  • How to Avoid FTC Claims When Collecting Leads With Optin Forms
  • 3 Privacy Policy Mistakes Every Digital Marketer Is Making, And Why You're In The FTC Crosshairs.
  • And Much More…

Remember: legal protection is a massively important part of your business, and it’s one you cannot afford to ignore any longer.

Go here to register for our next FREE training and make your business is FTC compliant today!

Disclaimer:  This article is provided for informational purposes only. It’s not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created. Neither the author nor FTC Guardian, Inc. is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission.


0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×