IAB Issues Social Advertising Guidelines

social networks Taking a step toward creating more formal standards, the Interactive Advertising Bureau Monday released a set of best practices for social media advertising covering key terms, creative elements, and user privacy, among other topics.

The guidelines unveiled at the IAB's Social Media Marketplace conference in New York are intended to encourage the growth of social advertising by giving marketers, agencies and social networks preliminary rules to navigate a category that now spans hundreds of millions of users.

"Industry standards are essential to making social media easy, safe and scalable for advertisers," said Seth Goldstein, CEO of Socialmedia.com and co-chair of the IAB's UGC Social Media Committee, in a statement. "The new IAB framework is a critical first step in this direction and we are excited to help enable the next generation of social advertising."

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While marketers have been eager to experiment with social media, a lack of standard ad formats and metrics and privacy concerns remain obstacles to more rapid advertising growth on social sites. Even so, Forrester Research projects that social media marketing will increase nearly 60% this year to $716 million.

Establishing a common language around social media is one of the main objectives of the new IAB guidelines. To that end, it defines terms such as social ad, social graph, interaction data and profile data. The IAB had previously released a set of ad metrics definitions for social media.

Much of the new document also focused on providing privacy policies and guidelines in connection with the use of consumer information in social ads.

It recommends opt-in and opt-out policies for the use of profile data in ads as well as calling on advertisers to allow people to preview and approve ads featuring their likeness and information before they run. Consumers should also be able to select which group of friends will see the ad, or opt-in to having the ad served to their entire network, according to the IAB.

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