The request comes on the heels of guidance issued by the FTC on the matter of native advertising and its place in the digital marketplace. Threatening the future of native ads, the agency said it believed that online ads can be deceptive when they are formatted to closely resemble news stories or other editorial content.
“While guidance serves great benefit to industry, it must also be technically feasible, creatively relevant, and not stifle innovation,” Brad Weltman, vice president of public policy at the IAB, notes in a prepared statement.
“To that end, we have reservations about some elements of the Commission’s Guidance,” according to Weltman. “In particular, the section on ‘clarity of meaning’ in native advertising disclosures is overly prescriptive, especially absent any compelling evidence to justify some terms over others.”
The IAB’s next step is to seek clarification from the Commission, especially on provisions in the guidelines that it fears could impose on commercial speech protections and established ad conventions.
With its Native Advertising Task Force in particular, the IAB has already tried to establish a leadership position on the issue. Its stated goal has been to stress the importance of clear, prominent consumer disclosures in native advertising.
There is clearly a great deal at stake for marketers and publishers alike. Across digital platforms, native has emerged as one of the most effect ad models in the business. As such, spending on native ads was expected to reach $7.9 billion this year, and balloon to $21 billion by 2018.
In conjunction with the IAB’s Public Policy Council, the Native Advertising Task Force plans to meet on January 5 to discuss the recently released FTC documents, and its implications for the industry.