IAB Concerned About New FTC Native Ad Guidelines

Sensing imminent regulation of native advertising, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is asking the Federal Trade Commission to proceed with caution.

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.

2 comments about "IAB Concerned About New FTC Native Ad Guidelines".
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  1. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, December 28, 2015 at 1:08 p.m.

    Unfortunately, the FTC's guidance represents an archaic relic from the depths of the mass marketing world. It assumes an ignorant mass that must be protected from those big, bad advertisers. Nothing could be further from the truth, and these guidelines are an insult to that very public and especially those innovators who are working so hard to find a way to fund news and information. The FTC should do two things: one, back the fuck off, and two, get a life that includes learning instead of proceeding with its self-justifying ruse of protecting the (ignorant and easily fooled) public. It's the 21st Century, for crying out loud, and I'm really surprised this would be happening on President Obama's watch. Go figure.

  2. Andrew Susman from New Value Associates, December 28, 2015 at 10:48 p.m.

    Under the Articles of War, “it is unlawful for a warship to go into action without first showing her true colors.” 


    A 2015 ANA study,  shows that advertisers -- perhaps even more than publishers -- are well aware that “native advertising needs clear disclosure that it is, indeed, advertising.”  In fact, advertisers feel “disclosure/transparency is the single biggest issue about native advertising.”

    Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA, made this point clear, noting: “Marketers have a responsibility to be transparent to maintain trust, and they must play a lead role in working with publishers to ensure proper disclosure.”

    Garfield is also very good on this.

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