The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) has released its first native advertising guidelines to help the marketing industry provide more transparency to consumers around the practice.
The guidelines provide advertisers, publishers, agencies and advertising technology companies with clear and practical steps to make it easier for consumers to spot native advertising – digital ad formats designed to look and feel like editorial content.
IAB’s UK arm has advised marketers and publishers to provide more transparency into the way they serve advertisements that are made to look like editorial content. The guidelines put native ads firmly in the same category as advertorials, and are designed to help consumers distinguish between editorial and paid content.
One of the key guidelines for native advertising formats is that guidelines provide “prominently visible visual cues” to make native advertising immediately clear the ads are paid-for content from a third party, and not editorially independent.
These could include “brand logos or design, such as fonts or shading, clearly differentiating it from surrounding editorial content”.
The ad or native content must also be labelled using wording that “demonstrates a commercial arrangement is in place” according to the news rules, such as ‘paid for promotion’ or ‘brought to you by’.
Clear labelling is also advised for native ads – a fast-growing form of digital inventory which represented 21% of all display ad spend in the first six months of last year.
Alex Stepney, the public policy manager at the IAB, said;
Paid-for advertising units which are deliberately designed to replicate the look and feel of the editorial content that they appear against needs to be obvious to consumers. The guidelines help companies involved in developing and publishing such native ad formats to provide the necessary levels of transparency to consumers and uphold the integrity of online advertising.
The tips have been devised based on research conducted by 2CV on behalf of the IAB, examining consumer knowledge, attitudes and tolerance to content and native advertising.
The study revealed that people engage with native content if it is relevant to them, and if they believe they will obtain value from it, as they would if it was editorial content. They will also engage with an ad if it’s “clear” who it has come from, and they trust the author, brand, or publisher.
The guidelines mark the first wave of standards the IAB will release, with the second to hit the market in the second quarter. The second part of the guidelines will cover online advertorial and sponsored content, including how digital can learn from good practice in print media, will be published in the second quarter of 2015.
Have a look at IAB’s native advertising guidelines here in PDF format: IAB Native Advertising Playbook
For more information about native advertising, visit www.iab.net/nativeadvertising