IAB forms native advertising working group

The UK Internet Advertising Bureau has formed a working group to look into self-regulation and guidelines for the responsible trading of the burgeoning native advertising sector.

IAB logo
The IAB has formed a native advertising working group.

The trade body sent out invites for members to join the group, led by IAB senior industry programmes manager Clare O’Brien and director of data and industry programmes Stephen Chester earlier this month. If it proves popular and useful among members, it could evolve into a council – joining the likes of its existing forums such as the Social Media Council or the recently formed Audio Council – although it wants to “start conservatively”.

The IAB says it has created the group following the “explosion” of paid for advertising opportunities, some classed under the banner of native advertising, but it is aware there are no standards or clear definitions in the market of what those opportunities – sometimes also referred to as “branded content” – are.

The initial meeting is set to discuss a common definition for native advertising, the current and upcoming formats, commercial models and pricing, standards, measurement, brand safety and consumer transparency.

The formation of the UK working group comes three months after the IAB US set up a native advertising task force, consisting of 80 companies representing advertisers, media owners and technology providers. The task force, like the UK entity, is looking to set industry-wide native advertising standards – particularly on how native ads can be differentiated from regular content as government authorities increasingly scrutinise the practise. 

Standards and safeguards are of particular importance to UK advertisers. Last month the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advisory panel, which writes the ad rules the ASA adjudicates on, issued a note to brands warning marketers not to “camouflage advertisements” as editorial content when it is not.  

CAP issued the note claiming its copy advice team had been receiving an increasing number of requests on how to both compose and juxtapose advertiser-funded material. 

IAB’s senior industry programmes manager, Clare O’Brien, says: “Native advertising and branded content are certainly the buzz words of the moment with significant spend on this form of advertising growing fast and in multiple forms.

“However, there is little guidance or standards around this area at the moment. The IAB felt that now would be an optimal time to set up a working group dedicated to native advertising and help the wider industry really get to grips with this new form of digital advertising.” 

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