BBB National Programs Press Releases

Native or Not, Interest-Based Ads Must Comply with Self-Regulation

Arlington, VA – Tuesday, December 9, 2014 – Online interest-based advertising (IBA) has gone native. But an interest-based ad by any other name must still comply with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA Principles).

Today, the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program) issued a compliance warning concerning native advertisements that are tailored to consumers based on their prior surfing across the web. Companies combining IBA with native ads must provide consumers with transparency and control, just as they would with any other interest-based ad. Enforcement of the Native Advertising Compliance Warning will begin January 1, 2015.

This compliance warning will make sure that companies know the rules of the road when using native advertising formats in concert with interest-based advertising technologies. Spending on native advertising is expected to rise from $4.7 billion in 2013 to $7.9 billion this year and continue to accelerate to $21 billion by 2018, according to BI Intelligence. Because the combination of native advertising with programmatic is already producing a “huge lift in engagement and response,” Media Post predicts that 2015 will lead to a growth spurt in teaming up these two innovative advertising techniques.

Self-regulation has the flexibility to adapt to this new business model, while maintaining the standards of transparency and consumer control established by the OBA Principles. Accordingly, the Native Advertising Compliance Warning reminds all companies involved in the ad serving chain of a tailored native ad that the OBA Principles require them to provide consumers with notice, including real-time notice about IBA in, around, or the on the same page as the ad, as well as the opportunity to exercise meaningful choice about participating in IBA. Companies may use the familiar Advertising Option Icon (AdChoices Icon)  to alert consumers to the presence of an interest-based ad and the location of an IBA opt out, or they may use a phrase that provides a clear disclosure. The compliance warning also reminds websites that display interest-based native ads to provide enhanced notice when they allow third parties to collect data for IBA.

“The Accountability Program’s mission is to build trust in online advertising by helping to ensure that all companies in the ecosystem live up to the advertising industry’s commitment to self-regulation.” Genie Barton, Director of the Accountability Program said. “Compliance warnings, complaints, monitoring and publicly reported enforcement decisions are some of the ways that the Accountability Program fulfills this mission.”