Digital Advertising Accountability Program

Political Advertising Transparency Project Blog

Issue ads versus express advocacy: know your compliance obligations

In today’s digital world, there are numerous ways that voters might encounter political content online. They might see their favorite candidate displayed in a banner on their favorite website. Alternatively, they may see their top social issue captured in a video message in their newsfeed. And of course, they might encounter organic political content shared by friends, family, and co-workers across their networks. 

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Political Advertising: Notice and Enhanced Notice

This 2020 election season, voters will consider candidates for offices high and low: from governors and state attorneys general all the way to congressmen, senators, and the President of the United States. Campaigns have increasingly turned to digital advertising to reach voters with their messages and drive them to the polls. This happens across the full spectrum of internet content—social media, apps, and individual websites on the open web.

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The AdChoices Icon and the Political Ads Icon: This campaign season, look out for the blue and purple triangles

When you go online, you enter a world powered by advertising. Sometimes you might notice ads following you around from website to website or across your different mobile apps. Whether you’re shopping for new sports equipment, clothing, or kitchenware, you’ll often see ads for your favorite products appear across the websites you visit during your session. This is called interest-based advertising, also known as targeted or tailored advertising. And now that it’s the 2020 campaign season, your digital advertising experience has probably changed to include ads extolling or condemning certain candidates for office. This phenomenon is known as express advocacy political advertising

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An introduction to complying with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory code for transparency and accountability in political advertising

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has produced recommendations for transparency in digital political advertising, called the Application of the Self-Regulatory Principles of Transparency & Accountability to Political Advertising (Political Ads Principles). These recommendations apply to express advocacy, meaning ads for or against specific candidates for public office (rather than issue ads) on any website or app. 

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