Digital Advertising Accountability Program
Political Advertising Transparency Project Blog
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.
Advertisers are expected to include both “enhanced notice” and “notice” when serving online political ads. Let’s look at each of those in more detail.
First, the ad itself should feature an icon or term indicating it is a political ad, either inside the image/video or within three pixels of its border. This can be the DAA’s purple political ads icon () or a term like “Political Ad.” The Political Ads Principles refer to this as an “Enhanced Political Advertisement Notice.”
Second, the icon or term should enable one to navigate to a detailed disclosure. This can take the form of a hyperlink to a webpage or window, a text box that is revealed when a user’s cursor hovers over the icon/term, or something equally easy to find. The Political Ads Principles refer to this disclosure as a “Political Advertisement Notice.”
The Political Ads Principles list types of advertiser information that should be provided, including:
- the advertiser’s name
- the name of a chief executive officer, member of the executive committee or board of directors, or treasurer of the advertiser
- the advertiser’s contact information, such as an email address
- a link to a relevant public (e.g., FEC) or DAA database of political expenditures
- any other information required by state or federal law
Advertisers should ensure that any advertising or ad tech company hired to design and deliver political ads can implement these recommendations. Recommendations for technical specifications can be found here.
The Digital Advertising Accountability Program, a part of BBB National Programs, independently enforces the Political Ads Principles. When we find ads that do not conform to the Political Ads Principles, we reach out to the advertiser to recommend changes in their political advertising practices. Our enforcement activities are reported publicly.