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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

November 11, 2011 | 2 min read

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released guidelines into the payment of content within a social media environment.

The document, developed by the IAB’s social media council and supported by ISBA, the voice of British advertisers, in consultation with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) Secretariat, aims to help brand owners and marketing practitioners comply with consumer protection law.

Robin Grant, managing director at We Are Social and member of the IAB’s social media council, said: “Despite legislation coming into force over three years ago, there are still brands unknowingly putting themselves at risk. The IAB’s Social Media Council felt it was time to step-up and develop clear guidelines, along with practical examples, that help brands comply.”

It features six social media scenarios to demonstrate how it may work: video placement, blogs, video blogs, Twitter, forums and Facebook. A ‘Q and A’ document was also released, to offer additional information and clarity.

Nick Stringer, director of regulatory affairs at the IAB, said: “Transparency is key to ensuring that consumers are aware of marketing communications within social media. The IAB - ISBA guidelines offer brand owners and marketing practitioners ways to do this when paying to promote a product within editorial. We hope that, in following our good practice approach, it will help uphold the integrity of social media.”

Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at ISBA, said: “Advertisers welcome this timely and clear guidance on social media. ISBA has worked closely with the IAB to produce practical guidelines. This is a good example of advertising self-regulation delivering consumer transparency and advertiser funding of social media.”

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