Modern Marketing Brand Safety Adtech

ASA pilot to bring greater transparency and accountability to online advertising


By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

March 24, 2022 | 4 min read

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), along with some of the largest companies in the digital advertising supply chain, have developed of an initiative that will extend the ad watchdog’s role online.

The ‘Intermediary and Platform Principles’ pilot aims to formalize and bring more accountability and transparency to the role that companies play in upholding the UK’s advertising regulation system.

The initiative is the result of collaboration between the ASA – the UK’s independent advertising regulator – and members of IAB UK, including Adform, Amazon Ads, Google, Index Exchange, Meta, TikTok, Twitter and Yahoo.

Digital safety

The ASA says the initiative will help uphold standards online and achieve better outcomes for the public

It will pilot a set of principles covering how companies raise advertisers’ awareness of the rules that apply to their ads online and help the ASA ensure compliance in cases when an advertiser appears unwilling or is unable to comply with the rules. The pilot will run for one year from June 2022.

Commenting on the initiative, Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, says: “The role that leading digital companies play to uphold advertising standards online and help deliver better outcomes for the public is not well-known or understood. This pilot brings more accountability and transparency to this area of our work and serves as an important contribution to future policy thinking in this area”.

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In aid of the cause, the participating companies – which include online, demand-side and supply-side platforms – have all voluntarily agreed to provide information to the ASA to demonstrate how they operate in accordance with the pilot’s principles.

The ASA will then use this information, and other intelligence collected throughout the reporting period, to publish an aggregated interim report and a final report, providing an independent account of how companies have performed against the principles.

The information gathered as part of the pilot will also provide valuable evidence to help the ASA, the industry and other stakeholders to collectively consider whether and where gaps exist in the ASA’s ability to enforce the CAP Code online, and how this can effectively be addressed.

Jon Mew, chief executive of IAB UK, adds: “Creating more transparency and accountability within digital advertising is in all of our best interests and it’s really positive to see our members proactively volunteering to be part of the pilot and demonstrate their commitment to the regulatory system. It’s no secret that the most effective regulatory measures are developed with the co-operation and input of the industry, and based on robust evidence, and we believe that this pilot will set an example of how that can best be achieved.”

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