Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Rules for Online Advertisers: PPC & SEO implications

The Online Advertising business will soon slip under a common umbrella of valid regulations for all parties involved: as of 1 March 2011 the online ads will become subject to the same strict advertising rules as traditional media!

The Advertising Standards Authority will be getting enough online power to be able to ban marketing statements on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Moreover,the new rules will apply to adverts and any statement on a commercially-lead website that is intended to sell products or services.

First let's analyze the implications for PPC/SEO marketers:

1. The ASA will be given new sanctions against online ads found to be in breach of its regulations,

2. It will also handle the removal of paid-for search advertising and the right to place its own advertisements highlighting an advertiser's non-compliance. (It could seem pretty harsh and at the same time may potentially raise awareness over online advertising malpractices and thus, may question respective brand's reliability...what do you think?)

3. Although the rules only apply to content that is not editorial or journalistic in nature, - that leaves some confusion for SEO companies:

It becomes obvious from ASA's statement that paid search will be part of the ASA’s remit. What stays unclear is whether the ASA will punish the paid search company or the company being advertised? also, will that imply potentially increased costs for PPC service providers?

4. From an SEO perspective, blog writing doesn’t seem to fall under the new regulations as that’s “editorial” in nature. However, many businesses are covering "corporate blogging" writing about company's products/services – these may be interpreted as commercial in nature and thus - restricted,too?

5. Social Media will fall under ASA's coverage,too - which promissed to remove pieces of advertising or marketing from Facebook and Twitter. The question is: how will ASA decide which piece is advertising and which one is marketing? I guess a set of criteria made public would do the deal, otherwise - it will stir enough confusion..

Finally, some Take-Away Stats:

1. Out of 35 million UK daily online users just 3,500 made official complaints to the ASA, which comprises just 0.01% of all users;

2.75% of the complaints received by the ASA are about misleading content;

Your thoughts are welcome,
Always positive,

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Anonymous said...

Hi Nadya,

Further to your post, I'd share the NYT view on it as we see it in US:

"The British regulator was not the first to do this. The standards police in more than a dozen other European countries had already extended their monitoring to cover new kinds of marketing, after pressure from the European Commission in Brussels. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission recently published guidelines for marketing via social media and blogs.

But the British approach is interesting because it includes particularly tough sanctions for violators and because it is being underwritten by a major online player, Google.

Under the system, set to take effect in March, the Advertising Standards Authority will study consumers’ complaints about the content of corporate Web sites, social networks and mobile applications, as it now does for traditional advertising. Offenders will be asked to remove misleading or inappropriate claims.

Those who refuse will be referred to Google, which has agreed to block paid search advertisements to these marketers’ Web sites — an enforcement mechanism that the standards authority and Google say is the first of its kind. Furthermore, Google has agreed to post warnings from the standards authority alongside search links to violators’ Web sites."

as it looks like - Google will gladly partner with ASA on this and even block suspicious PPC ads..

Oh, btw, the link is here -

Ann Bradshow, Utah

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