• 17 January 2018

    Following the ongoing conversations ISBA and advertisers have had with Google over the past year, they have today announced new measures to protect brands and ensure their ads run alongside content that ‘reflects their values’.

    The measures, outlined by YouTube’s Paul Muret, include:

    Stricter criteria for monetisation on YouTube

    • The process that determines which channels can run ads on YouTube changes from merely relying on views to include channel size, audience engagement and creator behaviour
    • Starting from today, new channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads
    • The platform has also committed to monitoring signals such as community strikes, spam and other abuse flags

    Manually reviewing Google Preferred

    • Google Preferred aggregates YouTube's top content into easy-to-buy packages for advertisers and will now include the most vetted channels
    • Channels in Google Preferred will now be manually reviewed and ads will only run on videos that have been verified to meet ad-friendly guidelines
    • Manual reviews of Google Preferred channels will be completed by the end of March in the UK

    Greater transparency and simpler controls over where ads appear

    • Plans for more transparent controls include introducing a three-tier suitability system that allows advertisers to reflect their view of ‘appropriate placements for their brand’
    • Google has also begun working to provide third-party safety reporting on YouTube and will be scaling their third-party measurement offering

    View the full update here >

    We have been in regular discussions with Google for some time and it’s clear from these changes that Google is listening to advertisers and ISBA in the UK, especially in increasing the availability of proactively vetted YouTube content for advertising.

    We welcome the raised thresholds and additional checks for monetisation and will continue to work with members and Google to determine if the new policy proves effective.

    In March 2017 Google advised ISBA and its members that they would be working with third party vendors on brand safety, so we look forward to the successful completion of these integrations. In December’s blog, YouTube promised regular transparency reporting on brand safety and we hope to see more detail on this very soon.

    We will continue to update you on all relevant developments as they occur. 

  • 12 January 2018

    Facebook has announced that they are to make significant changes to their news feed, focusing on content allowing more "meaningful social interactions."

    The shift away from branded posts and news stories follows research which indicated that passively reading articles or watching videos may not be good for our well-being.

    The key changes, outlined by CEO Mark Zuckerburg, which advertisers should note include:

    • Users will see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media
    • Where public content is featured, it should encourage meaningful interactions between people
    • For brands, pages should expect reduced engagement / decline in their organic reach, referral traffic, and total video watch time
    • Ad rankings will not be affected by the changes

    While some have called out the updates as a move to 'pre-empt the regulators', many industry commentators have focused on the financial implications, and how it will force brands to 'become better media planners'.

    ISBA will welcome any changes that result in the public feeling less bombarded by poor quality advertising and having to feel less wary about what is being presented in feeds.

    However, more detail is needed and we would strongly urge Facebook to be more open and accountable to advertisers and the public in its assessment of the current position and in its reporting of the impact of any measures it takes.

    View Mark Zuckerberg's blog which outlines the key changes here.


    Press Contact:
    Abi Slater Director of Communications

    T: 020 7291 9020 M: 07917 048835

    ISBA 12 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8LH


    Follow us on Twitter: @isbasays

    About ISBA
    ISBA represents the leading UK advertisers. We champion the needs of marketers through advocacy. We influence necessary change, speaking with one voice to all stakeholders including agencies, regulators, platform owners and government. Our members include the UK’s biggest brands.

    ISBA is the voice of the advertiser in the UK Advertising Association tripartite. They are the advertisers’ representative on CAP and BCAP the UK advertising code body. ISBA represents UK advertisers in the WFA and ISBA's Director General, Phil Smith sits on the Executive Committee and the National Associations Council.


  • 03 January 2018

    I wanted to start the year by reiterating ISBA’s commitment to ensuring that the major platforms step up fully to their responsibilities to society and are held to account to the same standards we would expect of responsible advertisers.
    While we acknowledge the increased efforts by Google to make YouTube a safe platform for its users and suitable for advertisers, we continue to press for a more open and proactive approach to the vetting of content to address the issues identified and concerns raised in the UK.
    The media continue to be able to uncover examples of unacceptable content, it appears with relative ease. Two such stories have run over the Christmas break allowing journalists to continue to assert that major brands are funding the publishers of unacceptable content, albeit inadvertently.
    • Jailed sex pests profit from YouTube ads
    • Call for crackdown after claims YouTube is shop window for child abuse
    Please note these links are behind a paywall.
    Political frustrations are also growing. Government Security Minister Ben Wallace gave an interview calling for the major tech platforms, including Google and Facebook, to face greater taxes to cover the costs of extra surveillance incurred by the security services because of lack of access to encrypted messaging. He made clear Government impatience with the tech industry in key areas: low levels of corporation tax compliance, the hosting of child abuse images and terrorist propaganda and online harassment. He is also concerned about the collateral damage to the media industry and democracy. The original article is behind a paywall but was also covered by the BBC.
    For many advertisers, we recognise that there are huge commercial and competitive pressures to continue to invest. The platforms enjoy unassailable positions in search, social media and user-generated video. For many businesses, these channels are now essential parts of the business system. And audiences continue to migrate online and to mobile. However, advertisers should be concerned that unwelcome attention may turn to them in the near future, as the platforms’ principal source of revenue.
    As the only organisation dedicated to representing advertisers, ISBA has a crucial role in addressing these challenges. We can and do represent our members’ perspective to the platforms and can and do work with Government where we share interests. While we understand, and indeed share Government’s frustration, we do not think that a fiscal response is the right one. Instead, we would like to explore with Government, our members and the platforms a range of statutory and self-regulatory policies, which we believe would be more effective.

    In the meantime, we have recently reissued our Online Brand Safety Guidance which can be found here.

    We have also convened another meeting with Google in February, where they will be presenting their action plan to strengthen content control to our members.

  • 02 January 2018

    CAP/BCAP have today (Tuesday, 02.01) introduced strict new rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s in advertising.

    The rules have come into force following a full public consultation and six month implementation period and also prohibit the sexual portrayal of those who appear to be under 18.  

    The new Codes are as follows:

    New CAP Code rule:
    4.8 Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.

    New BCAP Code rule to replace rule 5.5:
    4.13  Advertisements must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to advertisements whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.

  • 19 December 2017

    The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) is an advisory body consisting of a representative from the data protection authority of each of the EU member states, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. WP29 provides expert advice to member states regarding data protection.  

    WP29 have released draft guidelines on transparency and consent, two key areas of the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    The guidelines, which were published in mid-December, aim to provide further clarity on the core requirements of each area under the GDPR, offering more detailed definitions, plus insights on issues such as the rights of data subjects, exemptions and specific areas of concern.

    Both documents are now available to download and are open for comments until 23 January 2018.

    Guidelines on transparency
    Transparency, under the GDPR, is now a ‘fundamental aspect’ of the EU’s fairness principles and is ‘intrinsically linked to accountability’ under the new regulation.
    In addition to outlining the meaning of transparency, the guidance produced by the WP29 also provides a thorough overview of: 

    • Elements of transparency under the GDPR
    • Information to be provided to the data subject
    • Exercise of data subjects’ rights
    • Exceptions to the obligation to provide information
    • Transparency and data breeches

    The full guidance is available here.

    Guidelines on Consent
    As one of the legal bases to process personal data and one most crucial aspects of the regulation, it’s of paramount importance that companies comply with the new requirements.
    The concept of consent has evolved under the GDPR and the new guidelines focus on the main changes and include practical tips to ensure compliance.

    The key aspects of the guidelines include: 

    • Elements of valid consent
    • Obtaining explicit consent
    • Additional considerations
    • Data subjects’ rights

    The full guide is available here.

    ISBA is currently working with members of our Data Action Group to submit a response to the guidance. Advertisers can submit their own response directly.

    For further details on the GDPR, please contact David Ellison.

  • 13 December 2017

    We are delighted to announce that Carolyn McCall will deliver the keynote address at ISBA's 2018 Annual Conference.

    Recognised as one of Britain's most powerful women, Carolyn built a successful career at the helm of the Guardian, before becoming CEO of the FTSE 100-listed airline easyJet in 2010 and is set to take over as CEO of ITV, another FTSE 100 listed company early next year.

    Carolyn joins a stellar line-up of senior industry figures at next year's Conference, which aims to challenge current thinking on accountability and look at how all parties, from brands and agencies to publishers and platforms, can come together to inspire change.

    Don't miss your opportunity to Carolyn's first industry address as CEO of ITV.

    Find out more about the event and book your place here >

  • 05 December 2017

    Following the recent criticisms regarding how inappropriate content is controlled, monitored and removed from YouTube, CEO Susan Wojcicki released a statement outlining the actions they are taking to minimise the risks associated with appearing on the platform.

    These actions, designed to tackle problematic content and protect advertisers from inappropriate content, include:

    • An increase in the number of people reviewing content and an expansion of expert networks
    • Expanding the application of machine-learning to flag child safety, hate speech and other challenging content
    • Regular reporting of aggregate data on flagging and removals
    • Tightening policies and conducting more manual curation of content fit for advertising
    • Increasing the number of ad reviewers                                                                

    Having met with senior representatives from Google last week and having pushed for more proactive vetting of content, tighter monitoring and tougher action, we are encouraged by these measures and look forward to receiving further detail on the plans outlined.

    ISBA's position on the issue remains clear. While advertisers need to make their own assessments as to whether advertising on a platform carries a significant risk to their brand reputation, we urge Google to take all required steps possible to ensure advertisers have access to content that is stringently vetted, family friendly and can satisfy reach targets.

    We will continue to work with Google on the issue and will update you on any developments in due course.    

    The full statement from YouTube is available here.

  • 30 November 2017

    On Tuesday (28.11), ISBA Director General Phil Smith appeared at a House of Lords Select Committee hearing on communications to discuss the advertising industry.

    Joined by Katharine Newby Grant, Associate Director, Media – Northern Europe at P&G, the meeting was an opportunity to highlight the advertiser’s perspective on the challenges on a range of issues including digital advertising and the impact of Brexit.

    Key Outcomes

    • Influence:
      Having an influence on issues such as data regulations post Brexit was highlighted as a key concern, with Smith urging that the ICO continue to have a seat on the data management board after we leave the EU.
    • Attracting Talent:
      Highlighting the importance of London’s position as a creative/tech hub, both speakers outlined the need to maintain access to the creative talent to ensure the industry remains strong and visible.
    • Challenges in Digital Marketing:
      A number of concerns regarding diminishing trust and a general lack of consumer support for digital advertising were raised throughout the inquiry. The key attraction for digital advertisers is reach; as consumers spend more time online, advertisers naturally follow. While advertising can fund excellent content, the lack of proper regulation and standards in the online world results in content that is often inappropriate and it is up to the advertiser to decide whether a channel is right for them or not.

    Phil also outlined two key areas of ISBA activity:

    • Our push for a much more proactive approach to vetting content before it is deemed suitable for brand advertising and for tighter monitoring and tougher action on inappropriate user comments. 
    • Standards: as a founding member of JICWEBS, we will continue to work towards an industry standard and third-party verification as standard.

    The full session is available to watch on Parliament's website.

  • 24 November 2017

    Today (Friday, 24.11.2017), The Times has published yet another article relating to videos on YouTube promoting inappropriate, extremist or offensive behaviour.

    Following the take down of the Toy Freaks and Family Freaks channels earlier this week, the article published this morning makes reference to a number of YouTube videos of young children which have attracted comments from 'hundreds of paedophiles'.

    The videos, many of which were uploaded by the children themselves, featured advertising from a number of advertisers, including ISBA members. Many ISBA advertisers have now withdrawn from the channel. By their own admission, YouTube's control and monitoring procedures are inadequate.

    We met with Google on Wednesday so they could respond to the concerns we and our members have. They have agreed to meet with a group of our members as early as next week to address the concerns. ISBA is pushing for much more proactive and positive vetting of content before it is deemed suitable for brand advertising and for tighter monitoring and tougher action on inappropriate user comments.

    Details of the meeting with Google are being confirmed.

    In the meantime, Google have assured us they are working on a number of initiatives to improve content control. Just yesterday, YouTube launched a series of new measures to help protect families and children on the platform. These include: 

    • Tougher application of our Community Guidelines and faster enforcement through technology
    • Removing ads from inappropriate videos targeting families
    • Blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors
    • Providing guidance for creators who make family-friendly content
    • Engaging and learning from experts

    An in-depth overview of the new policies can be found here.

    In addition, we have reissued our Online Brand Safety Guidance.

    If you have any further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • 23 November 2017

    CAP has today announced significant changes to how broadband speed claims can be advertised.

    The changes, which relate to numerical speed claims in broadband ads, now state that any claims 'should be based on the download speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time'.

    The changes follow a full public consultation and will come into effect from 23 May 2018, replacing current rules allowing advertisements with “up to” speed claims available to at least 10% of customers.

    CAP has issued guidance on the key changes to the regulation, which also covers non-numerical speed claims, comparisons and upload speed claims.

    The guidance is available to download here.

    The changes are also supported by research from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that found 'consumers are likely to be misled by speed claims' under the current rules.

    Respondents to the consultation unanimously supported change, with most arguing for median speeds measured at peak time, to be described as “average” or similar in ads, as the recommended basis for speed claims. Most respondents also favoured a single figure over a range and a peak-time measure over a 24-hour measure.

    CAP considers that median peak-time download speed is the most meaningful speed measure to customers because:

    • Consumers may interpret a range as the speed they are likely to get individually, as opposed to the range that consumers generally are likely to get, and a range does not tell consumers where in the range they fall, if at all. A median speed, described as “average”, is easily understood and allows for consumers to make comparisons between different ads that they see. 
    • As peak time is when traffic volumes are highest and traffic management policies are most likely to apply, a peak-time measure provides a better indication of the actual speeds consumers are likely to experience. CAP considers that a 24-hour measurement has the potential to mislead consumers by not providing an indication of the speed they are likely to receive at the time when people use the internet the most. 

    The full statement from ASA is available here.