About us

Who we are and how we work

About ISBA

ISBA is the only body that represents brand owners advertising in the UK. We empower them to understand the industry and shape its future because we bring together a powerful community of marketers with common interests; lead decision-making with knowledge and insight; and give a single voice to advocacy for the improvement of the industry.

Our purpose and principles

To create an advertising environment that is transparent, responsible and accountable; one that can be trusted by the public, by advertisers and by legislators.

ISBA will:

  • Lead the industry in creating an inclusive and sustainable advertising environment that delivers positive societal and economic impact,
  • Empower media, agency and digital supply chain relationships that deliver value for advertisers transparently and sustainably.
  • Deliver thought leadership and actionable learning, advice and guidance, working with our community of members and with partners

View our 2022 Priorities here.

Our Big Audacious Goal

  • Conduct an Early Systems and Panel Integration Test of Origin cross-media measurement in 2022, in advance of Alpha Trial in early 2023. Secure industry commitment to establish a commercial venture, with a service launch in 2024.

If you'd like to know more about Origin, our cross-media measurement project, head to the website here.

ISBA Annual Conference 2020

Our role in the industry

ISBA is a member of the Advertising Association and represents advertisers on the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, sister organisations of the Advertising Standards Association, which are responsible for writing the Advertising Codes. We are also members of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). We can use our leadership role in such bodies to set and promote high industry standards as well as a robust self-regulatory regime. 

ISBA members also have access to the WFA's programme of webinars, to access this benefit, please contact membership@isba.org.uk

See an infographic on how ISBA operates in the industry landscape here.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)

Much of the WFA agenda is dependent on the involvement of key national associations such as ISBA and ANA.  Such associations inform WFA policy and drive principles into in-market action for their individual territories.  Being a member of ISBA enables UK brands to feed into global principles and initiatives. 

UK specific examples of how the UK are leading on global initiatives include:

•    Origin: UK global prototype, informed WFA framework, co-chairs global components steering with ANA 
•    GARM: ISBA sits on SteerCo because of extensive online harms advocacy and regulatory experience 
•    2021 Media Services Framework: practical multi-market tools 
•    Programmatic Supply Chain Study (and support of ANA RfP): granular examination of in-market supply chain, with advertiser benchmarking and recommendations 
•    Diversity: UK piloted Census 
•    Climate: UK led and informed WFA programme 

Advocacy and representation

We have been leading progress in a number of vital areas for advertisers, including:

  • Advancing a global first for accountable digital and cross-media measurement, in which advertisers, agencies, platforms and media owners are all taking an active stake;
  • Leading the reform of the programmatic supply chain, on the back of our ground-breaking study with PwC, which examined the spending of 15 major advertisers with 12 premium publishers;
  • Working with the World Federation of Advertisers and the Global Alliance for Responsible Media to create a sustainable and responsible digital media environment;
  • Responding to the pandemic in 2020 on multiple fronts: working with broadcasters to create greater flexibility in trading; preventing government intervention in the use of keyword blocking; and developing provisions in industry production contracts to re-start advertising production;
  • Shaping the industry response to the government's proposed advertising restrictions for products high in fat, sugar or salt.

Each of these is of critical importance to our members in growing their businesses and their brands.

In addition, we continue to engage with regulators and legislators on  every subject that touches advertisers and marketers. From tackling online harms to embedding digital literacy, from promoting evidence-led policy solutions to addressing the issue of trust in our industry, we speak to policymakers with one voice on behalf of our members.

For more information, see the Public Affairs section in our Knowledge Hub. 

Social responsibility

Accountability is a key principle for ISBA, within our industry and in its impact on our society. Here, our positive contribution includes:


As well as internal policies on ensuring we consider diversity in all recruitment decision-making, we are also actively involved in ensuring advertising is representative of a diverse society through our Diversity and Inclusion Network, our membership of the Unstereotype Alliance and our cross-industry collaboration with other trade bodies led by the Advertising Association.

Finally, we are accredited by the Living Wage which means we go beyond the government minimum wage and ensure that their employees earn a wage that meets the costs of living.


Ad Net Zero is UK advertising’s initiative to help our industry respond to climate change. Headed by ISBA, the Advertising Association, and the IPA, our ambition is to set out industry on a clear path to delivering real net zero by 2030 – with immediate actions to measure, track and reduce the carbon impact of the way our industry operates. 

We are founding members and on the Advisory Board of AdGreen, which seeks to unite the industry behind the goal of eliminating the negative environmental impacts of production. The AdGreen Levy is a small percentage charge on production costs which is helping to fund free tools and resources for your business. Take a look back at the webinar for ISBA members which details everything you need to know.

Young People

We are supporters of Media Smart, a not-for-profit company that creates free educational materials for schools and youth organisations, for teachers, parents and guardians, to help young people think critically about the advertising they come across in their daily lives.


Responsible Advertising

Advertising affects society in several ways.

We are members of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). Being part of GARM means ISBA can learn from global experience and play a part in solutions. In turn, we aim better to educate our members to make more informed media choices for their brands.

We are supporters of the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) who work to ensure that advertisers consider the ethics and social impact of their activity.




Our history

ISBA has been working for advertisers since 1891, when seven advertisers protesting dubious newspaper circulation figures got together. They needed to know how effective their advertising was and how many people were actually seeing the ads they paid for. The call was for "net sales" not pulp circulation.

The Advertisers’ Protection Society (APS), the original name of ISBA, was formally established in 1900, which makes ISBA the oldest advertiser organisation in the world.

The APS took it upon itself to work out the number of newspapers being sold and was subsequently taken to court, charged with libel. It won its case, setting the industry on the road to audited media measurement.

Key Dates


The APS is formally established


The APS, became the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers


ISBA founded the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)


Together with the other bodies that made up the Advertising Association, ISBA helped form the Advertising Standards Authority to make self-regulation of the industry a reality.


ISBA were instrumental in encouraging the Government to extend the self-regulatory system to the broadcast arena.


ISBA is fundamental in introducing Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) to stop ITV abusing its dominant position with advertisers.


ISBA launched version two of the Media Services Framework which was updated after consultation with members and importantly the agencies.


The advertiser-funded ISBA Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study is launched, becoming the first study of its kind in the world.

ISBA lunch