About us

Who we are and how we work

About ISBA

ISBA is the only body in the UK that enables advertisers to understand their industry and shape its future because it brings together a powerful community of marketers with common interests, empowers decision-making with knowledge and insight and gives 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 our members in creating an advertising environment that delivers positive social and economic impact
  • Empower media, agency and digital supply chain relationships that deliver value for advertisers
  • Deliver thought leadership, learning, advice and guidance, working with our community of members and with partners

Our Big Audacious Goal

  • Pilot a world-first global prototype for cross-media measurement in 2021, driven by advertiser demand. Secure industry commitment to roll-out in 2022

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

ISBA Annual Conference 2020

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.

Facebook and ISBA

Social responsibility

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

Responsible Advertising

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

https://www.consciousadnetwork.com/

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.

http://mediasmart.uk.com/

Our environment

We support Ad Green and Ad Net Zero two major industry wide initiatives to encourage, champion and educate advertisers and agencies on sustainable advertising best practice.

https://www.weareadgreen.org/

https://www.adassoc.org.uk/ad-net-zero/

We work to minimise our own impact on the environment.

Diversity and Inclusion

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.

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

1900

The APS is formally established

1920

The APS, became the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers

1931

ISBA founded the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)

1966

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.

2002

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

2003

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

2018

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

2020

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

ISBA lunch