ISBA welcome today’s report by the House of Lords Communications Committee. In particular, we are pleased that the key points we raised with Committee Members when ISBA’s Director General, Phil Smith gave evidence have been acknowledged.

Whilst the Committee has recognised that for ISBA and our members, digital advertising brings many benefits, they also recognise that critical issues remain and which need addressing.

Brand safety is a major concern for our members and we support any action which improves the environment where our members can advertise. Since appearing at the committee we have seen improvements. Google addressed some of our concerns in January this year when they announced stricter controls on monetisation on the YouTube platform and manual vetting of content on Google Preferred. Google YouTube has also been accredited to the cross-industry DTSG principles marking a significant step in helping to improve online brand safety and transparency. That said, there is more to be done. We are still seeing examples of brands appearing next to inappropriate content and we will continue to push for improvements.

Clear labelling of online advertising is also something ISBA has been championing. Consumers have to be clear about whether the content they are viewing has been paid for and is in fact advertising. In response to a need for guidance, ISBA published our Social Influencer Framework, designed to provide clear advice on how to work with influencers, understand their obligations and to adhere to regulations.

Finally, ISBA firmly support the call for further self-regulation particular around content. We would like to see the platforms come together as an industry to introduce an independent self-regulatory system. As the report acknowledges the principal of self-regulation is proven.


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Written 11th April 2018
By Abi Slater