The industry has been publicly wrestling with the significant challenges of consumer and business trust in digital advertising.
Not one – but two – Parliamentary Committees are currently scrutinising various issues, with the House of Commons DCMS Select Committee looking more widely at fake news and its effect on political processes, and the House of Lords Communications Committee is considering the wider impact of digital disruption, and the questions this raises for the future of quality journalism.
The Government is also concerned. Following the General Election in June, it announced a major new initiative – the Digital Charter – which sets out the Government’s ambition to make the UK the best and safest place for tech businesses and for online advertising. The then Digital Minister, Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP, came to AA Council on 3 July to talk about the umbrella of Government initiatives.
Responding to the debates, the Advertising Association set up a working group led by Jon Mew, Chief Executive of IAB, to discuss the issues. The group, comprising ISBA, the IPA, the NMA, Facebook, Google, Sky, RhythmOne and CAP/BCAP, developed policy proposals asking the Government to engage on four fronts:
On Ad fraud: we proposed the Government support the continued development of industry solutions to tackle ad fraud, to help address the scale of it in the UK, and to allocate police resource to deal with criminal activity through the National Cyber Crime Unit.
On Ad misplacement: we proposed the Government support self-regulatory solutions, for example through the Brand Safety Principles published by the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG), and encourage other countries to strengthen measures to address ad misplacement.
On Ad blocking: we proposed the UK should maintain equivalence with ‘net neutrality’ rules, support publisher efforts to clarify legal avenues to challenge the lawfulness of disrupting legitimate business models through non-user-led ad blocking mechanisms, and support the industry’s Coalition for Better Ads.
On data privacy: we proposed six actions including greater clarity on consent, and prioritising the UK-EU and UKUS data sharing agreements as part of Brexit negotiations.