Media chatter suggests that the Federal Trade Commission has turned its gaze towards “native ads” – a.k.a., sponsored content. At an industry conference, FTC director Mary Engle explained the agency’s core apprehension regarding native advertising. She explained:
“For us [the FTC], the concern is whether consumers recognize what they’re seeing is advertising or not.”
Is It Enough To Use A “Sponsored” Label?
A lot of websites demarcate promotional sections with a “Sponsored Stories” headline. Does that satisfy FTC guidelines? Not anymore.
Some marketers label native advertising in fine print. Think: sponsored (don’t worry, you’re not the only one who can’t read it). At the event, FTC’s Engle reminded attendees that the commission had won cases, against brands and marketers, in which the word “advertorial” was so small the average person didn’t notice it.
If It Misleads, Your Business May Bleed
A journalism axiom instructs: “If it bleeds, it leads!” In other words, gory stories get front-page coverage. Call it “rubbernecking syndrome.” As a variation on the theme, native advertisers should remember: “If it misleads, a business may bleed!”
And remember: Advertisers, designers, and even marketers can all be held responsible in a “native advertising” sting.
Native Advertising and Marketing Audits: A Business’ Best Friend
U.S. brands courting overseas customers must adhere to both domestic and foreign advertising laws.
Are you positive you understand – and follow – every state, federal, and international marking law, regulation and guideline? Ask yourself:
- Do you know how EU and UK privacy laws affect digital marketing campaigns?
- How about California’s strict online privacy statutes?
- Do you allow people in the UK to purchase your product? If yes, are you up-to-date on the latest European Union disclosure requirements?
- Do you fully understand the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and how it affects marketing efforts?
- What about Section 5 of the FTC Act and the Dot Com Disclosures?
A marketing legal review may cost a couple of hundred dollars; a censure from the Federal Trade Commission could set you back millions.