Ad Alliance Boosting Disclosures for Online Political Ads

The Digital Advertising Alliance has launched a new campaign, PoliticalAd, that will strongly encourage disclosure of political advertisements—and shame advertisers that don’t follow along. The model echoes the group’s existing YourAdChoices program.

The risks of undisclosed or poorly labeled political ads in the digital era have increasingly become hard to ignore—see the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Certainly, Facebook has tried to do a lot of work on the trust front in recent weeks, but the digital advertising industry isn’t letting the issue go either.

That’s reflected in a new effort by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to make things a little more transparent. On Tuesday, the group announced its new PoliticalAd initiative, which will improve the labeling and transparency on political ads, while boosting guidance for those who use adtech to push political messages.

The model is similar to the existing “YourAdChoices” program—if you see an ad online, there will be a little button in the corner a user can tap or click on to learn more about who paid for the ad, their contact information, their spending records, and other similar disclosures that are specific to political advertising.

While the disclosures will be voluntary, DAA will lean on the Advertising Self Regulatory Council and the Data & Marketing Association, among other groups, to promote compliance with the program. Those that don’t follow the guidelines could face a public shaming.

In comments on the new initiative to the Wall Street Journal [registration], DAA Executive Director Lou Mastria emphasized that the industry was working to raise its standards, much like advertisers have called on companies like YouTube to do.

“The more that we can give consumers transparency, the better that ecosystem is for all the brands that use advertising,” Mastria said to the newspaper.

The program could face some challenges—not the least of which is awareness. According to Bloomberg, the long-running YourAdChoices program was known by just 42 percent of consumers, according to a 2016 study done by the industry, though DAA said that number was now above 60 percent.

Meanwhile, the Federal Election Commission is considering its own regulations on online political advertising that could throw a wrench into the model. The moves were announced in the midst of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

(adamkaz/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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