Research has found that there are far more upheld complaints about UK online advertising than there are for more traditional advertising media like television, magazines and newspapers.
The figures are a reminder of both the scale and power of internet advertising, and that companies still need to remember advertising standards when promoting on their own websites and social media channels.
According to online printing company Solopress, the last five years have seen the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) uphold 3,816 complaints concerning ads on brands’ own websites, accounting for almost half (48%) of the total within this time. Additionally, the second most common medium for upheld complaints is social media, with 817, followed by internet sales promotions (546) and email (513), showing that the main focus of the almost 60-year-old ASA has certainly shifted to online.
Brits of a certain age might associate complaining about adverts with the campaigns of Mary Whitehouse and her socially conservative National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, but comparatively, few of the upheld complaints had anything to do with offensive material. By contrast, 91% of the ASA’s rulings were related to ads being misleading.
The sector most likely to fall foul of advertising standards was holidays, travel and motoring, which had a total of 633 upheld complaints, split into 94 formal rulings and 539 informal resolutions. Other frequently offending industries included sports, leisure and hobbies; promotions and competitions; home and garden; and health conditions.
Overall, most of the upheld complaints were resolved informally, meaning that the companies agreed to remove or stop running the adverts without a formal investigation taking place, but either way, being forced to scrap ads that have been created is a waste of time, money and resources. What’s more, gaining a reputation for misleading advertising can only harm the customer perceptions and trust levels of a brand.
It’s important to remember that the internet is not unregulated, and that whatever the medium, your ads should be truthful. For assistance with Facebook Ads, web copy and other online marketing, get in touch with us at Engage Web.