A major overhaul of advertising regulations could make it easier for publishers to offer more online ads on their websites.
Key points:The industry body, the Digital Advertising Alliance, says a “compelling reason” exists to do soOnline advertising is a major contributor to UK gross domestic product, a key indicator of the economyThe new policy, known as the Digital Single Market and Industry Code, would apply to websites and apps, and would come into effect in March 2020The code would also affect mobile apps and content, with a requirement to “bring the best online experience for users” and “improve user experience across digital content”.
But it has been criticised for being vague about what it means for the online ad market.
Online advertising, or adverts, is a key contributor to the UK’s economy, which is estimated to be worth £4.4bn a year to publishers.
Digital Advertising Alliance chief executive Ian Halsall said: “The Digital Single Markets (DSM) is a vital piece of the UK digital economy, but the digital industry’s role in the economy is constantly changing and changing.”
This new code sets out clear guidance on what we need to do to make sure that we continue to deliver the best digital experiences for users, advertisers and businesses.
“The code also includes a commitment to “make sure that online advertising is the cornerstone of a thriving digital economy” which it hopes will “help to create an open and transparent marketplace where brands can advertise and offer services that are relevant to their businesses”.
But the digital economy is changing rapidly.
In the first half of 2020, digital advertising revenue fell to £5.2bn from £6.4b a year earlier, according to data from Comscore.
The data was compiled by Nielsen.
According to its data, UK advertising revenue grew by 9% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
In terms of digital ad revenue, the number of ads posted per day was up from 9.1m in the same quarter last year to 9.6m.
The Digital Advertising Association said it is concerned about the code and wants to hear from consumers and advertisers.
Mr Halsasall said the industry has a “powerful opportunity to build on our strong lead in online advertising”, and has “the potential to create a thriving marketplace”.”
We want to hear what consumers think about this code and how they see it working,” he said.”
We’ll be listening to our members to help us understand what consumers want and what the challenges they face, so we can get the best solution for them.”‘
Too vague’Digital advertising has been controversial in the UK for some time.
Digital Single Market Commissioner Rob Henshaw said the code is too vague and too open-ended, while Mr Halson said there was no specific reference to mobile apps.”
The code says it’s OK for us to make the best possible use of the internet for the advertising industry, but it’s not clear how that will be defined,” he told the BBC.”
I’m not sure that that’s an accurate definition of what a mobile app is.
“The Digital Advertisers Association also said the language used to define what constitutes a mobile ad appeared to be “too vague”.”
The Digital Marketers Code is a very strong code, but there is not a single single clear definition of the ad network that can be used by a mobile advertiser to show an online ad,” a spokesman said.”[It] should be clear that an online advertising network is a network that includes all the elements of an advertising platform that make up the website.
“While it’s certainly possible to create ads that appear on the mobile phone’s screen, that’s not what’s supposed to happen.”‘
Worst possible outcome’The code is a significant change to the current rules for how online advertising works in the United Kingdom, but Mr Hensaw said it could have “devastating consequences for businesses that are trying to create or maintain digital advertising businesses”.
“There are huge opportunities for the UK to build a strong digital economy and the Digital Markets Code is yet another example of how a weak digital economy could have disastrous consequences for the digital ad market,” he added.
“In some cases, businesses will not be able to access the online advertising market for years.”‘
No doubt’Online advertising has long been a thorny issue for the industry.
The UK is the second-biggest advertiser on the internet behind only China, according the British Advertising Federation.
In February 2020, UK internet traffic reached the highest level ever recorded, overtaking the US and US-based giants Google and Facebook, which had both previously been surpassed.