ASA publishes final report following Intermediary & Platform Principles Pilot

Posted on Thursday 05 October 2023 | IAB UK

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published a final report on the Intermediary and Platform Principles (IPP) Pilot, which ran between June 2022 - June 2023

What is the Intermediary & Platform Principles Pilot?

The year-long Pilot was launched by the ASA, in collaboration with IAB UK members, to help explore whether and how the UK advertising self-regulatory system might evolve to bring greater transparency and broader accountability to its work online. The initiative is a global first and involved some of the largest companies in the digital advertising supply chain – Adform, Amazon Ads, Google, Index Exchange, Magnite, Meta, Snap Inc., TikTok, Yahoo For Business, and X (formerly Twitter). 

Through the Pilot, participating companies voluntarily agreed to uphold six key Principles and to work closely with the ASA to help uphold the UK Non-broadcast Advertising Code. The Pilot also sought to develop and strengthen new working relationships between the ASA and platforms and intermediary companies.

What does the ASA’s final report on the IPP Pilot say? 

The ASA’s final report provides a final, independent and aggregated assessment of the extent to which it considers the participating companies to have delivered against the Principles. With its release, the ASA states: “Our findings demonstrate that, without question, during the Pilot the 10 participating companies implemented the Principles that were applicable to the services they offer.  By doing so, they demonstrably supported the ASA to raise awareness of the advertising rules and, as relevant, to remove ads online that were persistently non-compliant.”

The final report sets out the steps the companies took to adhere to and implement the Principles. It also provides an assessment of those measures, as well as examples of good practice. As the Pilot participants have all committed to upholding and supporting the Principles - at least until the evaluation of the Pilot concludes - the report also identifies areas where participants can consider developing their approach to implementation.

What happens next? 

The report and other relevant information gathered through the Pilot will now be collectively reviewed by the ASA, the industry and other stakeholders. This is with a view to evaluating whether and where gaps exist in the ASA’s ability to secure advertisers’ compliance with the CAP Code online, and how any gaps can effectively be addressed by working with the participating companies and other online intermediary businesses.

It’s also significant and welcome that the Government has recognised the success and potential of the IPP pilot. In its response to the Online Advertising Programme consultation earlier this year, Government said: “The ASA’s IPP pilot marks a significant positive development for the advertising industry. It is a hopeful step forward to see some of the largest firms in the online advertising supply chain participating in a pilot with the self-regulator to explore how better outcomes can be achieved in online advertising.”

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