IAB UK’s vision for digital advertising regulation: the detail

Posted on Monday 24 July 2023 | IAB UK

Effective regulation is based on equipping businesses across the digital advertising supply chain with the right standards and tools for them to identify responsible partners and uphold best practice


Our vision for effective regulation is that the right standards and tools are in place - with buy-in across the digital advertising supply chain - so that businesses can identify responsible partners and uphold best practices. The IAB Gold Standard sits at the heart of this framework of industry-led regulation. 

We also acknowledge that this approach needs to be balanced with effective enforcement of existing laws to tackle criminal actors who, by their very nature, operate outside of shared standards.

What does this mean? 

Essentially, we believe that: 

  • Industry-led technical standards and tools are the most effective type of regulation for digital advertising, e.g. those in the Gold Standard
  • The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the right body to regulate advertisers, advertising content and where ads are targeted
  • An effective regulatory framework needs to be based on a range of different tools and approaches suited to individual harms. These need to work together coherently, but do not need to be identical. For example: 
  • The ASA: Addresses potential consumer harms from content and placement of ads by legitimate advertisers 
  • Industry-led codes & standards​: Address potential consumer and business​ harms associated with buying and selling advertising and advertising space
  • Statutory regulation & law enforcement: Law enforcement is needed to target action against bad actors at the source of illegal harms, alongside industry measures to prevent, detect and disrupt their activity
  • This framework needs buy-in from all relevant parts of the supply chain so that businesses can identify responsible partners and uphold best practices
  • The Government can support industry by endorsing industry standards, complementing industry efforts, and by focusing on effective enforcement of existing laws against criminal actors (e.g. the people behind scam ads) who, by their very nature, operate outside of shared standards)
  • Any future government-led (statutory) regulation should be focused on specific harms, designed to address gaps, and developed based on robust evidence and through working with industry

Find out more about our Policy priorities here

Written by

IAB UK

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