The Digital Advertising Alliance, an independent non-profit organization led by advertising and marketing trade associations, has issued a new series of rules intended to ensure a greater level of transparency in digital political ads.
The rules include a special icon used to identify digital political ads, and also require a link to the advertiser’s name and contact information, as well as to a government database containing the advertiser’s contribution or expenditure records. The “PoliticalAd” icon is similar in size and appearance to the “AdChoices” logo that is currently used to give consumers information about other advertisers.
According to DAA executive director Lou Mastria, the purpose of the rules is “to make sure that consumers understand who is bringing an ad to them.” The organization will encourage compliance with the rules through the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Data & Marketing Association, both of which are DAA founding members.
The new rules come as the debate over political ads is picking up steam in Washington. The Federal Election Commission is looking into new regulations requiring disclaimers identifying the sponsors of digital ads. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced the Honest Ads Act, which would expand the rules currently in place for TV and radio ads to digital advertising.
DAA member Facebook, one of the main forums for digital political ads, says that its plans to disclose additional information will encompass ad spending on such topics as immigration, terrorism and poverty.
Other members of the DAA include the Association of National Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the American Advertising Federation.