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US ad industry announces new transparency requirements for political ads

Tim Maytom

US trade body the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has announced an industry-wide initiative aimed at increasing transparency and accountability when it comes to digital political ads, with new guidance for political advertisers and a special icon which will link to additional information on such ads.

The DAA is hoping to build on the success of its existing YourAdChoices program with the new initative, which will be independently enforced by the Advertising Self Regulatory Council (ASRC) and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA).

"Since its creation, the DAA has quickly adapted its framework to address new technologies and emerging issues ranging from multi-site data to cross-device identification and the mobile environment," said Lou Mastria, executive director of the DAA. "Over the last several months, the DAA has facilitated an industry dialogue on the best ways to increase transparency around digital political advertising, and we were able to reach consensus on this common-sense approach built on accepted standards and proven tools. The PoliticalAd icon will give voters instant, easy access to information about the digital political ads they see, directly from the ads themselves."

The PoliticalAd icon will form the centre of the organisation's efforts, serving as an immediate, straight-forward tool for people to get additional information on political ads. Clicking on the icon within an ad will lead to details including the political advertiser's name, contact information, contribution or expenditure records (where applicable) and other required disclosures.

"Throughout my 11-year tenure, the IAB has always stood for greater transparency and disclosure in the digital advertising supply chain," said Randall Rotherberg, CEO of the IAB, commenting on the news. "The problem of undisclosed foreign influence in our election demonstrates acutely the need for greater transparency and disclosure in political advertising, and much as they did for interest-based advertising, the DAA is once again taking the lead nad moving the industry to higher ground."

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