Is Your Website Compliant?

From 1st March marketing communications on websites will be covered by the ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority will soon be covering marketing communications on your company’s website and other non-paid-for space under your control. It will cover all organisations operating fromĀ  the UK.

Basically it will bring online marketing in line with the high standards that have to be adhered to in other media.

The areas it will cover are:

  • Your company’s own marketing messages on its websites, regardless of sector, type of business or size of organisation
  • Your company’s marketing communications in other non-paid-for space which is under your control. This includes social networking sites line Facebook and Twitter

So what does that mean?

Basically the ASA is looking to maintain and improve the standard of digital marketing communications and build consumer trust. All marketing should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.

So if your website promises a guarantee claim of delivery of goods within 2 working day, you must do that. If you offer a product at a specific price, that’s what you must charge. Similarly if you are offering a service, your claims must be genuine and truthful, we all remember the exaggerated broadband speed claims of recent months.

Probably the most difficult part of the remit to understand is that relating to social networking sites. In a nut shell, any claims published by companies on their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts must be adhered to as they will come within the realms of the ASA ruling.

Of course, one of the main aspects of social networking is encouraging user generated content – things like comments and tweets. If these are generated by the public they won’t fall within the new guidelines but if they are adopted by a company and incorporated within their own marketing campaigns, they will. For example if you use photos of customers enjoying your product, they will fall within the remit of the ASA. If you, as a company, re-tweet a comment by a follower on Twitter (e.g. regarding the availabilty of a certain item in store that day), it will fall within the ASA’a remit.

As you can see this could have far reaching consequences for many businesses so it’s well worth taking the time to visit the ASA website for more information to make sure all your marketing communications comply.

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