November 30, 2023

Gov.UK Online Advertising Taskforce Action Plan

The online advertising industry has experienced rapid growth as online media consumption has increased in recent years. Online advertising spend, such as on websites and social media, now outstrips traditional advertising like billboards and newspapers - in 2022, it made up 75% of total ad spend, equal to £26.1 billion.

However, along with the rapid growth of the sector have come increased risks for consumer harms and brand safety. These harms can have wide-reaching impacts on consumer confidence and trust, which risks the sustainability and effectiveness of online advertising. Evidence from our public call for evidence (2020), consultation (2022) and externally commissioned research indicated that user experiences of harm are driven by an absence of transparency and accountability in the supply chain.


This plan brings together and builds on work that is already in progress to minimise harm and protect both consumers and businesses from harm. As well as government initiatives, it builds on the number of existing industry-led schemes and initiatives which already address harms associated with paid-for online advertising and improve understanding of where harmful advertising occurs, such as those led by members of the Taskforce such as the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Gold Standard, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers’ (ISBA) Influencer Code of Conduct, and Stop Scams’ Data Sharing Pilot. It also highlights the work done by the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) Intermediary and Platform Principles (IPP) pilot, a leading example of the flexibility and innovative nature of the UK’s self-regulatory approach. Other initiatives led by industry members outside the membership of the Taskforce are also important in this space, including the work of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) for example in relation to malware and fraud.

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Topics: News